Waiting in line at the supermarket checkout is hardly fun for anyone – and it is no longer in keeping with the times. Not at all in times of Corona , distance rules are not always adhered to with long queues. The Berlin company Nomitri wants to remedy this and ensure a more modern payment process in supermarkets.
Trinh Le-Fiedler is one of three founders of the deep-tech startup Nomitri. Together with her co-founders Max Fiedler and Moritz August, the Harvard University graduate has developed an autonomous and contactless self-check-out system for supermarkets. Customers can scan their goods with their smartphones. The effort for dealers should be kept within limits, advertises Le-Fiedler.
The founder explains the shopping process as follows: For Nomitri to work, brackets should be attached to shopping carts and baskets, to which customers can attach their smartphones. The camera looks inside the car, so that everything works, the customer must be logged into the associated app. When the shoppers then put their groceries in the trolleys, they have to hold the associated barcodes in front of the smartphone camera so that the app can add the product to the virtual shopping list. If products are removed from the shopping cart, the camera should also recognize this process and automatically delete the removed goods from the shopping list.
One year late, the first cash-free supermarket Amazon Go opens in Seattle. Sensors should recognize which food the customer is buying.
In addition, users of the app should be made aware of current offers or recipes tailored to the purchase. If you forget to hold the barcode in front of the camera, you will be notified in the app. “It’s like a cashier is walking next to you,” says Le-Fiedler. Before leaving the shop, the customer only needs to confirm the invoice.
The startup advertises data protection – and opposes Amazon
The US retail giant Amazon and its Go stores have already made waves with a similar concept of cashless payment: Customers must first download the Amazon Go app and have an Amazon account. At the entrance to the supermarket, all that remains is to open the app and the customer checks in using a QR code. The customers take the goods off the shelf, everything is recorded by cameras and other sensors in the store. The Amazon account is billed as soon as the customer has left the shop.Interesting too
Le-Fiedler is skeptical of the US group’s supermarket chain when it comes to data protection . “Quite honestly: I don’t want to have to trust that Amazon handles its video recordings responsibly,” says the founder. “We cannot imagine such a kind of surveillance in Europe and I don’t think that people would like to be filmed from top to bottom so that the data can then be uploaded to any cloud.”
Preserving privacy and not using cloud infrastructures are therefore important to the startup from Berlin. According to this, customer data and video files that are created while shopping are to be saved directly on the user’s device. Therefore, “no network connection is necessary because no cloud is involved,” emphasizes the founder in an interview with the start-up scene.
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Many providers in the market
Amazon Go stores do not yet exist in Germany, but startups in this country have recognized the potential of modern shopping. The Hamburg startup Koala has worked closely with Edeka to offer cashless payment. As Gründerszene reported, the startup had 10,000 downloads in February of this year, and around 200 shops are to be equipped with the payment tool by the end of the year.
The retail sector is also keen to experiment with new technologies. In 2018, Saturn opened its first cashless branch in Innsbruck, Austria, followed by a store in Hamburg. Customers could therefore pay directly at the shelf with their app. You can now find mobile self-scanners at the entrance of well-known supermarket chains such as Netto, Real or Penny.
“In order to equip a supermarket like Amazon Go, retailers have to invest a lot of money in hardware and infrastructure,” complains founder Le-Fiedler. Nomitri wants to offer the necessary infrastructure for cashless shopping in supermarkets as little and cheaply as possible by using their own smartphones to scan the products. Therefore, the startup is banking on the increasing performance of smartphones in the coming years. Using a classic license model, the B2B start-up wants to be able to equip dealers with the necessary tools easily and “within a day”. The patent process is currently running on the technology of the Berlin startup.
First financing rounds successfully completed
The Berlin deep tech startup Nomitri was founded in September 2019 by Le-Fiedler together with Fiedler as CTO and August as Chief Digital Officer. Just three months after it was founded, the startup is said to have collected a six-figure sum from a family office. The startup received additional capital of around 1.2 million euros from Investitionsbank Berlin. A cooperation agreement with a global supermarket chain is also planned, says Le-Fiedler. Today the trio has twelve employees.