Breakthrough Approach Addresses Trillion-Dollar Stockout Problem
AUSTIN, Texas – Nov. 20, 2019 – Pensa Systems, a leading innovator in autonomous perception systems, today announced it has raised $10 million in additional seed funding to accelerate deployment of its breakthrough solution for retail inventory visibility. The company has now raised a total of $17.2 million. The funding is led by existing investors Signia Venture Partners and ATX Venture Partners, and joined by Commerce Ventures, Capital Factory and Revtech Ventures, alongside new investment from retail industry veterans David Ritter and James McCann. Existing seed investors include ZX Ventures, the investment arm of Anheuser-Busch InBev; Mick Mountz, the founder and CEO of Kiva Systems; and others.
Additionally, ATX managing director Chris Shonk has joined Pensa’s board of directors, and James McCann and David Ritter have joined the company’s advisory board.
The new funds will be used to accelerate delivery and deployment of Pensa’s retail inventory visibility system, which uses advanced computer vision, patent-pending artificial intelligence and autonomous drones to see and understand what’s on store shelves. The system helps brands and retailers minimize stockouts, optimize product planning and increase revenue. The system’s unique approach detects stockouts with 98+ percent shelf accuracy and is scalable across store locations due to its simple, flexible, low-cost-per-store deployment model.
Retailers alone lose an estimated $1T in revenue every year due to not having what customers want on the shelves. The Pensa system represents the one of the industry’s most accurate and broadly scalable solutions to the stockout problem, providing brands and retailers with a significant opportunity to improve store operations, adjust shelf assortments and optimize the supply chain for increased revenues and better profit margins.
“It is now clear that the combination of AI and vision technology will have an enormous impact on retail store operations,” said McCann, who has spent his career running grocery retail businesses around the world for Ahold-Delhaize, Tesco and Carrefour. “Having looked at the different start-ups in this area, I believe that Pensa’s combination of industry leading accuracy and much lower capex requirement will make them the winning options for most retailers.” McCann is currently CEO of McCann Investments & Advisory, which has invested in some of the most exciting startups in grocery tech, food tech and consumer goods area.
Pensa debuted in January at the National Retail Federation 2019 conference as part of Intel’s booth, having completed pilots with major retailers and global brands including Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev). Since launch, Pensa has expanded into multiple commercial deployments where it has validated the system’s effectiveness with multiple brands and retailers, across multiple store formats and product categories. Due to its unique ability to learn and visually recognize individual items on each shelf, Pensa has demonstrated up to 40 percent more accuracy in stockout detection over industry best practice of “gunning the holes” looking for gaps on the shelf. In actual store deployments, it has also proven the value of higher frequency shelf scans to pinpoint up to several percentage points of profitability shortfall caused by store operations versus supply chain practice, or the quantity and variety of items stocked in a given category.
“In my career at McKinsey, I worked closely with the world’s leading retailers on various strategies to improve store operations,” said David Ritter, former Partner and Leader of Retail-Store Operations Practice at McKinsey & Company. “I’ve never seen anything that comes close to Pensa’s shelf inventory approach. Combining AI, computer vision and drones to automate delivery of actionable data – it’s a game changer for brands and retailers alike.”
“There’s a lot to be excited about with Pensa,” said ATX managing director Shonk. “We have been impressed with the technology and early customer feedback, as well as the focus of the management team. We get really excited when we see artificial intelligence being used to shake up a big, stalwart industry – and deliver the insights needed to help it advance.”
McCann and Ritter join a Pensa advisory board that already includes several top authorities in retail inventory, robotics technology, and AI/machine learning. These include Tom Gruen, a pioneer in out-of-stock and category management analytics; Mick Mountz, founder and CEO of Kiva Systems, which pioneered the use of mobile robots for warehouse automation and was acquired by Amazon; and leading researchers in robotics and machine learning from Carnegie Mellon University and University of Texas at Austin.
About Pensa Systems
Pensa is a leading innovator in autonomous perception for retail inventory. Its system uses breakthrough technology – including artificial intelligence, autonomous drones and computer vision – to see and understand what’s on store shelves, providing crucial data to minimize stockouts, optimize product planning, and boost revenues and profitability. Pensa partners with top retailers and CPG brands globally to address a trillion-dollar “blind spot” at a critical time for the retail industry. Please visit pensasystems.com to learn more, and stay connected via Twitter and LinkedIn.
About Signia Venture Partners
Signia Venture Partners is a unique early-stage venture fund dedicated to helping passionate entrepreneurs realize their vision and build impactful, high-growth ventures. Our team is made up of proven entrepreneurs with a track record of success and experience at every stage of growth and with a hands-on approach to technology investing. More at http://signiaventurepartners.com/.
About ATX Venture Partners
ATX Venture Partners is the premier Seed – Series A venture fund in the South Central US. Based in Austin, Texas, the firm leads early-stage financing rounds, rallies talent, and assists exceptional founders in building epic businesses. The firm’s focus is frontier technology that dramatically transforms legacy industries or pioneers new markets primarily in the supply chain/logistics, transportation/freight, manufacturing, retail/inventory and workforce optimization arenas.
Pensa Systems Contact:
Tel: + 1-650-468-3263