Science & Technology

Instacart Acquires Smart Checkout Startup CaperAI for $ 350 Million

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Instacart announced today that it has acquired Caper AIFor about $ 350 million in cash and stock, a startup developing technology to automate the in-store checkout experience. With the purchase, Instacart states that it aims to help retailers “integrate in-store and online shopping.” [flows] For customers. “

Caper’s New York-based employees join Instacart to add hardware engineering talent to Instacart’s existing product development team. Instacart hopes to integrate Caper’s technology with the Instacart app and retail partner e-commerce websites and apps to allow customers to create online shopping lists to pre-view recipes and view the list. doing.

“Over the years, Instacart has continued to expand its retail-ready services to help physical grocery stores across North America move their businesses online, grow and meet the evolving needs of their customers. Instacart CEO Fiji Simo said in a statement that retailers will now develop a unified commerce service to meet consumer needs in both online and in-store shopping. We are focused on creating even more ways of.

Shopping using AI

Caper was founded in 2016 by Lindongao and Yorkyan. Gao, president of jewelery maker JPG Crafts, was previously an investment banking analyst at Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan.

“The powerful technology we create is intuitive to our customers, easy to deploy to retailers of all sizes, and creates a physical retail ecosystem that never existed before,” Gao said. Stated in the press release. “We share Instacart’s vision to enable grocery retailers to deliver new innovations that will bring gradual changes to their businesses. We are currently working with Instacart to bring retailers online and offline. We are proud to develop more solutions to help you integrate. “

Caper offers two products: caper carts and caper counters.

Caper Cart is a shopping cart that uses computer vision and a camera to detect items and add them to your digital shopping list (Amazon’s) Dash cart). When a shopper puts an item in a cart basket, it is recognized by an algorithm trained in a database of over 20 million images to provide personalized recommendations and nearby transactions through a screen attached to the cart. Will be analyzed. The cart will automatically weigh items and will soon offer a location-based service that allows customers to search for items in the store and receive directions.

Above: Rendering of a caper cart.

Caper counters also use AI and cameras to scan items without barcodes, replacing traditional self-checkout counters with devices that scan items from five different angles to complete a transaction. The counter offers promotions and digital receipts via a digital display. Staff can also monitor activity to prevent theft and add images of unfamiliar items to Caper’s image recognition database.

Caper’s Cart is the first in the United States to be approved by the Federal National Rating Program (NTEP) and proves that it can accurately sell items priced by weight and measurements. It is currently deployed at Kroger and Wakefern in Sobeys, Canada. Auchan from France and Spain. It will be added to Caper’s smart checkout counter at convenience stores.

Caper counter

Above: Caper counter.

Image Credit: Cape AI

Prior to the acquisition, Caper had raised $ 13 million in venture capital from Lux Capital, FundersClub, HCVC, First Round Capital, Red Apple Group, Redo Ventures, Precursor Ventures and Y Combinator.

“”[W]We are excited to welcome the Caper AI team to Instacart. We share the same goal of providing retailers with new and innovative technologies that help them succeed in an increasingly competitive industry, while at the same time providing their customers with the best possible experience. By rethinking the future of groceries together, we are pleased to bring Caper’s leading smart carts and smart checkout platforms to more retailers around the world, “says Simo. “We are unleashing new solutions that will help us further invest in our enterprise technology services suite and enhance our comprehensive e-commerce platform for retailers across North America.”

Smart retail boom

Instacart’s acquisition of Caper follows the acquisition of FoodStorm, a preemptive and catering solution for retailers. This is the latest in a series of investments in Instagram’s enterprise technology services, which in 2017 became partners with Aldi, Costco Canada, Heinen’s, Kroger, Publix, Sprouts, The Fresh Market, Walmart Canada, Wegmans and more. Now available. A new business that goes beyond delivery.

Instacart is one of the largest online grocery platforms in North America, with more than 600 retailers delivering from 55,000 stores in more than 5,500 cities. (The company estimates that the service is available to more than 85% of US households and 90% of Canadian households.) Recently, Instacart was valued at $ 39 billion, double its value last October. , Ended $ 265 Million Funding Round.

However, delivery is an expensive venture given the challenge of maintaining a dedicated network of shoppers, delivery drivers, and cashiers. This week, Gig Workers Collective — Instacart’s network of about 13,000 of 500,000 shoppers — Organized a strike Protest the company’s low wages and lack of communication with workers. Instacart reportedly made a profit in the second quarter, earning about $ 10 million. But recently, in 2019, the company lost $ 25 million each month, despite a surge in online grocery purchases to $ 1 trillion during the pandemic.

To increase revenue, Instacart has expanded its enterprise products, including Instacart Advertising, a tool that allows consumer packaging products companies to promote their products to users of the Instacart app. In July, the company New fulfillment solution When fabric, A startup that offers robot-driven “micro-fulfillment” services designed to operate in dense metropolitan areas. Instacart also said that after the acquisition of FoodStorm, retailers will begin offering ways to offer cooked food for pre-orders. This is usually more profitable than groceries such as produce and packaged goods.

Instacart previously said it expects to increase its workforce by 50% in 2021 as part of a planned expansion initiative.

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Instacart Acquires Smart Checkout Startup CaperAI for $ 350 Million

https://venturebeat.com/2021/10/19/instacart-acquires-smart-checkout-startup-caper-ai-for-350m/ Instacart Acquires Smart Checkout Startup CaperAI for $ 350 Million

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