San Francisco-based Standard Cognition, which provides flexible AI-powered autonomous checkout solutions for brick-and-mortar retailers, has raised a $35 million Series B funding round led by the EQT Ventures fund, with participation from existing investors Initialized Capital, CRV and Y Combinator. This brings Standard’s total funding to date to more than $86 million, and its post-money valuation to $535 million—more than a two-time increase since the company raised its Series A in November 2018.
The funding enables Standard to continue to focus on making its early customers in the U.S. and Japan successful while growing its team and expanding both domestically and internationally.
“We really hit it off with the EQT Ventures team, and we’re incredibly excited to have them on board as we enter our next stage of growth,” said Jordan Fisher, co-founder and CEO of Standard. “Standard’s initial customer implementations are moving along quickly, and in the coming months we’ll be able to reveal more detail about our work with our global retailers. Feedback from retailers is that Standard’s light footprint, low hardware costs and fast installation are the main reasons why they are selecting us.”
Standard Cognition’s AI-based system lets consumers shop and pay in any of its customers’ stores without scanning or stopping to check out. An alternative to Amazon Go, Standard’s platform is available to any retailer, improving the customer experience, reducing costs and opening new revenue streams for retailers.
Standard opened San Francisco’s first autonomous checkout store in August 2018. The company has signed several retail customers and is deploying for two already in multiple locations, with scheduled go-live dates in Q3 and Q4 of this year. Hundreds of other retailers are currently evaluating Standard’s technology.
Standard differs from competitors with:
- Its light footprint, which makes it easy to retrofit to existing stores and fit into any store layout;
- Scalable hardware and software;
- Its commitment to not leveraging facial recognition or any biometrics, making it simple to comply with privacy regulations around the world;
- The frictionless experience it provides for customers (with no turnstiles); and
- The deep data insights it can provide retailers, rivaling the data collected in e-commerce environments.
“Traditional brick and mortar retailers are caught in a perfect storm. From the encroachment of behemoths like Amazon into every inch of the market to changing consumer attitudes, as busy people demand an ever more efficient shopping experience, margins are being squeezed like never before,” said Alastair Mitchell, partner and investment advisor, EQT Ventures. “The talented and driven Standard Cognition team has worked quickly to build a product that allows physical retailers, of all sizes, to tackle these challenges. A strong track record, super-smart technology and bold ambitions for future expansion makes Standard Cognition an exciting investment for us, especially as we look to push forward with our ambition to help U.S. companies break into Europe.”
“Standard is far ahead of any other startup in this space. They are an extremely pragmatic team of world-class software engineers, and the pace of their innovation is accelerating as the team grows, extending their lead,” said Garry Tan, managing partner at Initialized Capital. “Standard is a genre-defining startup using AI and machine learning to bring the future of retail experience forward by years.”
Standard Cognition’s outside counsel for the transaction was Covington and Burling LLP.