Iris Dorbian | PE Hub – VC (US)
Pointy, a startup that helps local retailers get their products online, has raised $12 million in Series B funding. Polaris Partners led the round with participation from Vulcan Capital.
July 12th 2018 – Pointy has raised a fresh round of funding to accelerate its aim of helping retailers compete against the e-commerce giants. The $12 million Series B round was led by Polaris Partners with Vulcan Capital participating.
Pointy’s total funding now stands at $19 million after the company raised $6 million in a Series A round in September 2017.
Pointy provides local bricks and mortar stores with a way to make all of their inventory visible online and compete against e-commerce giants like Amazon. Their unique “Pointy box” device connects to a store’s barcode scanner and automatically lists the products online and optimises them for search engines, so that when local customers search for products, they find results from local stores. 90 percent of spending still occurs in brick-and-mortar stores and Pointy helps these stores to become visible online and protects their business from e-commerce giants.
Polaris Partners have led this Series B round, with Vulcan Capital participating. Previous investors in Pointy include notable funds and angel investors including Draper Associates, Frontline Ventures along with Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress, Lars Rasmussen co-founder of Google Maps, Taavet Hinrikus co-founder of Transferwise and Michael Birch co-founder of Bebo.
CEO and cofounder of Pointy Mark Cummins said the round will help Pointy accelerate growth and aid their mission to help make more brick and mortar retailers visible online to local shoppers, “We’re experiencing rapid uptake by US retailers and this investment will help us scale up further.
We started Pointy to help local stores be more visible online. It seemed crazy to us that people had to wait two days for Amazon to deliver a product that could be 100 yards away in a local store. Our message to retailers was ‘Don’t lose your local customers to companies like Amazon, just because shoppers don’t know what you have in stock.’
That has obviously resonated with independent retailers across the US and this Series B round will help us bring even more of them online.”
Cummins continued, “For all the hype around e-commerce and the media narrative of ‘Retail Apocalypse’, people still make the vast majority of their purchases in local stores. But local retailers have lost out in not having their products visible online – we solve that problem for them.”
Noel Ruane, partner with Polaris Partners who led the round said, “I had heard much of Mark and Charles before meeting in person and wanted to invest pretty much immediately upon meeting them. The ingenuity of the Pointy solution is matched only by the sheer size and scale of the market opportunity. The partnerships Pointy has developed with companies like Google and Square is further testament to Pointy’s capabilities.”
The Series B round comes a few short weeks after Pointy announced major partnerships with Point of Sale (POS) giants Square, Clover and Lightspeed that made the Pointy platform available to stores using these systems with a single click. Users of these POS systems can install the free Pointy app and get all of their products displayed online, geo-tagged and optimized for search engines, ready to be found by local consumers searching for products they sell.
Pointy also partnered with Google in June on their new feature called “See What’s In Store” (SWIS). SWIS will allow local stores to display their inventory directly on Google. The store inventory appears in the Google Knowledge Panel, and it’s also visible from Google Maps. For shoppers, it means they can check what local stores have in stock right on the Google search page.
Pointy is already used by local retailers across all states in the US, as well as in Canada, the UK, Ireland and Australia. Pointy’s store pages have appeared in search results tens of millions of times. IHL Group recently found upwards of 24% of Amazon’s current retail revenue comes from customers who first tried to buy a product in-store. Pointy is a powerful tool for local retailers to recapture that business by being visible online.
Pointy was founded by Mark Cummins and Charles Bibby in 2014. The company’s device makes it effortless for a retailer to get their entire inventory online and attract customers to their brick-and-mortar location.
Retailers simply plug in a Pointy device, and the complete contents of their store is displayed online automatically. The entire process involves less than five minutes work. When someone locally is searching online for something the store sells, Pointy helps them find the local store, where they can buy in person. It’s an alternative to e-commerce that’s simple and effective for local retailers. Pointy is used by retailers in 50 states across the US, as well as in the UK, Canada, Ireland and Australia. Pointy’s local store pages have appeared in search results tens of millions of times.
In 2018 Pointy signed major partnerships with Point Of Sale (POS) giants Lightspeed, Clover and Square to help get even more bricks and mortar stores online.
Biography of Mark Cummins, Cofounder of Pointy
Mark is co-founder of Pointy, a startup that helps local retailers get their products online. Retailers just plug in a Pointy device, and the complete contents of their shop is displayed online automatically. Previously Mark co-founded Plink, a visual search engine company acquired by Google in 2010. Mark spent several years at Google post-acquisition, working on the Visual Search team. Mark studied engineering and computer science at Oxford, where he graduated top of his year. He went on to gain a PhD in Robotics also at Oxford.
Biography of Charles Bibby, Cofounder of Pointy
Charles is a co-founder of Pointy, a startup that helps local retailers be found online. Retailers simply plug a small device into their barcode scanner and their products are listed online. Then when a customer searches for a product it becomes as easy to find it in a local store as it is on a big e-commerce site. Previously, Charles was responsible for delivering a security system to the Police and Royal Navy for the 2012 Olympic sailing events. The system was based on his PhD work and provided the decision makers with a real-time picture of maritime surface activity within the area. Charles studied Engineering and Computing Science at Oxford and went on to do a PhD in Computer Vision and Robotics, winning best thesis of the year for the UK.