Trax raises $125 million to bring computer vision insights to retailers’ shelves | Tech Industry

Trax, a computer vision platform that gives retailers insights into what’s happening on their store shelves, has raised $125 million in a series E round of funding led by Chinese investment firm Boyu Capital. Somewhat oddly, U.K.-based media publisher DC Thomson also participated in the investment round.

Founded in 2010, Singapore-based Trax helps digitize store aisles through image capturing technology that serves up data and analytics on consumer packaged goods (CPG) on shelves. For example, it may save employees from manually auditing stock to check inventory and product promotions, while at the same time it can help retailers make product assortment decisions — what goods are where, and whether they could be shifted to a better position.

The Trax platform ultimately recreates physical store shelves in a digital form to help guide product and market decisions, and big-name clients such as Coca-Cola and Nestle are already using the platform.

While Trax’s technology currently requires images to be captured manually via mobile devices, it said that it’s currently working on several pilot projects to provide continuous shelf-tracking via connected cameras that are either mounted on coolers or robots, that capture images at pre-set intervals.

Prior to now, Trax had raised around $140 million, including a $64 million series D round led by Warburg Pincus last year, and with another $125 million in the bank it said that it plans to use some of the capital to buy back some of its earlier investors’ shares. Additionally, it said that it plans to “accelerate mass-market deployment” of its platform, with a specific focus on growing in China.

“The adoption of our solutions and services is moving at lightspeed in our core markets of the U.S., Europe, Asia, and Latin America,” noted Trax chief commercial officer and cofounder Dror Feldheim. “Partnering with Boyu and having access to their vast network and deep expertise adds real firepower towards the realization of our vision.”

Computer vision is increasingly permeating every facet of society, and the retail realm is no different. A few weeks back, Bossa Nova Robotics raised $29 million for its automated store inventory robots, while last week we reported on AI Guardsman, a fledgling system that attempts to spot shoplifters using computer vision. Big commerce companies such as Amazon are also building brick-and-mortar stores that harness computer vision to remove checkouts from the grocery shopping process.

“The investment in Trax is driven by our conviction in the compelling value proposition of new technology solutions that enable digitalization of brick and mortar retail,” added Boyu Capital managing director Joey Chen. “Compared to developed markets such as Europe and the United States, the use of digital retail solutions by Chinese consumer goods companies and retailers is still in its early stages. And with the world’s largest retail market and number of outlets, we see a promising future for Trax’s development in China.”

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