San Diego, California
August 16, 2018
Every early stage investor salivates when he or she sees a solution they can envision scaling from units of deployment to mass deployments. So it’s been with me lately as I’ve envisioned Mike Whitaker’s GuestX platform (check out www.guestx.com) scaling from managing tourist attraction transactions in Seattle to managing them throughout North America. And today in San Diego, as I demoed Accel Robotics’ turn-key automated store solution, using a new technology called “aura perception,” I could see the path opening up for their solution to scale from a few paid pilots to thousands of deployed stores throughout the land (check out www.accelrobotics.com).
What a nice evolution this company has had since we initially invested just 15 months ago! What started as a roll-around robot solution in retail stores has become a camera vision technology that makes the Amazon Go concept look primitive. Meanwhile, the company has quietly closed on $3M of seed funding, led by a Japanese strategic investor, that is enabling them to embark on dozens of paid pilots with several well-known brands. I wish I could tell you the name of the major brand whose prototype store I experienced today in Accel’s well-hidden R&D facility. Suffice it to say, I witnessed the gathering of a random basket of goods, with several items returned to shelf (in the wrong places, of course;) and precision accuracy on the sales receipt! In and out of the store in less than 30 seconds! Now how long does it take for that gas pump to click off?
I’m proud of Brandon Maseda, Martin Cseh, and team for adjusting course, and proving the potential value of their solution to the marketplace. I’m pleased we were able to connect them with such a world-class mentor as Jeff Donaldson! I’m gratified that another RevTech mentor, TJ Paterick, introduced us to Michael Brand at Dor Technologies, which became its own great investment. What does that have to do with Accel Robotics? It was Dor Technologies that introduced us to Accel Robotics! Just as Dor Technologies successfully closed an $8M Series A funding earlier this year, I believe we’ll see Accel Robotics close on an even larger Series A funding in 2019. Keep an eye on this company — and be prepared for the way you shop for convenience items to change rapidly in the near future.