TEL AVIV, Israel—Trigo, a company that builds cashier-free technology for stores, raised $100 million in a new equity financing round to scale deployment of autonomous urban supermarkets across Europe and the U.S. The company has raised a total of $204 million in funding to date.
Trigo transforms existing supermarkets into fully autonomous digital stores where feeds from ceiling-mounted cameras and shelf sensors are analyzed to generate a “digital twin” of the store. Computer vision algorithms—similar to the ones on driverless cars—log interactions between humans and merchandise.
According to Trigo’s analysis of Kantar supermarket data, there are about 500,000 convenience and small format grocery stores worldwide that have the potential to be retrofitted with AI-based frictionless technology. Around 120,000 of them are in the EU alone. The technology for scaling to larger store formats is maturing in parallel.
“Frictionless checkout makes shopping seamless for everyone, regardless of the size of their basket or how they plan to shop. If you have a full shopping cart you don’t want to wait at the cashier or scan all of those items at self checkout, you just want to walk out regardless of the size of your shop,” CEO and co-founder Michael Gabay said in an email to TechCrunch.
The technology Trigo uses is similar to Amazon’s “Just Walk Out” technology. Trigo’s version, called “EasyOut,” allows customers to walk into stores, select their items off the shelves and leave without having to wait at a checkout or scan their products and pay. Payments and receipts are settled digitally.
“Smart counters and smart carts have their place, but full-store frictionless checkout based on AI-powered cameras and sensors—where the costs of the hardware are decreasing over time—is superior in both the experience it provides shoppers and for the efficiencies and tools it enables retailers,” he told TechCrunch.
Gabay says the “digital twin” approach that Trigo uses, which mirrors the store in real time, is more accurate and can be repurposed for more than just checkout, such as predictive inventory management. “Smart carts and similar technologies don’t allow for the full digitization of the store, so they are limited solutions when compared with the full system,” he told TechCrunch.
Trigo cashierless technology has been deployed at Tesco; Germany’s REWE; ALDI Nord in The Netherlands; Netto in Munich; Shufersal in Israel; and the Wakefern cooperative in the U.S.
“By opening multiple autonomous stores with five of the world’s leading grocery retailers, we have proven that we can deploy computer-vision and AI to empower physical stores with the same kinds of insights and capabilities that e-commerce stores have,” Gabay said in a news release. “This investment allows Trigo to build on this success and focus on three core initiatives: expanding our autonomous retail platform, building increasingly larger stores, and executing a pipeline of contracted stores around the world.”
Trigo also plans to use the funding to enter new geographies and develop its comprehensive store and inventory management software application suite, StoreOS. According to the company, StoreOS can track inventory in real-time, minimize out-of-stock and expired items for in-store and online shopping, mitigate fraud, personalize marketing and manage store and supply chain operations predictively.
The company says it aims to tackle “long-standing pain points” in the $11.3 trillion global food and grocery retail industry, including laborious and often manual stock-taking and replenishment processes, shrinkage and minimizing waste, where perishable and other expired products need to be discarded.
The March issue of NACS Magazine is all about “Self-Checkout Strategies” for convenience stores.