Adeptmind, an AI retail startup, has raised $6.2m in Series A funding as it looks to merge online and offline shopping experiences in one personalised platform.
The investment round was led by Innospark Ventures, with support from A/O PropTech, Pi Labs and beauty retailer Ulta Beauty.
Using AI, Adeptmind tries to recreate physical shopping experiences online by including characteristics and descriptions shoppers can usually only get from trying out products in person, such as weight and feel.
Adeptmind mines customer-intent data – through sources such as customer reviews, social media and influencer content – to provide additional context to search terms, which will help them, for example, to find not just a snowblower but a snowblower that is easy to push.
The problem the company is trying to fix is that while online shopping has increased dramatically over the last year (in the UK, it still accounts for 29.4% of all sales despite lockdown easing), a third of products bought online are returned. By creating advanced search tools, Adeptmind seeks to help retailers better serve customers and ensure they find exactly what they are looking for.
Alongside this, the software allows shoppers to search one single site to find what items are available near them and then order them for delivery or collection.
Launched in 2017, Adeptmind is used by more than 400 retailers and property owners, including Decathlon and Hammerson. The funding will accelerate the research and development of new tools for personalisation and shopper intent and drive innovation for what the company calls the “underserved physical shopping experience”.
G Wu, CEO and co-founder of Adeptmind, said: “While Covid-19 has greatly accelerated the adoption of online shopping, it has also highlighted the benefits that come with shopping in-store. In the post-pandemic world, shoppers will demand a new form of retail that merges the physical shopping experience with the convenience of e-commerce.
“Our mission is to use AI to bridge the gap between digital discovery and physical commerce by unlocking advanced customer-intent data that brings the context of physical shopping to the online world.”
Hugo Silva, investment manager at Pi Labs, added: “The pandemic has accelerated the growth of online retail but that’s not to say that physical retail is dead – far from it. What we’re witnessing is the digital metamorphosis of the industry which we believe will rise with a renewed purpose and with technology as a key part of its evolution.”
The investment marks Pi Labs’ first step into the North American market as part of its push to expand its international footprint.
Howard Bornstein, principal at Innospark Ventures, said: “In our AI-driven world, the power of digital search is built on context and access to data. Adeptmind is able to provide deep, rich, customer insights that are helping to shape the way people shop.”