Israel’s Trigo secures $100m investment for shop-and-go retail tech

Israeli computer vision startup Trigo secured a $100 million investment to scale the deployment of its grab-and-go, checkout-free shopping system and drive growth in new markets, the company announced on Wednesday.

Singapore’s Temasek Holdings and London-based VC 83North led the investment, which also saw participation from new strategic investors including SAP SE, as well as existing backers Hetz Ventures, Red Dot Capital Partners, Vertex Ventures, Viola, and German supermarket giant REWE Group. The round brings Trigo’s total capital raised to date to over $200 million.

REWE is one of several grocery retail heavyweights worldwide to have deployed Trigo’s technology, which allows shoppers to walk in, select their items and walk out without having to stand in the checkout line or fiddle with self-checkout stands. Payments and receipts are handled digitally.

To do this, Trigo applies its proprietary algorithms to ceiling-mounted cameras that can automatically track shoppers’ movements and product choices in the store in real time.

The Tel Aviv-based company has also been working on an inventory management software application suite called StoreOS and said the new funds will help with development. 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 said in a statement Wednesday.

Trigo’s checkout-free shopping tech is already operational at a Tesco grocery store in London, REWE shops in Berlin and Cologne, a Netto City store in Munich and an Aldi Nord in the central Dutch city of Utrecht. The company made its first foray into the US earlier this year with a pilot scheme at a Wakefern store in New Jersey. Wakefern Food Corp is the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the US.

Trigo co-founders Michael, right, and Daniel Gabay (Tom Bartov)

Tesco, REWE and Aldi Nord are grocery heavyweights in the UK and across Europe. Aldi Nord, a division of German-owned supermarket chain Aldi, is considered the largest grocery retailer on the continent and also operates Trader Joe’s markets in the US.

Last month, Israel’s largest supermarket chain, Shufersal, which has been piloting Trigo’s tech for several years, opened its first automated supermarket store on Mendele Street in central Tel Aviv, a 1,080 square-foot Shufersal Express Shop&Go store. The shop “packs in more goods per square foot than any other Trigo-powered store,” Trigo co-founder and CEO Michael Gabay said at the time.

Trigo said it will use the new funds to expand the deployment of its checkout-free system in new stores, increase the size of stores supported to include full-sized urban supermarkets, and make inroads in new locations globally.

According to the announcement, SAP SE, the German multinational software company, will help Trigo with the commercialization of its products.

“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 the statement Wednesday. “This investment allows Trigo to execute on its expansion plan and mature our product to support the evolving needs of our customers.”

A shopper at a REWE store in Cologne, Germany, that has been outfitted with Trigo’s checkout-free, grab-and-go technology. (REWE/Kai Schulz)

Supermarket and retail giants worldwide are scrambling to offer new consumer experiences and conveniences — so-called frictionless shopping — amid fierce competition, razor-thin margins in the grocery space, supply chain management issues and the continued expansion of Amazon into the grocery retail business.

The commerce giant offers its “Go” and “Just Walk Out” shopping experiences at over 30 physical Amazon Go and Amazon Fresh locations in the US and the UK, where shoppers also walk in and walk out with their items, skipping the checkout process.

But whereas Amazon has to build custom-made stores for its tech, Trigo works with retailers that already have the infrastructure in place, giving the Israeli company an edge.

Trigo specializes in retrofitting existing spaces, allowing retailers to keep their unique character and layout while turning them into fully autonomous, digital stores.

“Physical retail is the one space where traditional businesses can take on Amazon and win. The chains we’re working with have thousands of existing stores, Amazon has to build new stores,” Gabay has said. He founded Trigo in 2018 with his brother Daniel Gabay.

Joern Keller, an executive at SAP SE said Trigo’s computer vision technology “built the infrastructure for grab-and-go shopping and laid the foundation for additional in-store scenarios of the future. As a leading provider of enterprise software for the retail industry, SAP is delighted to join as a strategic investor to support the development of the StoreOS autonomous supermarket operating system.”

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