Investors have ponied up more money for AiFi and its autonomous store shopping technology. The Bay Area developer already has its grab-and-go system in 14 stores across the world, with an aggressive plan to install over 300 more in 2021.
AiFi is not alone in rolling out autonomous checkout, but the timing could not be better, as socially distancing consumers are looking for contactless payments and no checkout lines. Key factors for retailers are the installation costs, re-aligned store layout, and staff training. Store managers will benefit from enhanced customer intelligence data and inventory management. Time will tell more about how the ultimate return on investment (ROI) shakes out.
The following excerpt from a Crunchbase article reports more on the topic:
AiFi, a San Francisco-based startup that develops autonomous retail technologies, raised $14.5 million to significantly expand the number of stores that use its technology.
The new investment is considered a “pre-Series B” round, Steve Gu, co-founder and CEO of AiFi, told Crunchbase News. Investors involved include Qualcomm Ventures, existing investors Cervin Ventures and TransLink Capital, as well as new investor Plum Alley. AiFi has raised a total of $30 million since the company’s inception in 2016, Gu said.
AiFi’s Orchestrated Autonomous Store Infrastructure and Services system, aka OASIS, offers a checkout-free experience for consumers, while also enabling retailers to build and operate autonomous stores by providing customization and operational tools.
The company is also working with 5G and edge computing, which was one of the drivers for AiFi to partner with Qualcomm, based on its leadership position in those industries, Gu said.
Overview by Raymond Pucci, Director, Merchant Services at Mercator Advisory Group