Scandit raises $150 million with a $1 billion+ valuation for its computer vision-based data capture technology – TechCrunch

Startups

Consumers and businesses are always demanding faster and easier ways to get things done, and today a startup building technology to make it happen using AI and the camera on your mobile device is announcing a major round of growth financing. Scandit — which uses computer vision to scan barcodes, text, ID cards or any other physical object to trigger automated responses, provide analytics, and more — has raised $150 million, a Series D that values ​​the Swiss starting value at over $ 1 billion.

Scandit has made a name for itself with technology that can work on smartphones — meaning customers don’t have to invest in more clunky and tightly functional custom devices to take advantage of computer vision magic — but it’s also worked on other uses of its technology, including in the autonomous data capture, an area where it will also do part of this investment.

“We are focused on enabling smart data solutions, i.e. any direct end-user device, be it a smartphone or tablet, or a drone, anything that can use computer vision,” CEO and co-founder Samuel Mueller said in a statement. an interview. It also plans to use the funding to hire more talent and expand internationally.

Warburg Pincus led the round, with past backers Atomico, Forestay Capital, G2VP, GV, Kreos, NGP Capital, Schneider Electric, Sony Innovation Fund and Swisscom Ventures all also participating. The company has now raised $300 million.

Since the last fundraiser in 2020 – an $80 million Series C – Scandit has been on a roll. Annual recurring revenue has doubled (it doesn’t disclose actual numbers). And it now has some 1,700 customers using its technology across a range of B2B and B2C services across verticals such as retail, transportation and travel, manufacturing and logistics, healthcare, and any use case where capturing an image of you or something else will stimulate another action. The list includes major companies such as the NHS, FedEx and L’Oreal, as well as smaller apps, all of which move with the times and how the working world works./

“There’s been a turnaround among enterprise customers looking to solutions like Scandit’s,” Mueller said, noting that 8 out of 10 larger US retailers are currently customers. “All of them have moved away from traditional scanning devices to embrace smartphone-based data capture solutions or BYO devices, due to lower costs and much more flexibility.” In retail, for example, a big driver, he said, was the need for better real-time inventory data.

Another factor that may have influenced this round of funding and valuation is that Scandit’s core mechanisms go beyond simple barcode reading. The startup is a spin-out of the highly regarded computer vision division of Zurich University ETH and currently has some 23 patents for its technology – eight awarded and the rest working its way through the patent application process.

The opportunity Scandit has identified and seized is one that encompasses all of our daily lives, whether we consciously think about it or not. As a population, many of us have become accustomed to things working automatically, a state that is becoming more and more “natural” and mundane, thanks to the technology that makes this possible. That, in turn, accelerates the pace of innovation to speed things up even more. Smartphones have played a huge role in this area, with sensors and fast data processing that authenticate us, help us find and buy things, and of course communicate with the world in all sorts of ways (text, audio, video) and through any number of channels. wherever we are.

The cameras on these devices were a critical part (pun intended) of evolution. “In the blink of an eye” has become “in the click of a camera phone”. That has opened the door for companies like Scandit to come in and make all of that happen.

It could be argued that the basics of computer vision, as played on a smartphone, are a standard product these days, as even the most basic smartphones can capture QR codes and other objects with cameras to trigger other actions, or for image filtering, and so on. . On. However, part of what Scandit does is supercharge all those processes. “The computer vision and machine learning that we’re doing is all on the brink” — that is, on the devices themselves — “so we’ve learned to deal with limited camera axes, low light and too bright light, movement,” Mueller said. “Motion blur is one of the hardest. You have to be able to correct for that.”

That also begs the question of how much Scandit has spoken to hardware and platform companies (e.g. companies like Apple or Google or Microsoft, all of whom are eager to dig deeper into business use cases for their technology). Mueller declined to comment, except that Scandit is one of Apple’s “approved mobility partners” and that it has go-to-market initiatives with Apple and Samsung.

For now, Scandit’s version of “smart” in smart data recording seems to be the most interesting investors, despite the fact that there are probably dozens, if not more, companies in the market offering their own take on image-based data recording. (They include MishiPay, Dynamsoft, Cognex, Blippar, and others.)

Scandit’s smart data capture technology is changing the way businesses work and interact with their customers in an increasingly digital world and is deeply aligned with some of the biggest secular trends of our time, including enabling the digital workforce and supply chain visibility,” said Flavio. Porciani, MD at Warburg Pincus, in a statement. “Already used by leading enterprises across multiple industries, by customers and end users around the world, we see a huge opportunity for Scandit to cement its position as the global leader in smart data capture. We are delighted to be working with the Scandit team on the next phase of their ambitious growth strategy.”

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