Grabango, the leading provider of checkout-free technology for existing grocery and convenience stores, announced today that it has raised $39 million in Series B funding. The round was led by Commerce Ventures with participation from Founders Fund, Unilever Ventures, Honeywell Ventures, and WIND Ventures. All participants share Grabango’s vision for modernizing the retail industry and bring a broad range of strategic expertise to the enterprise.
“We evaluated nearly every company in the space and chose Grabango because they had the most robust technology, an approach that works in complex retail environments, and an incredible team. This combination is why they continue to pull away as the market leader,” said Matt Nichols, Partner at Commerce Ventures. “Incredibly, the $5.7 trillion grocery market had been left behind as tech innovation focused on other sectors. Grabango delivers a new level of convenience for shoppers and will transform the economics of grocery and convenience stores across the world.”
The new capital accompanies additional store deployments with existing and new customers in 2021. To date, Grabango has signed five retail partners, each over $1 billion in revenue, including a global top-10 grocer and a Fortune-25 multinational. Multi-store deployments are underway at several. The company has filed 38 patents, and the earliest ones that predate public knowledge of checkout-free as a category have already been awarded.
“We pride ourselves on identifying and supporting forward-thinking founders like Will Glaser,” said Stephen Willson, Managing Partner of Unilever Ventures. “In 2016, he recognized that the grocery industry was long overdue for in-store innovation and conceived of checkout-free technology as a way to transform the industry. Now, he and his team at Grabango are deploying these systems to reshape the experience for the modern shopper.”
Grabango is the first and only company to retrofit its checkout-free technology into an already-operating store, saving shoppers time by letting them skip the line. In partnership with Giant Eagle Inc, one of the nation’s largest food retailers, Grabango has proven that its technology works in a real-world environment with over 15,000 SKUs and tens of thousands of transactions each month. Grabango’s system was installed with no disruption to store operations using an automated process that is easily replicated across the chain. Given this success, Grabango will launch its checkout-free technology into four more Giant Eagle GetGo stores in the Greater Pittsburgh area by the end of 2021.
“At Giant Eagle, our success over our 90-year history is founded in our commitment to service and innovation,” said Laura Karet, President and CEO of Giant Eagle, Inc. “In the past decade, we have experienced significant growth in using technology to advance how our customers shop with us in-store and online. Grabango is a key partner in what we will accomplish in the next 10 years. Since we first introduced their system last fall, we’ve seen GetGo customers embrace the technology and use it with enthusiasm. We’re excited to roll out this technology to additional GetGo locations in the coming months so more of our shoppers can enjoy the convenience of safely skipping the checkout line.”
Checkout-free technologies are in demand by major grocery and convenience chains around the world. With Grabango, visitors shop as usual and then skip the line by scanning the code in their Grabango app on the way out. Grabango’s solution uses computer vision technology to identify items as they are picked up. It counts those items and sends the receipt to the shopper’s phone after they leave the store. Grabango delivers a seamless shopping experience that is becoming the global standard.
Grabango will use some of the new capital to augment its development team. The company’s engineering group is doing some of the most advanced work in computer vision today with more than 70 percent of its technical employees holding a Ph.D. or other advanced degree. Less than 0.5% of candidates interested in the company go on to receive an offer; still, the company aims to hire more developers this year while maintaining its high standards.
“We pride ourselves on the accuracy of the system, and the ease with which it operates in the dynamic environment of a modern store,” said Will Glaser, CEO of Grabango. “Wasting time in lines has always bothered me, and now we no longer have to endure it. The incredibly gifted Grabango team has built one of the great marvels of modern technology; so advanced that it feels like magic!”
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