Australian AI tech startup Tiliter has raised A$7.5 million to accelerate its expansion across Europe and the US, with many supermarkets to unveil its artificial intelligence-based product recognition technology over the coming months.
Led by Investec Emerging Companies (IEC), the backers include Eleanor Venture, a tech investment syndicate for angel investors, and New York’s Cornell University.
Using computer vision to recognise products without barcodes, Tiliter’s technology automatically identifies items, such as fresh produce, without the need for barcodes, packaging, and price stickers, making it easier for shoppers to manage during self-checkout.
Tiliter is currently focused on the supermarket vertical and its camera and software system uses AI to pre-select items and remove the need for manual entry, with more than 99 percent accuracy and in under one second.
With retailers increasingly moving towards self-checkout and mobile-checkout options, the technology makes it easier and faster for customers to complete their transactions, reduces fraud, costs and waste for businesses, and addresses the need for contactless purchases in a COVID-19 world. This can all be done with limited integration and no changes to the retailer’s IT infrastructure.
Woolworths among early adopters
Among its early adopters are Woolworths in Australia with more than 20 live stores, Countdown in New Zealand, and several US retail chains such as New York City’s Westside Market.
welcomed the funding from Investec and noted there had been a 300% increase in scan-and-go adoption in the U.S. over the past year due to COVID, and this growth is expected to rise globally.
“As an industry, we’re just at the beginning of how AI combined with computer vision will shape the future for brick-and-mortar and online shopping. It was important that we partner with investors that understand the new dynamics in retail innovation and the massive opportunity arising from this change,” said Marcel Herz, CEO and Co-founder of Tiliter.
One factor many retail technology companies face is the cost and operational overhead to install and maintain their solutions.
“There has been an increased focus for Tiliter to create a plug-and-play solution for retailers and remove the operational friction of adopting cashier-less technology, particularly during the COVID pandemic,” said Martin Karafilis, COO and Co-founder of Tiliter.
“The end-to-end capability of Tiliter’s dedicated hardware and software is an example of how Tiliter’s recognition technology can be easily installed and used anywhere in the world at a lower cost than currently offered autonomous store solutions,” he added.