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SoftBank has led a funding round for cashierless store startup Accel Robotics. This round has brought to the startup $30 million.
Now, we all know SoftBank for its “unicorn status” investment decisions and so it shouldn’t come as a surprise to many that the investment giant has participated in a Series A round of funding for Accel Robotics which is a San Diego-based startup that has been involved in the cashierless space for a bit now. The funding round also attracted other investors including Toyo Kanetsu Corporate Venture Investment Partnership, RevTech Ventures and New Ground Ventures.
Accel Robotics and other technology startups have been looking into the various means and methods that will enable checkout-free processes for walk-in, pick-it-up and walk-out stores which just a few years ago may have been something out of science fiction movies and novels. At least this is what the general concept of cashierless stores are all about anyway. With receipt and real-time settlement of bills going on without the need for any interactions, many privacy buffs have wondered if this model will involve the exchange of way too much information by consumers and if there are any safeguards to prevent the misuse. This issue, however, seems to be already covered by the various data privacy and protection laws currently in place for the deployment of such kinds of technologies at least for now anyway.
Although Accel Robotics has been somewhat out of the public eye in terms of its operations when it comes to driverless stores, the startup has already indicated that it was working on implementations with different organizations in North America and Japan across several corporate organizations that include drug store chains and restaurants.
Already, several startups are involved with cashierless technologies and automated supermarkets. Standard Cognition has already raised about $35 million, Grabango $12 million and Trigo $22 million which will enable the startup to install cameras, sensors and deploy massive amounts of cloud computing power to automated grocery stores.
We all know that the King of the hill when it comes to automated stores is Amazon which already has a few prototypes since 2016 in about 18 locations across the United States currently. This also goes to show the proof-of-concept that Amazon is arguably one of the market leaders in all things automation and artificial intelligence if they lead in several of these sectors at the same time.
While Accel Robotics hasn’t indicated much about its next set of moves it has made known its intentions without indicating exactly how its proprietary technology works. It has made references to scale its “frictionless commerce platform” on a global scale which will mean both on a hardware and software basis as well.
This doesn’t mean though that they aren’t excited about it. CEO Brandon Maseda indicated this excitement in a press release by the company
“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 he.