Grocery Ecommerce Startup Swiftly Secures US$15.6Million, Unveils New Supermarket OS
Supermarket ecommerce startup, Swiftly raised US $15.6 million in a seed round to help grocery stores and other retailers up their technology offerings to keep up with Amazon and Walmart. The funding round was led by investors including Novel Private Equity; Mendacre; Ron Burkle, founder and managing partner of The Yucaipa Companies; Sam McBride, former COO of RXBAR; The Ward Family, former owners of Russell Stover Candies Inc.; and Vivek Garipalli, co-founder of CarePoint Health and co-founder/CEO of Clover Health.
The funding round also came along with the debut of what the Seattle startup calls an “operating system for brick and mortar stores.” The system is live in grocery stores in California and Georgia, and Swiftly is getting ready to initiate on a country wide rollout.
Swiftly offers a variety of features for customers through its app, including a fast checkout option. Customers can scan items in their cart using the app as they go. Then at checkout they can bypass lines using a dedicated Swiftly lane, where a “gatekeeper” takes a photo of the basket to validate the purchase.
Swiftly already has at least one huge client, Zion Market which has stores in California, Georgia and Texas. In addition to speeding up checkout, Swiftly’s app lets customers create shopping lists, find deals and apply coupons. It helps stores build strong loyalty programs and get new insights on customer preferences and purchase patterns through data and machine learning.
Supermarkets and grocery is the latest sector to see rapid change due to technological innovation. Amazon and Walmart are in a grocery arms race, investing heavily in technology to reduce checkout times and make shipping and picking up items easier. Microsoft has also gotten into the grocery game, through sweeping partnerships with companies like Kroger and Walmart.
Startups are also beginning to target the grocery industry, giving smaller stores and chains a chance to take advantage of emerging technology. Swiftly was founded in 2018 by Henry Kim, Sean Turner, Daniel Kim and Karen Ho. They are veterans of Symphony Commerce, whose customers included Pepsi, General Mills, Campbell’s and Kraft.
The company which has 25 staff originally started in Palo Alto, California but later moved to Seattle. Swiftly’s CTO, Turner, a former Microsoft engineer, said the move to Seattle was based on talent, specifically tech personnel who also had a strong background in the grocery industry. The company is using the newly acquired funds for further staff increase, expand its client base and also to scale up operations and expand area wise.