We have all been there–desperately needing to stock up on groceries, so we hit the store. Though our shopping experience for the most part can be seemingly frictionless, when we are finished gathering what we need, we come to a halt: the checkout line is out the door.

It is fair to say that no matter where you are in the world, supermarkets and retail stores all share something in common: unavoidable lines. And sure, certain places have tried to minimize long lines by introducing self-checkout, but if you've ever used one, you know that sometimes you get the job done even slower than a clerk. So, what can be done about these dreadful, dreary lines? The Israeli startup Trigo wants to help.

Trigo transforms existing supermarkets into fully autonomous digital stores. How do they do it? By mounting cameras on an existing store's ceilings, and covering their shelves with sensors, their technology is able to create a digital twin of the store. Then, computer vision algorithms– like the ones on driverless cars– log interactions between humans and merchandise. The technology is beneficial to both the storefront using it and the shoppers.

For example, shoppers can walk into a store, go about their shopping, take whatever they need, and simply leave the store without having to scan any goods or wait in line for checkout. Their payments and receipts are settled digitally.

In addition to the benefits Trigo’s core technology provides shoppers, store operators will also have the ability to track inventory in real-time, minimize out-of-stock and expired items for in-store and online shopping, mitigate fraud, personalize marketing, and manage store and supply chain operations predictively.

Not Afraid of Amazon Go

In a conversation with Geektime, Michael Gabay, co-founder, and CEO of Trigo explained to us that, “The value our solution provides to the market is much more robust on business and store operations levels and goes beyond frictionless checkout. The system was designed to convert existing stores into digitally powered stores. With Trigo’s computer vision and AI-based platform, retailers can bring the efficiencies and insights of digital commerce into the physical stores.“ Moreover, when asked about his competitors, like Amazon Go, he doesn't see them as a problem per se: “They [Amazon Go] are building stores from scratch all the while generating interest around frictionless checkout…We work with existing stores and help them become autonomous, which thereby allows some of the largest retailers in the world to take advantage of their existing assets and transform their traditional stores into a more autonomous shopping experience.”

Some of you might be thinking “Who even goes to the grocery store anymore? I order everything online, so what’s the point?” Though there has been an increase in online shopping in recent years, especially with the pandemic, this increase may be more minor than you think. In European countries, for example, online shopping only increased by about 10%. Gabay assured us that the boost in online shopping is only expected to rise to 20% in the coming 8 years: “Physical grocery shopping is still by far and away the vast majority of grocery shopping.”

Today, Trigo has announced a mega fundraising campaign, which closed $100 million. The round was led by Singapore state investment firm Temasek Holdings and 83North, with participation from existing investors Hetz Ventures, Red Dot Capital Partners, Vertex Ventures, Viola, and supermarket giant REWE Group, one of the world’s leading retailers. Moreover, new strategic investors include SAP SE, who will also help commercialize Trigo’s solution.

Gabay expressed that the new capital will allow Trigo to execute its expansion plan and mature its product to support the evolving needs of its customers. Such customers include some of the world's leading grocery retailers, including Tesco PLC (UK), ALDI Nord (The Netherlands), REWE Group (Berlin and Cologne), Netto Marken-Discount (Munich), Israel’s Shufersal (SAE), and Wakefern Food Corp., the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the U.S. Moreover, they will soon be launching their first store on the East Coast in the United States

Trigo's founders, Michael and Daniel Gabay. Credit: Tom Bartov

Trigo was founded in 2018 by the brothers Michael Gabay (CEO), and Daniel Gabay (CTO) and currently employs about 200 people, most of them in the development center in Tel Aviv as well as in the company's offices in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, and the U.S.