As e-commerce, and specifically fulfillment operations, have ramped up, accurate inventory tracking, contactless shopping experiences, asset tracking and even general store operations have lagged due to a lack of technology.
Scandit has marketed its smart data capture products as a solution to this widening gap, giving retailers and other businesses, including last-mile delivery firms and warehouse fulfillment providers, access to mission-critical data that goes beyond what legacy scanning solutions provide.
Investors have noticed, and on Wednesday, the Zurich-based firm announced the closing of a $150 million series D funding round at a valuation of $1 billion. The round was led by Warburg Pincus with participation from existing Scandit investors Atomico, Forestay Capital, G2VP, GV, Kreos, NGP Capital, Schneider Electric, Sony Innovation Fund by IGV and Swisscom Ventures.
Scandit has now raised nearly $300 million to fuel its global expansion. The company’s solutions capture data from bar codes, text, IDs and objects through computer vision. Since its series C funding round closed in May 2020, Scandit said it has doubled its annual recurring revenue and now counts American Eagle Outfitters, Carrefour, FedEx, Levi Strauss & Co., Yamato Transport and Sephora among its more than 1,700 global customers.
“By following our original vision of using the camera on smart devices to interact with physical items, we are transforming the daily lives of customers, employees and businesses to enable enhanced, personalized experiences and achieve their digital transformation ambitions,” Samuel Mueller, CEO at Scandit, said in a statement.
“The new funding will allow us to help more businesses globally and to better empower an evolving mobile workforce, meet new customer expectations and deliver increasingly automated operations. We are thrilled to have Warburg Pincus as our partner on the next phase of our growth journey. They bring a deep understanding of our business and software growth investing and a long track record of backing winning businesses.”
In January, Scandit released ShelfView, a smart data capture and analytics solution for retail shelf management that utilizes augmented reality (AR), object recognition, optical character recognition and other innovative computer vision technology to capture SKU-level product data via mobile devices and autonomous robots.
In a December interview with Modern Shipper, Mueller talked about the potential of AR to turn stores into “discovery centers.” Mueller said AR is helping store associates more closely track inventory levels — information that is used to keep e-commerce stock inventory levels accurate — and to showcase relevant product information for the in-store shopper.
“Mobile devices and AR capabilities have not just seen initial levels of adoption, but we are starting to see large-scale deployments take hold,” he said, noting that the pandemic was a big catalyst for this.
Mueller pointed to the possibility that AR and computer vision could one day track in-store inventory levels passively as store associates walk the store floor and devices automatically scan shelves, or even the possibility that devices attached to carts or robots could do the same.
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Stores could also see new revenue streams develop as they engage customers digitally, allowing for paid searches, for instance, to appear on the devices in much the same way that paid search articles appear alongside organic search terms in Google. Mueller gave the example of a customer shopping for the right wine to pair with a dinner.
“You’re looking at massive shelves with bottles left and right and many choices, price points, etc.,” he said. “You can point the camera/phone at the shelf and those bottles that satisfy your search criteria get highlighted — for example, French wine costing less than $50.”
That’s where paid search can come in. The wine shop may be able to highlight the right bottle of wine but also provide complementary item suggestions on the device.
“Scandit’s smart data capture technology is transforming the way businesses operate and interact with their customers in an increasingly digital world and is strongly aligned with some of the biggest secular trends of our time, including enablement of the digital workforce and supply chain visibility,” Flavio Porciani, managing director at Warburg Pincus, said. “Already used by leading enterprises across multiple industries, by customers and end users all over the world, we see a huge opportunity for Scandit to cement its position as the global leader in smart data capture. We are excited to have the opportunity to partner with the team at Scandit on the next phase of their ambitious growth strategy.’’