The Amazon boogie-man has every retailer scrambling for ways to fight back. But the cost and effort to install cameras all over the ceiling or into every shelf could block stores from entering the autonomous shopping era. Caper wants to make eliminating checkout lines as easy as replacing their shopping carts while offering a more familiar experience for customers.
The startup makes a shopping cart with a built-in barcode scanner and credit card swiper, but it’s finalizing the technology to automatically scan items you drop in thanks to three image recognition cameras and a weight sensor. The company claims people already buy 18 percent more per visit after stores are equipped with its carts.
Today, Caper is revealing that it’s raised a total of $3 million, including a $2.15 million seed round led by prestigious First Round Capital and joined by food-focused angels like Instacart co-founder Max Mullen, Plated co-founder Nick Taranto, Jet’s Jetblack shopping concierge co-founder Jenny Fleiss and Y Combinator. Hardware Club, FundersClub, Sidekick Ventures, Precursor Ventures, Cogito Ventures, and Redo Ventures also invested. Caper is now in two retailers in the NYC area, though it plans to use the cash to expand to more and develop a smart shopping basket for smaller stores.
“If you walked into a grocery store 100 years ago versus today, nothing has really changed,” says Caper co-founder and CEO Lindon Gao. “It doesn’t make sense that you can order a cab with your phone or go book a hotel with your phone, but you can’t use your phone to make a payment and leave the store. You still have to stand in line.”