Dublin-based Pointy, the tech startup that brings the contents of local retailers online through their unique “Pointy box” hardware, has today announced a $6 million Series A funding round to accelerate their mission of bringing the world’s local retailers online.
The round is being led by Frontline Ventures alongside Vulcan Capital, Draper Associates and a number of notable angel investors.
The company had previously raised a $1.2m seed round in 2015 and is led by Mark Cummins and Charles Bibby.
What does it do?
Pointy provides local shops with an automatic way to list all of their products online. Their unique “Pointy box” device connects to the store’s barcode scanner and automatically puts scanned items online.
The pages are optimized for search engines, so that when local customers search for products, they find results from local shops.
After launching in Dublin in 2015, the startup has since expanded into the US. “The retailer response has been amazing” said CEO Mark Cummins
“Pointy devices are now being used by retailers everywhere from Achill Island to North Dakota”.
Keeping it local
Pointy has users across 48 US states, as well as every county in Ireland and across the UK. The pages of stores who use the service have appeared in search results tens of millions of times.
CEO and co-founder Mark Cummins explains: “For many local retailers, keeping up with technology can feel like too much. They have full time jobs to do already, they don’t have the time or expertise to create digital stores as well. But consumers increasingly expect to find everything on their smartphones. If someone takes out their phone to search for a product they want to buy, they’re likely to see a result from Amazon, even if a local shop 50 feet away has the product in stock. It’s a frustrating for retailers and consumers alike. Pointy is solving that problem in a way that’s effortless for retailers.”
CTO Bibby added:
“The big difference with Pointy is that we do absolutely everything for the retailer. We did a lot of hard things behind the scenes to make it an experience that ‘just works’. It’s inexpensive, takes five minutes to install, and doesn’t require any integration with existing POS systems. After the Pointy box is plugged in we do all the work of sourcing product information and optimizing the retailer websites for search engines. It really makes it effortless.”
The two founders met each other while completing their PhDs in Robotics at Oxford. After graduating Cummins co-founded Plink, a visual search engine company that was acquired by Google in 2010, representing Google’s first acquisition of a UK startup.
The acquisition became part of Google’s Visual Search team, designing computer vision and AI systems now used in many of Google’s core products.
Bibby meanwhile has worked on numerous large-scale robotics and hardware projects, including designing security systems for the 2012 Olympics. He designed the first Pointy Box device when on a sailing boat, having just proposed to his now wife.
Commenting on the raise, lead investor and Partner at Frontline Ventures Will Prendergast said,
“Pointy is the first big innovation for local retailers in years. There is a clear consumer desire to search products available in local stores but today it’s not possible. Pointy have created a zero friction way of capturing that information which benefits both the store owners and consumers. It’s amazing to see the demand being unlocked: one toy store owner got hundreds of phone calls for a rare Lego set after joining Pointy, and an off-licence had customers driving from miles around for an unusual craft beer. I believe Pointy will lead to new consumer purchasing behaviour in the coming years. Mark and Charles have built an incredible team and ground-breaking technology, we’re excited to be backing them.”
For more on Pointy visit: www.Pointy.com