Tel Aviv-based shopping automation startup Trigo Vision Ltd. announced on Monday that it has completed a $60 million series B financing round. The round was led by 83North with participation from previous backers including Vertex Ventures Israel, Hetz Ventures, Red Dot Capital Partners, Tesco, and Morrag Investments. The latest round brings the total funding of Trigo, which was founded in 2018 by brothers Michael and Daniel Gabay, to $94 million.
“We currently employ 85 people and will grow to 140 or more by the end of 2021. Most of our recruits will be operating out of our research and development center in Israel, resulting in us being able to deploy our software in hundreds of stores,” Michael Gabay, who serves as the company’s CEO told Calcalist.
Trigo uses AI-powered computer vision technologies together with off-the-shelf hardware to retrofit existing stores. The company applies its proprietary algorithms to ceiling-mounted cameras which automatically learn and upload data on shoppers' movements and product choices, enabling customers to simply walk into a store, pick up their desired items, and walk out without stopping at the checkout. Payments and receipts are settled digitally.
According to figures collected by Trigo, consumers in Europe and the U.S. continued to shop in brick and mortar stores despite social distancing guidelines put in place amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The outbreak actually helped us a lot,” Gabay told Calcalist. “We hardly met in person with the retailers we signed contracts with recently, but during the pandemic, the need for our technology increased substantially. If prior to the outbreak standing in line was an unpleasant experience, nowadays it is a serious health concern. The issue of crowding in lines increased the damnd for our technology. In Western Europe, 97% of shopping was still carried out in physical stores. Israel is out of the ordinary when it comes to online supermarket shopping.”
“Shopping in physical supermarkets is not going away and we believe it will continue to be substantial and thus our advantage,” said Gabay, who declined to name Trigo’s clients, but estimated that many shops in Europe would be using their product by the end of the year already. “We are at a stage in which our technology is functional and was proven in real-life conditions at Tesco. We have signed commercial agreements with large chains whose identity we cannot yet divulge, but they are for the opening of stores,” he said.
Tesco has been working on a trial with Trigo at a Tesco Express convenience store at its headquarters outside of London.
According to Juniper Research, smart checkout technology will process nearly $400 billion of transactions within the next five years. The same report also predicted that retailers will invest $23 billion into artificial intelligence by 2025, up from $5 billion in 2020.
“We’re delighted to be working with Trigo as they continue to grow their business. Together, we have made great progress testing the frictionless checkout solution in our trial store in Welwyn Garden City and we are excited by this technology and the opportunities it brings,” Guus Dekkers, Tesco Chief Technology Officer said.
Trigo’s solution is built with a privacy-by-design architecture: no biometric or facial recognition data are gathered or analyzed. Based on anonymized movement and product choice data within stores and across a chain’s stores, Trigo offers grocery retailers a range of additional solutions powered by its 3D engine model called RetailOS, including predictive inventory management, pricing optimization, security, and fraud prevention, planogram compliance, and event-driven marketing. This layer quickly enables actionable insight that boosts the chain’s efficiency.
Yoram Snir, a Partner at 83North, a global venture capital firm with interest and experience in retail tech including Hybris, Mirakl, and Exotec, said, “Trigo’s solution gives grocers a competitive edge with an option that is affordable and scalable, without having to make significant changes to their stores’ infrastructure. While Amazon might be first out the gate to use its scale to capitalize on new consumer demands, it is no surprise to me that Europe’s biggest grocery retailers have tapped Trigo’s exceptional team to position them as leaders in frictionless checkout.”