SAN FRANCISCO —Zippin, a start-up focused on cashierless checkout for brick and mortar retail, secured $12 million in a Series A funding round led by Evolv Ventures, Kraft Heinz Co.’s $100 million venture fund.
Zippin uses a combination of computer vision, artificial intelligence and sensor fusion technology to create a checkout-free shopping experience. The company currently powers four autonomous public stores and several private stores globally. It recently launched its first Zippin Cube. The modular, prefabricated “store-in-a-box” allows retailers to build fully functional autonomous micro stores (500-square-feet or less) in under a month.
Zippin marks Evolv’s fourth investment since launching last year. Other start-ups in the fund’s portfolio include Grub Market, a platform that sources local food from producers and delivers to businesses and consumers, and New Culture, an animal-free dairy cheese maker. In October, Evolv added cannabis retail management company Flowhub to its portfolio.
Zippin will use the funds to accelerate new store launches for grocery and convenience chains, along with sports facilities and airports.
“When we launched the Zippin platform for retailers in 2018, we removed friction from the checkout process,” said Krishna Motukuri, chief executive officer of Zippin. “With the Zippin Cube, we are aiming to remove friction from bringing that experience to retail stores. We obsess about retail operations and physical infrastructure as much as we obsess about A.I. and computer vision. That’s why we have more operational public stores than most other startups in the checkout-free space.”
The emergence of checkout-free shopping provides global C.P.G. companies an opportunity to get closer to the consumer, Kraft Heinz said. The technology may provide better, data-driven insights about shopper behaviors and preferences.
“We’re excited to join Zippin’s journey as these new formats become critical to the transition currently underway in retail,” said Smriti Jayaraman, principal at Evolv Ventures. “Zippin’s technology also offers C.P.G. brands, which have previously been at arm’s length from the point of sale, a unique set of opportunities to participate in the customer journey.”