August 5th, 2020. Pixevia, a retail automation company, has attracted €1 million in investments from venture capital firms Iron Wolf Capital, Open Circle Capital, Practica Capital as well as business angels Mantas Mikuckas (Vinted), Tomas Okmanas and Eimantas Sabaliauskas (Tesonet). The startup has already launched its first AI-driven store in the summer of 2019, in Vilnius, Lithuania. Now, with the acquired capital at hand, its planning further expansion throughout Europe.
Long queues cost retailers billions of euros in potential sales. Smart shopping is contactless, fast, and could prevent profits from going down the drain. In addition, smart stores can be set up at a competitive price and help optimize operations, resulting in less overall costs. The investments will allow Pixevia to further refine the technology and expand to other European countries, focusing on retail and gas station chains.
Contactless technologies have become essential in the world of the pandemic, as they minimize unnecessary physical interaction, thus reducing the potential exposure to contagious diseases.
According to Mindaugas Eglinskas, CEO of Pixevia, the smart store technology was developed with the needs of retailers and shoppers in Western Europe in mind. However, COVID-19 has made it a necessity.
“AI-driven smart stores are a reliable solution for retailers challenged by COVID-19. It eliminates physical contact, while the security system installed inside the store automatically disinfects the premises when there are no people,” says Eglinskas. He also noted that smart stores may be one the best solutions to keep retailers and shoppers safe while nations worldwide are still in the midst of fighting the virus outbreak, as it reduces human contact to the bare minimum, thus capping the risk.
The smart stores operate by using ceiling cameras that observe customers and smart shelves, which enables them to keep track of the products. There are no cashiers — the store automatically detects items taken from the shelves and creates a virtual shopping cart. Pixevia’s AI algorithm continuously analyzes the data received from the cameras and shelves to ensure the process is swift and accurate.
The idea of 24-hour automated stores has been on the rise for a while now, and for good reason. Small smart stores just around the corner are a great alternative to large supermarkets in remote locations. In addition, they are a better fit to match the habits of the modern consumer.
“The pace of life is accelerating — that’s why we’ll need more stores where you can shop without wasting a minute of your time,” said Kasparas Jurgelionis, partner at Iron Wolf Capital. “AI-driven smart stores were first introduced in the US, but Pixevia was the first in Europe. By contributing to the development of this technology, we are taking a strategic step towards the future of retail.”
In the future, the company aims to set up convenience stores without cashiers or long queues on every corner of every city and reduce the consumer’s shopping time to as little as 20 seconds.