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Accel Robotics, one of a growing number of AI startups that’s setting out to enable automated cashierless stores, has raised $30 million in a series A round of funding led by SoftBank, with participation from New Ground Ventures, Toyo Kanetsu Corporate Venture Investment Partnership, and RevTech Ventures.
Founded out of San Diego in 2015, Accel Robotics is developing the AI and computer vision smarts needed for checkout-free stores, which are designed to make queuing a thing of the past and will generate vast swathes of consumer data. The general idea is that the shopper simply walks into a store, picks items from the shelves, and then walks out again — with the receipt sent directly to their mobile device.
Accel Robotics has largely flown under the radar compared to other companies operating in the burgeoning cashierless store sphere, but it said it is already working on deployments across North America and Japan — including in restaurants and drugstore chains.
Amazon is arguably the highest profile cashier-free store operator, and since the ecommerce giant debuted its concept Amazon Go stores back in 2016, it has expanded the outlets to 18 locations across the U.S.
A number of startups have launched to bring automated supermarkets to every city by helping retailers adapt their existing stores. In the past year alone, Trigo raised $22 million to set up grocery stores with cameras, sensor fusion technology, computer vision, and cloud-based computational power. Elsewhere, Standard Cognition secured $35 million and Grabango nabbed $12 million — both with the goal of removing checkouts and arming supermarkets with data.
Accel Robotics has revealed little about where its technology will crop up. But with $30 million in the bank — in addition to the $7 million it had previously raised — it’s now ready to scale its “frictionless commerce platform” globally, a move that will include increasing its manufacturing capacity.
“We are excited to partner with the team at SoftBank Group to help scale our frictionless commerce platform with retailers and brands around the world,” said Accel Robotics CEO Brandon Maseda in a press release.
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