Trax gets $19.5 million to push image recognition software that analyzes store shelves automatically


Singaporean-Israeli image recognition startup Trax has added another treasure to its chest with $19.5 million in new funding, mostly from lead investor Investec Bank, adding onto the $40 million the company raised over the summer.

Trax offers a groundbreaking technology for retailers, especially supermarkets. It uses image recognition to scan and analyze any product on the shelf, then taking sales data to spit back recommendations on how the store can promote it: change the price, move it to a different part of the shelf, shift it to a different section of the store, etc.

Its so-called “real-time shelf analysis” takes market data from a number of sources to make decisions. Reasons to change a product’s position in the store’s coolers could be as mundane as the label’s colors blending too easily with a neighboring product. Degrouping them could make them more visible to customers passing by.

Trax was vague about its intentions for the new money, which brings their all-time fundraising to $97.5 million according to the company, saying it would expand its global operations and try to focus on more products belonging to “top-tier retailers.” They already brag about having Procter & Gamble, Nestle, Heineken, and Coca-Cola as clients.

Not the only ones focusing on this market angle, they have competition in companies like Paris-based Planorama, which similarly uses image recognition to match products with data visualization and urges retailers to improve sales efficiency. Perhaps unsurprisingly, global brands Coca-Cola, Heineken, and Nestle are also listed as Planorama clients, alongside Unilever. That shouldn’t make you think those companies are sneaking around on their partners — it’s pretty common for major companies to mix and match services, especially new ones like this, as much as possible.

Following up a large round with a smaller one also isn’t unheard of, but it could be indicative that a startup really wants a specific investor.

“Given Investec’s strong track record in growth capital investments, and its involvement in international wealth management and asset management, Trax is very excited to have Investec join as a shareholder as we prepare for our next phase of global growth and innovation,” said Trax Co-Founder and CEO Joel Bar-El.

Trax can analyze items on the shelf and go so far as to tell if they are mislabeled, like these 600ml Coke bottles

The company is also another prime example of startups setting up in tandem branches in Israel and Singapore. The two ecosystems have been growing closer, highlighted by a $10 million investment from UOB (United Overseas Bank) in Israeli fund OurCrowd early last year.

Trax has its main R&D in Tel Aviv and corporate headquarters in Singapore, with outpost offices set up in different cities around the world like Coca-Cola-central Atlanta.



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