Scandit, the company behind a barcode scanning platform that leans on computer vision and augmented reality (AR), has raised $80 million in a series C round of funding led by G2VP. The fresh funding, which consists of both equity and debt, comes as social distancing measures have led to a spike in demand for home deliveries and “click and collect” services, which typically rely on portable scanning devices at various stages of a product’s journey from a warehouse to the consumer’s home.
Founded out of Zurich, Switzerland in 2009, Scandit serves businesses with scanning software that can be integrated into any app and works on any camera-toting device, including smartphones, tablets, wearables, drones, and robotics. For example, companies can use Scandit’s software development kit (SDK) to build barcode scanning into their own app for tracking parcels inside a fulfillment center, or for garnering proof-of-delivery at a customer’s home address.
But the core barcode scanning functionality is only part of the picture here. The technology also ships with optical character recognition (OCR) smarts that can read any alphanumeric text, such as reference numbers, addresses, bank account details, prices, names, and more. Companies could use this to verify prices, check IDs, and track reference numbers or goods that are labeled in any number of ways.
Other features include the ability to scan multiple barcodes in a single image capture, while AR can superimpose information about goods on the screen. For example, a user can scan a barcode and instantly see how many of that product exist.
Scandit claims some big-name clients from across industries, including 7-Eleven, Instacart, Toyota, Carrefour, DPD, FedEx, Alaska Airlines, and Johns Hopkins Hospital.
The COVID-19 effect
The COVID-19 crisis is fundamentally shaping how retailers and businesses across the board operate, accelerating the uptake of technologies that enable them to continue working while respecting social distancing guidelines.
“Customers across all of our supported industries have expressed an interest in accelerating contactless and flexible self-scanning and checkout, click and collect, as well as last-mile delivery solutions because of COVID-19,” Scandit CEO Samuel Mueller told VentureBeat.
Scandit has, in fact, developed two free apps in direct response to COVID-19, including a proof-of-delivery web app that helps companies garner customer signatures without sharing devices, and a patient data-capture app for COVID-19 testing sites.
Elsewhere, cashierless stores and automated checkouts were emerging before the global pandemic hit, with Amazon a key player in the trend, and over the past couple of months a number of major grocery chains have turned to mobile scanning technology to enable shoppers to scan their own goods with their smartphone and pay without having to stand in line at a checkout. Even after the COVID-19 crisis passes, this trend will likely stick around since consumers don’t enjoy waiting in lines. Given that Scandit already powers the technology in many self-scanning mobile shopping apps, the company is well-positioned to capitalize on this shift both now and long into the future.
“Mobile self-scanning has always been a core use case for Scandit, and COVID-19 has made it even more important,” Mueller continued. “By combining self-scanning with the ability to display AR-overlays that show real-time product information, customers can take control of their shopping experience from beginning to end.”
Scandit had previously raised around $43 million, including a $30 million round led by Alphabet’s GV back in 2018, and for its latest cash infusion Scandit once again attracted GV, alongside Atomico, Kreos, Salesforce Ventures, Swisscom Ventures, and NGP Capital. With another $80 million in the bank, the company plans to invest in R&D and global expansion, with a particular focus on the Asia Pacific (APAC) region and Latin America.
Foto: Scandit retail product rating: AR in action