Accel Robotics, a San Diego-based startup providing AI and computer vision to enable checkout-free stores, has raised $30 million in a Series A round led by SoftBank, bringing its total raised to $37 million.
The funding will help Accel Robotics grow operations, increase manufacturing capacity and accelerate its worldwide expansion. Existing investors New Ground Ventures, Toyo Kanetsu Corporate Venture Investment Partnership and RevTech Ventures also participated in the new funding round.
“We are excited to partner with the team at SoftBank Group to help scale our frictionless commerce platform with retailers and brands around the world,” said Brandon Maseda, CEO of Accel Robotics. “We expect to rapidly grow our team as we hire and expand in global markets.”
Maseda said Accel Robotics uses a camera-based AI and computer vision system to allow shoppers to enter a store, take items off the shelf and walk out, with the system sending them a receipt via text message or app notification. The system uses a combination of AI, machine learning and computer vision, and can be deployed quickly. “Our technology has been proven in real-world, high density store environments,” Maseda said.
The system identifies products based on visual appearance, not barcodes. Depending on retailer preferences, shoppers will not necessarily have to download an app. This is similar to technology used in Amazon Go stores.
Maseda said Accel Robotics will be announcing retail customers and strategic partnerships in early 2020, but could not name any at this time. Deployments of the technology are underway in North America and Japan, with a focus on grocery and convenience stores, quick service restaurants and drugstore chains.
Accel Robotics was founded in 2015 and incubated with RevTech Ventures and EvoNexus accelerators. Previous investors include Miyabi Ventures, New Ground Ventures, Saison Ventures, Recruit, GMO, and a diverse group of angel investors. It was named a San Diego Venture Group (SDVG) Cool Company for 2017, 2018 and 2019.