Technology startup Zippin announced the recent closing of $12 million in Series A funding led by Evolv Ventures, the venture fund backed by Kraft Heinz.
Zippin, which operates a c-store location in San Francisco using its proprietary “cashierless” checkout technology, uses a combination of computer vision, artificial intelligence (AI) and sensor fusion technology to offer consumers a completely checkout-free shopping experience.
Launched in 2015, the company is powering four autonomous public stores and several private pilot stores globally. Zippin most recently made headlines for its newly operational autonomous concession stand in Golden 1 Center, home of the Sacramento Kings.
The Series A round was led by Evolv Ventures, which is focused on making investments in emerging and fast-growing technology-enabled companies transforming the food and CPG industry. Other investors in the round include SAP.iO, Scrum Ventures, major Latin American distributor Arca Continental and Nomura Research Institute and NTT DOCOMO Ventures from Japan. Existing investors Maven Ventures, Core Ventures Group, Pear Ventures and Montage Ventures also participated in the over-subscribed round.
The Series A funding will help Zippin accelerate new store launches in the coming months, with plans to open new stores for grocery and convenience chains, sports facilities, airports and more.
The Sacramento Kings’ venue also marks the launch of the ‘Zippin Cube,’ a modular, pre-fabricated ‘store-in-a-box’ concept that allows retailers to launch a fully functional autonomous microstore (300-500 square feet) in less than three weeks from placing the order.
“When we launched the Zippin platform for retailers in 2018, we removed friction from the checkout process. With the Zippin Cube, we are aiming to remove friction from bringing that experience to retail stores,” said Krishna Motukuri, CEO of Zippin. “We obsess about retail operations and physical infrastructure just as much as we obsess about AI and computer vision. That’s why we have more operational public stores than most other startups in the checkout-free space.”
For leading global CPG companies like Kraft Heinz, the emergence of this new retail paradigm presents an opportunity to get closer to the end consumer, provide a superior shopping experience and build a better, data-driven understanding of 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 CPG 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.”
This round brings the company’s total funding to $15 million and will allow Zippin to further invest in product innovation, grow its technical team and expand sales and partnership efforts.