Singapore-based Trax has just closed a funding round of US$64 million, the company’s largest capital injection to date.
The round was led by US private equity firm Warburg Pincus, which will become Trax’s largest institutional shareholder. A number of the company’s existing investors also participated.
The company said in a statement that it will use these latest funds for product development and to drive capacity in its core markets.
Trax – which is headquartered in Singapore and has an R&D facility in Israel – offers a number of products built around its core computer vision technology. It uses image recognition software to extract and analyse data from visual information and derive insights from it. Trax has applied this in a retail context to help consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies keep track of their products on store shelves and to understand how in-store product placement can impact sales.
Trax’s technology processes photos taken by retailers in-store – using a smartphone, a tablet, or even a robot – and cross-references this information with the company’s database to produce real-time reports. Brands and store owners can use these reports to help with things like enhancing store and shelf layouts, or reducing the risk of running out of stock.
The company claims to have indexed over 6 billion product images from over 1 million stores across 50 countries. It counts several major global CPG manufacturers among its clients, including AB InBev, Coca-Cola, Henkel, Nestle, and PepsiCo.
There are a number of other image recognition startups competing in the region, such as Taiwan’s Viscovery and Singapore’s Visenze, which has partnered with Indian ecommerce player Flipkart on image-based search.
But speaking to Tech in Asia last year, Trax CEO Joel Bar-El said that he considered his company’s main rivals to be in the market research space – like industry giant Nielsen – and that Trax’s “superior technology” and ability as a small company to be “more agile, flexible, and able to meet clients’ requirements” gave it a competitive edge over them.
Trax has the potential to become the one-stop ‘go-to’ solution for all retail info – essentially the ‘Bloomberg of Retail’
However, Trax and Nielsen are now partners. They announced last week that they were teaming up to ntroduce a tool for retailers called Shelf Intelligence Suite. Drawing on Trax’s computer vision tech and Nielsen’s massive point-of-sale dataset, the collaboration intends to help brand owners and stores further improve their shelving strategies.
In addition to the Nielsen partnership, the involvement of Warburg Pincus is also hoped to significantly boost Trax’s growth prospects, both in the wider retail space and in technology expertise. The private equity firm said in a statement that it has invested over US$16 billion in more than 300 technology companies and US$5 billion in 70 consumer and retail companies in total.
“Trax has the potential to become the one-stop ‘go-to’ solution for all retail info – essentially the ‘Bloomberg of Retail’,” Jeffrey Perlman, Head of Southeast Asia at Warburg Pincus, said in the statement.