Standard Cognition, a developer of cashierless checkout solutions, has raised $5.5 million in follow-on seed funding from Charles River Ventures, nearly doubling the startup's total funding to date to about $11.2 million, according to a press release e-mailed to Retail Dive.
The company said it plans to put the new money toward an effort to speed up its worldwide expansion, kick off pilot projects with a number of retailers, as well as to hire artificial intelligence and machine vision experts.
Standard Cognition also announced two new hires on its management team: Jon Nam, a former Macy's executive, will head global operations at Standard Cognition, and Evan Shiue, who has experience at Walmart, will serve as head of corporate strategy and growth.
The funding announcement comes almost one year after Standard Cognition announced its cashierless checkout solution, which leverages computer vision technology and artificial intelligence in a manner similar to Amazon Go. The retail sector is still experimenting with cashierless and touchless mobile checkout solutions, but it's looking like these two technologies will be key to their evolution.
Both the funding and the executive appointments position Standard Cognition to be more competitive in a market for cashierless technology that itself has quickly become very competitive. AiFi is another challenger in the space, and just last month, Microsoft was reported to be developing its own cashierless technology, with Walmart listed as a potential collaborator. The two companies are getting relatively close, with news of a major cloud partnership between Microsoft and Walmart coming out this week.
As other retailers look to follow Amazon into cashierless checkout, most of them won't be able to match Amazon's ability to invest in developing its technology approach. Even Walmart may be looking outside its own walls for the right cashierless solution. The rest will need options like Standard Cognition. At the same time, this newly-funded startup may need to prepare to beat a massive, deep-pocketed competitor in Microsoft — the latter holding a name that will instantly appeal to the largest retailers as they experiment with cashierless technology — not to mention any other competitors looking to give retailers a leg up in the cashierless era.
This is technology that many retailers are interested in, and Standard Cognition has refilled its bank account at the right time, and has clear ideas about how it will use that money to expand its potential. As Amazon Go itself continues to expand, the time for cashierless technology startups to prove themselves is imminent.