Grabango: Pioneers of Checkout-Free Shopping

Grabango: Pioneers of Checkout-Free Shopping

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Will Glaser, Founder & CEO, GrabangoWill Glaser, Founder & CEO
Grocery stores and retailers today face challenges of long checkout lines and dynamic store operations, impacting the customer experience and the store’s success. As the leading provider of checkout-free, or “grab ‘n go” shopping technology in the U.S., Grabango (pronounced “gra-BANG-oh”) partners with retailers to address these challenges head-on. Through its patented hardware and software technology, Grabango eliminates lines and saves people time.

Will Glaser, the co-founder and former CTO of Pandora Radio, launched Grabango in 2016 with a vision to transform the retail shopping experience while significantly increasing the profitability of retailers’ operations.

Grabango achieves these goals by using the same cutting-edge technologies making autonomous vehicles possible. Computer vision and machine learning systems maintain a virtual shopping basket for each person’s store visit. Checking out is automatic, so there is no need for manual barcode scanning as shoppers exit the store.

“We strive to provide a seamless, fast and easy experience for all shoppers,” says Glaser, founder and CEO of the company. “Our system is uniquely designed to serve all customers without any barriers in design or usage, and to increase profits for retailers.”

As the only enterprise-class provider of checkout-free technology in the market, Grabango operates in large retail environments that are up to 100,000 square feet and often with hundreds of simultaneous shoppers onsite. Service integrates seamlessly with retailers’ existing POS systems and stocking operations.

“We work with the full diversity of SKUs already in the store, as well as the real-time dynamism of product merchandising and end cap management,” says Glaser.

An Enhanced and Inclusive Customer Experience

From a shopper’s perspective, Grabango’s service is easy and free to use. It revolutionizes the way transactions are completed in the store.

Imagine: Shoppers can enter the store and start shopping without any hurdles, such as turnstiles or mandatory mobile check-ins. Grabango’s technology keeps a running total of the items each shopper selects, and when they are done, they can pay using any tender accepted by the store, including cash, SNAP benefits, or mobile payments. In any case, Grabango eliminates checkout lines by doing away with the need for conveyor belts, scanners, or the re-bagging of items.

“As convenience rises and barriers to entry fall, shoppers no longer hesitate to visit a store for fear of lines even during peak hours, resulting in an increase in sales for retailers,” explains Glaser.

For retailers, Grabango’s system integrates seamlessly into their operations, with little adjustment to a store’s planogram. The system digitizes the entire store for assessment and optimization. Each component is powered by best-in-class technology and supported by its fault-tolerant structure, utilizing redundancy to maintain business continuity and eliminate potential points of failure.

The Grabango Source of Truth covers every product in the store with an accurate, time-stamped database of all shopping events, offering real-time visibility into every aspect of the retailer’s operations, including inventory. This capability proves to be effective in the battle to reduce shopper and insider fraud (shrink).

Our system is uniquely designed to serve all customers without any barriers in design or usage, and to increase profits for retailers

Since the system associates all inventory items selected by shoppers and workers alike, the concept of trying to conceal items as one exits the store is made obsolete. The days of slipping an expensive item in your heavy coat and buying an inexpensive piece of candy on the way out of the store are coming to an end.

Grabango is a powerful combination of technologies that removes many types of retail friction but does so in a way that empowers workers in the store. The technology is designed to flexibly adapt to the level of human service interaction desired by the retailer’s management. Take cashiers for example, they may not need to scan bar codes any longer, but they still need to accept cash payments and engage with shoppers to attend to other needs. Grabango provides retailers a dial to adjust the human touch factor in the shopping experience.

Merging High-tech with Traditional Retail

To illustrate the efficacy of Grabango’s solution, Will recites a success story with one of their large format grocery store partners where the customer has a 50,000 square foot space with over 50,000 active SKUs.

The client had explored the market and couldn’t find anyone who could manage an installation at such scale—until they spoke with Grabango. Grabango worked in partnership with the client to understand the challenges and objectives of its operations. The result was a pilot program that included the installation of Grabango’s system retrofitted to the specific store and an integration with the client’s POS. Beyond scalability, Grabango stood apart from the crowd because of four factors:

• Unlike Amazon Go, Grabango is designed to partner with existing stores where people already shop.

• Grabango works with high-density merchandising and full dynamism of a typical retail store.

• Scaled linearly, Grabango’s hardware installation and operational costs are inexpensive to the client, while maintaining effectiveness.

• Grabango’s proprietary system uses a multi-cloud architecture with Google Cloud Platform and Microsoft Azure in parallel, resulting in maintaining the highest levels of uptime and security.

It is exhilarating times at Grabango. In its infancy years, the company focused on building and perfecting its technology. Today, the company is making the transition from the lab to the real world, receiving $22M in funding from various prominent Silicon Valley venture capital firms to fuel expansion.

“With our best-in-class clients, we are moving forward to realize our shared vision of redefining shopping experiences,” says Glaser.

He believes that their turnkey technology will be ruling the markets. “Retail giants are building checkout-free solutions targeted at the upper-middle-class that is digitally enabled. Grabango, on the other hand, wants its technology to be open to everyone.”

In the coming years, Grabango will begin to scale across a larger number of stores throughout the country.

“Our goal is to deploy technology that increases retailer profits, while introducing an enhanced and humanized shopper experience unlike the industry has seen before," concludes Glaser.

Grabango News

Grabango Secures $12 Million in Series A Financing

BERKELEY, Calif: Silicon Valley startup Grabango announced that it has raised $12 million in an oversubscribed Series A financing round. Propel Venture Partners led the investment with participation from Ridge Ventures, Abstract Ventures, Commerce Ventures, and Founders Fund. Ryan Gilbert, a General Partner at Propel, will join Grabango’s Board of Directors. This round brings Grabango’s total funding to $18 million. The company will use the funds to grow its product development team and expand client store deployments with checkout-free technology.

Will Glaser, the co-founder and CTO of Pandora Radio, launched Grabango in 2016 in order to save people time by eliminating lines at checkout. The service is free to use, benefits all shoppers, and doesn’t require a smartphone. The computer vision and machine learning systems maintain a virtual shopping basket for each person’s store visit. Checking out is automatic, so there is no need for manual barcode scanning as shoppers exit the store.

“Our goal is to forever change the way people interact with things. As Arthur C. Clarke taught us, advanced technology can be implemented so well that it feels like magic,” said Glaser, Grabango’s Founder and CEO. “We don't want to be the center of attention, but rather for our systems to work so smoothly in the background they are completely taken for granted.”

Glaser assembled an all-star team of technologists from the best universities and tech companies to achieve this goal. Their quest is to develop systems for large enterprise class retailers to serve consumers where they already shop. Grabango has also amassed a broad patent application portfolio, filing well ahead of other providers.

This new financing builds on an already exciting list of Grabango accomplishments:

• Signed four major U.S. store chains that generate billions of dollars in revenue, serve more than 600 million shopper visits per year, and cover a combined 29 million square feet of floor space.

• Initiated store deployments ranging from 2,500 to 50,000 square feet per location.

• Filed 17 patents securing Grabango’s ownership of critical checkout-free technology and processes.

• Grew a hand-picked team to 37 employees and contractors.

“Grabango hits the target for brick and mortar retailers aiming to deliver a smoother shopper experience and a better bottom line. We’ve looked at all the checkout-free technology providers and Grabango is the only true enterprise scale provider in the market today,” said Ryan Gilbert.

Grabango’s technology differs from where the rest of the industry has been heading: solutions for smaller, stand-alone, convenience stores. Instead, Grabango is an industrial strength solution that delivers a streamlined experience for shoppers and retailers alike. The system places no limits on who can enter the store, what can be sold there, or how the shelving is configured.