Kraft Heinz-Backed Venture

Evolv Ventures, the venture fund backed by Kraft Heinz, has led a $12 million Series A funding round in cashierless checkout start-up Zippin.

San Francisco-headquartered Zippin uses a combination of computer vision, artificial intelligence (AI) and sensor fusion technology to offer consumers a checkout-free shopping experience.

Launched in 2015, the company is powering four autonomous public stores and several private pilot stores globally.

The funding will help Zippin accelerate new shop launches in the coming months, with plans to open new stores for grocery and convenience chains, sports facilities and airports.

Kraft Heinz said that for consumer packaged goods companies, the emergence of this new retail paradigm presents an opportunity to get closer to the end consumer, provide a superior shopping experience and build a better, data-driven understanding of shopper behaviours and preferences.

“We’re excited to join Zippin’s journey as these new formats become critical to the transition currently underway in retail,” said Smriti Jayaraman, principal at Evolv Ventures.

“Zippin’s technology also offers CPG brands, which have previously been at arm’s length from the point of sale, a unique set of opportunities to participate in the customer journey.”

Krishna Motukuri, CEO of Zippin, said: “We obsess about retail operations and physical infrastructure just as much as we obsess about AI and computer vision. That’s why we have more operational public stores than most other start-ups in the checkout-free space.”

Other investors in the round included SAP.iO, Scrum Ventures, Arca Continental, and Nomura Research Institute and NTT Docomo Ventures from Japan. Existing investors Maven Ventures, Core Ventures Group, Pear Ventures and Montage Ventures also participated.

The round brings the Zippin’s total funding to $15 million and will also allow it to invest in product innovation, grow its technical team and expand sales and partnership efforts.

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