Caper, a company that delivers AI-powered shopping carts for grab-and-go retail, announced last week that it raised $10 million in Series A funding to grow its team and "fulfill its rollout pipelines with mega-retailers," per a company press release. Lux Capital led the funding round.
The company noted that it is planning to work with sizable North American grocery chains and roll out more than 1,000 Caper carts over the next year.
Caper stated that it has increased basket sizes by 10% and obtained high customer satisfaction ratings among its users.
The race to support cashierless store concepts is heating up. Though Caper is the latest cashierless startup to get a financial influx, competitors like Zippin and Grabango have also been making gains in the market.
Caper's model is slightly different than other startups in the space, as it is based around the shopping cart. According to a statement from Lindon Gao, founder and CEO of Caper, the technology "not only streamlines checkout but also, through its screens on the cart, interfaces with shoppers to deliver details of products, recipes, and tailored recommendations as they shop."
While Zippin recently partnered with Lojas Americanas S.A., Brazil's largest retailer, Grabango raised $12 million earlier this year on its mission to implement the technology into larger stores. Another competitor, Standard Cognition, raised $5.5 million last year and raised another $35 million in July.
But as up-and-comers vie for shares of the emerging cashierless market, tech giants like Amazon and Microsoft have continued their own pursuits in the space. Amazon has opened its Go stores in cities such as Chicago and Seattle and was reportedly weighing whether to open in airports late last year.
On the plus side, there's still room for newcomers. According to a recent A.T. Kearney report, three-fourths of shoppers are aware of emerging retail technology, but only a third of them are seeing it in stores. It's also worth noting that shoppers at Amazon Go, arguably the leader in the cashierless store concept space, aren't spending as much as they are at other convenience stores like CVS and Walgreens.
As the market for cashierless stores grows, it hasn't been without its critics. Following criticism from lawmakers and consumers that cashierless stores pose challenges to underbanked shoppers, Amazon Go began accepting cash at its New York store.