Scandit gets $150 million at a valuation of over $1 billion for its computer vision-based data capture technology – TechCrunch

Consumers and businesses are always demanding faster and easier ways to get things done, and today a startup that’s developing technology to make that a reality using AI and the camera on your mobile device is announcing a big round of growth financing. Scandit – which uses computer vision to scan barcodes, text, ID cards or any physical object to trigger automated responses, provide analytics and more – raised $150 million, a Series D that values ​​the values ​​of the Swiss startup at more than a billion dollars.

Scandit has made a name for itself with technology that can work on smartphones – meaning customers don’t need to invest in bulkier, tightly-featured custom devices to harness the magic of computer vision – but it has also worked on other applications of its technology, including in autonomous data capture, an area where it will also put some of that investment.

“We’re focused on enabling smart data solutions, which means any direct end-user device, whether it’s a smartphone or tablet, or a drone, anything that can use computer vision,” CEO and co-founder Samuel Mueller said in an interview. He also plans to use the funding to continue to hire more talent and expand internationally.

Warburg Pincus led the round, with former backers Atomico, Forestay Capital, G2VP, GV, Kreos, NGP Capital, Schneider Electric, Sony Innovation Fund and Swisscom Ventures all also taking part. 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 doubled (he does not disclose actual numbers). And it now has some 1,700 customers using its technology across a range of B2B and B2C services in verticals such as retail, transport and travel, manufacturing and logistics, healthcare and any other business. use where capturing an image of you or something else will stimulate another action. . The list includes big companies like the NHS, FedEx and L’Oréal, but also smaller apps, all adapting to the time and workings of the working world.

“There’s been a dramatic shift among enterprise customers considering solutions like Scandit’s,” Mueller said, noting that 8 of the top 10 retailers in the United States are currently customers. “They have all moved away from traditional scanning equipment to adopt smartphone-based data capture solutions or BYO devices, due to lower costs and much greater flexibility.” In retail, for example, one of the key drivers, he says, is the need for better real-time inventory data.

Another factor that may well have influenced this funding round and valuation is that Scandit’s core mechanics go beyond just scanning barcodes. The startup is an offshoot of the highly regarded computer vision department at ETH, the University of Zurich, and it currently holds some 23 patents for its technology – eight granted and the others progressing through the patent application process.

The opportunity that Scandit has identified and is addressing is one that spans our entire daily lives, whether we consciously think about it or not. As a population, many of us have become accustomed to things working automatically, a situation made more and more “natural”, more mundane, thanks to the technology that makes it so. This, in turn, accelerates the pace of innovation to speed things up even further. Smartphones have had a huge role to play in this, with sensors and fast data processing that authenticate us, help us search and buy things, and of course communicate with the world in all sorts of ways (text , audio, video) and through a number of channels, wherever we are.

The cameras of these devices have been an essential part (pun intended) of evolution. “In the blink of an eye” became “in the click of a camera”. This opened the door for companies like Scandit to make it all possible.

It could be argued that the very basics of computer vision as played on a smartphone are trivialized these days, since even the most basic smartphones can capture QR codes and other objects with cameras in order to trigger other actions, or for image filtering and so on. to. Some of what Scandit does, however, supercharges all of these processes. “The computer vision and machine learning that we’re doing is all cutting edge” – 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 most difficult. You have to be able to fix that.”

It also begs the question of how well Scandit has spoken to hardware and platform companies (e.g. companies like Apple or Google or Microsoft, all very keen to dig deeper into the use cases of its technology by business). Mueller declined to comment on this, except to note that Scandit is one of Apple’s “approved mobility partners” and has go-to-market initiatives with Apple and Samsung.

For now, Scandit’s ‘smart’ take on smart data capture seems to be what investors are interested in, despite the fact that there are probably dozens, if not more, companies in the market offering their own vision. image-based data capture. (They include MishiPay, Dynamsoft, Cognex, Blippar and others.)

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

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