Insite AI, a startup offering enterprise artificial intelligence (AI) software as a service for retail, today announced its NZ$2M/AUD$1.8M pre-seed funding led by Goat Ventures as it seeks to equip the world’s largest retailers with accessible AI technology to add significant intelligence and foresight in supply chain and operations, ultimately giving large retailers a competitive edge when it comes to understanding their customers.
Insite AI, which has spun out of Goat Ventures, is an easy-to-use machine learning-powered platform that targets the global top 250 retailers by revenue to unlock the complex challenges associated with merchandising and to optimise the art of buying and planning. By primarily harnessing retailers’ data, in addition to external data (i.e. weather, demographics, competitors) and text and imagery pulled from social media, product reviews, videos and more, Insite can provide retailers with value-driven insight.
As consumers get savvier and retail margins tighter, the New Zealand startup aims to help large retailers move away from making buying decisions based on manual or gut-feel decisions and archaic systems or spreadsheets that are commercially inaccurate. Insite will help retailers implement augmented workflows that can enhance activities such as stock allocation, introducing new products, pricing and more.
With the global retail sector sitting at US$25 trillion revenue, this round of funding will go towards further developing its SaaS AI application led by a team of five artificial intelligence PhDs as well as building out its business operations with a focus on expansion and growth into the US, European and Asian markets where Insite’s solution could generate the most meaningful impact and economic gains.
PwC Australia is working with Insite AI as the exclusive distributor and seller of the startup’s platform across Australia.
Shaveer Mirpuri, CEO of Goat Ventures and Chairperson of Insite AI, said: “We believe this sophisticated yet easy-to-use AI solution will help large retailers generate seven to ten figures. This capital injection and our collaboration with PwC Australia will help make that vision a reality.”
The startup has also announced that Chemist Warehouse, Australia’s largest pharmacy retailer with over 450 stores, will be piloting the software to intelligently support the buying and planning around the biggest area of its business, vitamins and non-prescription medicines.
The funding round is led by Goat Ventures, an early stage VC firm that invests in technology companies around the world, whose stakeholders are Shaveer Mirpuri, VMG Ventures and the late long-term angel investor Ray Thomson. Other early backers during the pre-seed round include the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF), Sir David Levene’s investment company Lewis Holdings, and other undisclosed super angels.
Launched in June 2018, the startup is actively hiring additional artificial intelligence PhDs and retail experts at a global level and plans to open an office in the United States by mid-2019.