Trax, a computer vision platform that gives retailers insights into what’s happening on their store shelves, has raised $125 million in a series E round of funding led by Chinese investment firm Boyu Capital. Somewhat oddly, U.K.-based media publisher DC Thomson also participated in the investment round.
Founded in 2010, Singapore-based Trax helps digitize store aisles through image-capturing technology that serves up data and analytics on consumer packaged goods (CPG) on shelves. It may save employees from manually auditing stock for inventory and product promotions, for example. It can also help retailers make product placement decisions by providing a snapshot of what goods are where, and whether they could be shifted to a better position.
The Trax platform ultimately recreates physical store shelves in digital form to guide product and marketing decisions, and big-name clients such as Coca-Cola and Nestle are already using the platform.
While Trax’s technology currently requires capturing images manually via mobile devices, the company said it’s currently working on several pilot projects to provide continuous shelf-tracking via connected cameras that are mounted on coolers or robots and capture images at pre-set intervals.
Trax had previously raised around $140 million, including a $64 million series D round led by Warburg Pincus last year, and with another $125 million in the bank the company plans to buy back some of its earlier investors’ shares and to “accelerate mass-market deployment” of its platform, with a specific focus on growth in China.
“The adoption of our solutions and services is moving at light speed in our core markets of the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Latin America,” noted Trax chief commercial officer and cofounder Dror Feldheim. “Partnering with Boyu and having access to their vast network and deep expertise adds real firepower toward the realization of our vision.”
Computer vision is increasingly permeating every facet of society, and the retail realm is no different. A few weeks back, Bossa Nova Robotics raised $29 million for its automated store inventory robots, while last week we reported on AI Guardsman, a fledgling system that attempts to spot shoplifters using computer vision. Big commerce companies such as Amazon are also building brick-and-mortar stores that harness computer vision to remove checkouts from the grocery shopping process.
“The investment in Trax is driven by our conviction in the compelling value proposition of new technology solutions that enable digitalization of brick-and-mortar retail,” added Boyu Capital managing director Joey Chen. “Compared to developed markets such as Europe and the United States, the use of digital retail solutions by Chinese consumer goods companies and retailers is still in its early stages. And with the world’s largest retail market and number of outlets, we see a promising future for Trax’s development in China.”