Shoppers around the world are one step closer to experiencing artificial intelligence in action when they fill up their supermarket carts following a private investor’s buy-in to an innovative New Zealand AI start-up.
IMAGR, an AI company from New Zealand, has today announced it has secured Sage Technologies Ltd as a cornerstone investor.
While the exact amount of investment cannot be divulged, IMAGR founder, William Chomley confirmed for NZ Entrepreneur today that it was “north of $1 million” New Zealand dollars.
Chomley (28), who founded the company in Sydney, Australia in 2015, before returning to his home country to set up the business in Auckland 12 months ago, says the new partnership will fast-track the company’s product developments – specifically to accelerate the development of IMAGR’s retail product, SMARTCART.
SMARTCART is an image recognition retrofit solution designed to eliminate the queues at checkouts and is set to revolutionise the shopping experience for consumers and retailers.
Working in real-time using computer vision technology, SMARTCART recognises products as they enter a supermarket cart – removing the need for traditional barcode scanning and the checkout process.
To activate, a customer downloads the app for the store they visit and sets up their payment method. While in store, shoppers pair their smartphone with the shopping cart and as they add items to the cart the items appear on their phone’s virtual basket.
IMAGR came to the attention of Sage Technologies Ltd, the technology venture of private investment company QuantRes founder Harald McPike, just four months ago. IMAGR welcomes Michael Boocher, Head of Investment Strategy at Sage Technologies, based out of Dubai, to its board as a director.
“IMAGR’s SMARTCART promises to provide a truly friction-less retail experience, and while our connection to technology is often cited as being responsible for increased isolationism, there are some interactions we can live without,” says Boocher.
“We’re excited to work with William and his team in IMAGR’s next phase of growth, offering product innovation and enhanced in-store user-experiences with the development of the SMARTCART.”
IMAGR is already in talks with top FMCG retailers in New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom, Europe and America about using SMARTCART to enhance everyday experiences and will move into the testing phase (beta) in April 2018.
“We are excited to lead the way using computer vision technology and artificial intelligence to create new shopper experiences which will become more and more integrated with our everyday lives,” adds Chomley.
“For those looking for inspiration for what to make for dinner, the SMARTCART experience doesn’t just stop there. We’re also developing a helpful app which will recommend recipes in line with what products are being put in the cart and guide shoppers to specific products around the store. It will also identify personalised promotions to in-store customers.”
“We are excited to lead the way using computer vision technology and artificial intelligence to create new shopper experiences which will become more and more integrated with our everyday lives.”
Beginning his entrepreneurial journey at the age of just 16, Chomley adds that the investment from an international investor such as Sage is a great win for the wider New Zealand tech and AI community, helping showcase the innovation and talent within the nation.
For more information:
Founder & CEO