Success! You're on the list.

Success! You're on the list.

Revolutionising retail: Autonomo raises £2M to propel checkout-free tech across UK and Europe

Check-out free shopping. Image credits; Autonomo

While it’s no secret that small retailers have been gradually vanishing from our local high streets over the years, the reasons behind this trend are multifaceted. Inefficiencies, fierce competition from larger chains, a tougher setting for nurturing customer retention, and escalating overheads have compelled all but the most resilient to permanently close their doors. Compounding these challenges are the rising cost of living and declining living standards, which have contributed to a surge in shoplifting in the UK, reaching unprecedented levels since record-keeping began.

Autonomo, an innovative startup behind checkout-free software, is attempting to positively impact the retail industry for both customers and businesses. The startup has just closed a £2 million seed funding round. Led by London-based Potter Ventures and Liverpool-based River Capital through their ‘fundAI‘ growth fund, this investment brings Autonomo’s total funds raised to approximately £3.8 million. The funding will facilitate Autonomo’s expansion into the UK and Europe, bringing its computer-vision powered checkout solutions to a broader market.

Proven success and technological advancements

Autonomo is a Harvard award-winning deep tech business, aims to simplify shopping for customers and retailers alike. Founded in Germany by James Sutherland, and Patrick Müller-Sarmiento, Autonomo’s computer vision technology removes checkouts from retail stores, enabling customers to tap their card or phone, grab their products, and walk out. The company has already made a significant impact on the autonomous store market and continues to collaborate with leading European brands to enhance the retail experience.

Autonomo’s technology, which has seen success in Germany’s petrol stations, convenience stores, and grab-and-go outlets, simplifies the shopping experience by eliminating the need for traditional checkouts. Customers can simply tap a payment card or phone, while computer vision technology tracks and itemises products, facilitating a seamless and efficient checkout process. This advancement addresses challenges faced by the UK retail sector, including shoplifting, inefficiencies, and customer satisfaction.

Significant impact on UK retail

The introduction of Autonomo’s checkout-free technology in Germany has been successful, and the company aims to automate a significant number of cashierless shops in western Europe by the end of the year. Beyond enhancing the in-store experience, Autonomo’s system deters theft and reduces shrinkage, directly addressing the £2 billion losses due to shoplifting faced by UK retail businesses last year.

CEO vision and investment opportunities

James Sutherland, CEO of Autonomo, envisions a future where queues, staff inefficiencies, and theft are eliminated from retail experiences, “Working with bright new investors and constantly opening stores is one way to measure success, but the other really heart-warming impact our stores have is on the local shoppers, where we fundamentally improve their lives. We believe in a world where queues, staff inefficiencies and theft are a thing of the past. With our system, we’ve seen hyper-local neighbourhood stores opening up again, stores opening 24/7 and theft drop to near zero. And because it can be scaled to accommodate various store sizes and formats and is significantly more cost-effective than some competitors, we’ve been able to make this tech accessible to both small and large-scale retailers. Combining our tried and tested tech with fresh investment, we’re excited to make a mark on the UK retail space and bring these benefits to Britain’s businesses.”

Investor perspective

David Walters, Investment Director at River Capital, emphasises the significance of Autonomo’s solution in addressing challenges in the grocery retail sector, “Fund:AI is proud to support Autonomo’s trajectory towards becoming the leading Autonomous store provider in Western Europe, utilising UK capital and AI expertise in the North of England to create new deep tech jobs, tapping into the world class data science expertise from the North West region. Our due diligence revealed a pressing need for innovation in grocery retail, where skill shortages and consumer demands for seamless shopping experiences are evident. Autonomo’s solution not only addresses these challenges, but also empowers retailers to enhance customer service and sustainability practices, making it an exciting investment opportunity for us.”

Related Posts

Get daily funding news briefings in the tech world delivered right to your inbox.

Enter Your Email
join our newsletter. thank you