A Seattle-based grocery startup named Swiftly has raised $15.6 million in a seed funding round to help smaller grocers compete with behemoths like Amazon and Walmart in the technology sector, according to reports.
The company also announced a brand new “operating system for brick and mortar stores.” The OS is live now in stores in Georgia and California, and it’s going to be rolled out across the country very soon.
Customers will connect with the system using an app, and they’ll have numerous features to use, including fast checkout. It works by letting consumers scan items as they go, and then using a dedicated Swiftly lane, where a “gatekeeper” takes a picture of the items to confirm the purchase.
The app also will allow customers to make shopping lists, apply coupons and hunt for deals. Swiftly said the app will help stores to get more customers through loyalty programs, as well as provide data about customer habits through machine learning.
Investors in the round include, among others, Novel Private Equity; 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 and CEO of Clover Health.
Zion Market, a grocery company that has stores in Texas, California and Georgia, has already signed up for Swiftly services.
Swiftly was started a year ago by a few veterans of Symphony Commerce, which served customers like Pepsi, General Mills, Hershey’s and Kraft.
Swiftly Co-Founder and CTO Sean Turner said the company moved to Seattle to find the best technology talent.
“Because our product evolves almost every aspect of the grocery shopping journey, we knew that we would need to hire engineers from top tech companies like Microsoft and Amazon to build a product that could scale. We found that Seattle was the best market for this talent,” Turner said.