Toshiba adds weight to Kiwi SmartCart company
Shoppers are one step closer to skipping checkout queues forever with New Zealand technology start-up IMAGR raising NZ$14 million in its pre-series A funding round.
IMAGR is the creator of the SmartCart intelligent shopping trolley.
Harnessing computer vision technology and AI, the solution automates checkouts and payments for a frictionless shopping experience.
IMAGR CEO William Chomley says the funding was led by global industry giant Toshiba TEC.
“It’s thrilling to be backed by an international point-of-sale leader like Toshiba TEC which owns 96% of the convenience market in Japan (FY2017 Shipment in Japan). Its support of IMAGR shows we have the right technology in place to change how retail shopping is done across the world.”
Toshiba TEC Senior Vice President Masami Uchiyama says they underwent a rigorous due diligence process before deciding to support IMAGR.
“We looked globally for the most promising automated checkout provider and settled on IMAGR as the most advanced technology of its kind.
“Its computer vision and AI technology is industry-leading, outperforming other AI retail systems we have seen, and the integration into existing stores is simple and scalable. We can’t wait to see IMAGR change the retail industry in the 2020s.”
The funding round was also backed by Sage Capital and Harald McPike, both existing IMAGR shareholders.
Chomley says: “We were overwhelmed with support during this capital raise, with an over subscription nearly doubling the amount we initially set out for.”
Next year, IMAGR’s SmartCarts will launch in Japan with H2O RETAILING CORPORATION and in New Zealand with Farro Fresh.
Chomley says the funding from the capital raise will benefit execution in the Japanese and New Zealand markets, as well as further international expansion.
“Since starting up in 2017 we’ve experienced rapid expansion, as well as interest and commitment for our product. We’ve always had a simple goal: to make it easier for people around the world to shop. This funding will allow us to accelerate our plans, ensuring more people will be skipping queues by utilising our SmartCarts in 2020 and beyond.”
To integrate the SmartCart solution, retailers need to log their inventory with IMAGR’s AI system and install the company’s infrastructure
To activate SMARTCART, shoppers download an app and link a payment method to their account.
In store, they pair their smartphone with the shopping cart and, as they add products to their cart, the items appear on their phone’s virtual basket – removing traditional barcode scanning and the checkout process altogether.