Tuesday, 20 October 2020 10:15

Retail tech startup Tiliter raises $7.5 million for European, US expansion


Australian AI tech startup Tiliter has completed a $7.5 million capital raising as part of its plans to accelerate expansion in Europe and the US.

Tiliter, an artificial intelligence (AI) provider whose technology uses computer vision to recognise products without barcodes, is currently focused on the supermarket vertical and its camera and software system uses AI to pre-select items and remove the need for manual entry.

The capital raise was led by Investec Emerging Companies (IEC) which invested $3.5 million through its Investec Emerging Companies Australia Fund 1 - the seventh investment for the fund.

As part of the investment, David Phillips, co-fund manager, will take a seat on Tiliter’s board.

Eleanor Venture, a tech investment syndicate for angel investors, United States (US) based Angellist, and New York’s Cornell University also participated in the funding round.

Karen Chan, Head of Investec’s Emerging Companies division, said Tiliter aligned with the Fund’s philosophy of investing in companies with high growth potential backed by strong founders.

“We are excited to be working with the Tiliter team and believe this technology solves a very real need for both consumers and retailers in the Australian market and abroad,” Chan said.

Chan says that with retailers increasingly moving towards self-checkout and mobile-checkout options, Tiliter’s technology makes it easier and faster for customers to complete their transactions, reduces fraud, costs and waste for businesses, and “addresses the need for contactless purchases in a COVID-19 world” - and “can all be done with limited integration and no changes to the retailer’s IT infrastructure”.

Tiliter was founded by Marcel Herz, Martin Karafilis, and Chris Sampson.

Commenting on the Tiliter team, Chan said: “The Tiliter co-founders are a visionary team, leveraging technology to solve the problems of the future.

“At IEC we believe in acting as a true partner to our investee companies to provide advice, capital, and connectivity. We look forward to supporting the Tiliter team to reach their global growth aspirations.”

IEC says Tiliter’s early adopters include Woolworths in Australia with over 20 live stores, Countdown in New Zealand, and several retail chains in the US, such as New York City’s Westside Market.

Tiliter CEO and co-founder, Marcel Herz, welcomed the funding from Investec and noted there had been a 300% increase in scan and go adoption in the US over the past year due to COVID, and the growth is expected to rise globally.

“As an industry we’re just at the beginning of how AI combined with computer vision will shape the future for brick-and-mortar and online shopping. It was important that we partner with investors that understand the new dynamics in retail innovation and the massive opportunity arising from this change,” Herz said.

One factor many retail technology companies face is the cost and operational overhead to install and maintain their solutions.

“There has been an increased focus for Tiliter to create a plug and play solution for retailers and remove the operational friction of adopting cashier-less technology particularly during the COVID pandemic,” said Martin Karafilis, COO and co-founder of Tiliter.

“The end to end capability of Tiliter’s dedicated hardware and software is an example of how Tiliter’s recognition technology can be easily installed and used anywhere in the world at a lower cost than currently offered autonomous store solutions,” Karafilis said.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - an iTWire treasure is a mentor and coach who volunteers also a writer and much valued founding partner of iTWire. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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