Portuguese tech start-up raises $6.5m for check-out-free shopping

Lisbon-based Sensei, a computer vision start-up providing autonomous store tech for check-out-free purchasing, has announced that it has raised $6.5 million in funding.

The company’s technology rivals that of Amazon, which has also developed in-store “Just Walk Out Shopping.”

According to Sensei, it is the first European autonomous retail technology vendor to raise capital.

The funding will be used to scale the business’ ability to expand research and development (R&D), meet increasing demand, accelerate new store launches and roll out its solution to consolidate market leadership in Europe.

Sensei uses a tech platform that incorporates a blend of cameras, sensors, and AI algorithms, to automate both new and existing stores.

Similarly, Amazon Fresh stores in the UK have sensors and cameras that track what customers put into their shopping baskets. Customers are then charged via the Amazon Go app on their phones.

The start-up said that its “computer vision-first” solution can be fitted easily into existing establishments, while retailers can manage their inventory in real-time and get access to unique data insights about their customers and how they interact with their store and products.

“We’re thrilled to have secured this investment with new and existing investors and have big ambitions to use it to change the way the world shops with autonomous stores,” said Vasco Portugal, Sensei’s chief executive and co-founder. “Sensei’s technology will help level the playing field for retailers to compete against digital giants such as Amazon. We aim to enhance the familiar and enjoyable customer shopping experience, making it seamless, convenient and safe.”

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