Trigo raises $100M to expand its Amazon-style cashier-free store technology • TechCrunch
Amazon has become the pacemaker of commerce, and today a startup building technology to help retailers keep pace in the physical store world is announcing some funding to expand its business. trigoan Israeli startup that builds technology for stores to operate without a cashier, and “checkout only” experiences similar to those you might find in Amazon Go stores, raised $100 million.
Trigo focuses on grocery shopping, and already has an outstanding list of grocery retailers on its books, including Tesco, the UK’s supermarket giant; REWE in Germany; Aldi Nord in the Netherlands; Netto in Munich; Shufersal in Israel; and the Wakefern Cooperative in the United States. The plan will be to use the funding to expand its involvement with those, and add more to the list, amidst a strong slate of competition in the market. Others include in the same category standard perception (Last year it was worth over $1 billion), ShopicAnd the grow upAnd the zebinAnd the GrabangoFor example, but not limited.
It will also redouble its efforts to expand its technology. Besides its hardware and software-based standalone check-out system, Trigo also provides inventory management and will soon launch ‘StoreOS’ to combine these with other tools (analytics, marketing, etc.) The internet is – and thanks to the popularity of e-commerce – what customers generally expect from any shopping experience these days.
Singapore’s Temasek and 83North co-lead this round, with new SAP backers and former backers Hetz Ventures, Red Dot Capital Partners, Vertex Ventures, Viola and REWE also participating.
The startup does not disclose the rating, but according to stadium book Its last valuation, in 2020, was in the range of $208 million. This latest round brings the total to nearly $300 million.
Computer vision, machine learning, and other innovations in artificial intelligence are being used in earnest in autonomous systems across a range of industries these days, and supermarkets have been one of the most interesting applications. Facing the onslaught of offers to buy groceries online and have them delivered to the home in ever shorter lead times, in-store retailers experiences have largely remained in the doldrums.
However, the store also represents a significant amount of inefficient overhead due to real estate and construction costs, product rotation, theft, and the cost of retaining staff to serve customers. The argument for bringing autonomous systems into the grocery store is not technology for technology’s sake, but it will help reduce costs and losses in all of these areas, while speeding up the experience for customers who are usually in a hurry to do something else.
Trigo’s self-checkout solution, called “EasyOut,” relies on a series of overhead cameras, rack sensors and algorithms that work with store “digital twins” to power cashier-free experiences.
Some believe this is a costly approach, both in terms of initial installation and maintenance, arguing that other approaches, such as sensor-based systems on the shopping carts themselves, are the better approach.
“Smart meters and smart carts have their place, but the frictionless complete store exit based on AI-powered cameras and sensors — as hardware costs decrease over time — outperforms both in the experience it provides to shoppers and in terms of efficiency,” said CEO and Co-Founder Michael. Gabbai in an email to TechCrunch, said one problem is that the carts don’t take into account shoppers who only buy a few hand-held items. “Frictionless checkout makes shopping easy for everyone, regardless of cart size or how they plan to shop. If you have a full shopping cart, you don’t want to wait at the cashier or scan all those items at self-checkout, you just want to checkout no matter how big your store is.”
He also believes that Trigo’s “digital twin” approach, which mirrors the store in real time, is more accurate and can be redirected to more than just check-out, such as predictive inventory management. “Smart carts and similar technologies do not allow the entire store to be digitized, so they are limited solutions when compared to the full system,” he said.
Gabbay claimed that even in the current market climate – the biggest problem with stores and shoppers is inflation and people worrying about the price of goods, not the time it takes to buy them – it hasn’t really dampened conversations with customers. “Especially in periods of high inflation, high prices and supply chain turmoil, the value of inventory management and procurement is huge,” he said. The company doesn’t reveal how much it will cost to outfit an average supermarket with its technology, for example, but says it usually gets a return on investment within 18 months. “Technology-assisted cost savings accumulate over time and boost margins for grocery retailers,” he said.
One of the arguments for Trigo, Gabbai said, is that its technology can be used in all shopping operations, regardless of cart size, and its focus at the moment is big-box supermarkets. So far, it’s opened stores between 3,000 square feet and 5,000 square feet — “on-the-go” type stores, Gabay said — but “we’re now working on larger formats, including more than 10,000 square feet of stores.”
While the grocery segment will remain the company’s focus precisely because of its identified shortcomings, the long-term plan is to expand into other categories of retail such as pharmacies and quick-service restaurants. “But we see huge potential to retrofit the thousands of grocery stores located around the world,” Gabbay said. “This is also accelerating as more grocery stores connect e-commerce stores to their physical stores.”
This is exactly where SAP comes into the picture. He’s been described as a strategic supporter in this roundup: He’s working with a long list of retail customers, and the plan is to help integrate Trigo into those systems.
“Trigo’s superior computer vision technology has built the express shopping infrastructure and laid the foundation for additional in-store scenarios for the future,” Jörn Keeler, Executive Vice President and President of SAP S/4HANA, said in a statement. “As the leading provider of enterprise software for the retail sector, SAP is pleased to join as a strategic investor with Trigo to support the development of the standalone StoreOS operating system. Their solutions will complement SAP’s retail cloud solutions, seamlessly integrating with SAP S/4HANA and paving the way toward building a smart store.”