Pensa Systems, a US developer of a new retail inventory visibility system, has secured the backing of AB InBev’s venture capital division ZX Ventures as part of a $5 million funding round.
The round was led by Signia Venture Partners, with participation from new investor Commerce Ventures, as well as existing investors ATX Seed Ventures, Capital Factory and Revtech Ventures.
Pensa Systems said it delivers a “broadly scalable” system that automatically and systematically tracks in-store inventory, using advanced computer vision, patent-pending artificial intelligence and autonomous drones to see and understand what is on store shelves.
This unique approach is said to help brands and retailers “minimise stockouts, optimise product planning and increase revenue”.
Fresh funds will be used to accelerate store trials with large retailers and consumer packaged goods brands in North America and abroad.
The start-up also announced that Ed Cluss, partner at Signia Venture Partners, will join its board of directors.
“Pensa is doing breakthrough work with AI and drones, bringing data to bear on a significant and costly problem for retail – the lack of consistent on-shelf inventory visibility,” said Cluss. “We were impressed by the team’s prior accomplishments, and by the traction the company has already achieved with major retailers and consumer brand manufacturers. Data and technology are critical to retail’s future, and we are excited to help Pensa bring their vision to reality.”
The funding round comes on the heels of $2.2 million in seed investment announced in 2018, as well as the completion of multiple successful live trials with consumer brands and retailers, including AB InBev.
Patrick O’Riordan, vice president of explore at ZX Ventures, said: “Out-of-stock products are a significant challenge for CPG companies and retail partners, with hundreds of millions of dollars in potential sales impact.
“While we’ve explored various solutions to the problem, Pensa’s approach is truly novel. Its unique combination of expertise and technology tools – including scalable AI and advanced computer vision – provides an opportunity to make both timely and significant impacts to inventory visibility throughout the industry.”
Richard Schwartz, president and CEO of Pensa Systems, said: “Lack of inventory visibility is an age-old problem for brand and retailers. Retailers and manufacturers go blind staring at products on the shelf to see what is missing or has been misplaced. Advanced artificial intelligence can borrow the best of how people perceive shelf conditions and automate it at scale to continuously read out what is on a shelf at any point in time.
“This is a win-win proposition for everyone – consumers, retailers and brands. We are thrilled to have Signia and Commerce Ventures on board, along with top advisors, to help us scale the business and accelerate our market entry.”
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2019