By Pat Bumpus | December 4, 2019 | Investment

Impact VC leads investment into retail sales technology

Image of store using Adroit's digital smart-shelf technology.

By Mark Anderson – Staff Writer, Sacramento Business Journal

Nov 27, 2019, 3:00pm PST Updated Nov 27, 2019, 3:05pm PST Sacramento-based Impact Venture Capital has led an $11 million financing round into Adroit Worldwide Media Inc., a retail sales technology company.

In addition to Impact, the investment included The Contrarian Group and Mark IV Capital. Both funds are based in Newport Beach.

Adroit has developed and is now marketing an autonomous shopping service that features digital smart-shelf technology, where the customer takes items off the shelf and leaves the store without having to deal with a cashier or lines. The transaction is charged automatically to a digital wallet, according to a news release about the funding from Adroit.

Adroit also developed Smart Shelf, a digital shelf-edge screen that displays shelf-tag information such as price, and also coordinates with a store’s point-of-sale and inventory control systems. The technology automates the price-changing process so store clerks don’t have to change tags or take inventory. The system also uses facial recognition to mine demographic information like age, gender and race, according to tech funding site Crunchbase.

Adroit is in the midst of a non-disclosure agreement, and could not comment further, said Ken Howard, CEO of AWM, in an email.

Jack Crawford, general partner with Impact, took a seat on the board of directors of Adroit Worldwide. He couldn’t be reached for comment.

Impact Venture Capital founding general partner Jack Crawford

Impact Venture Capital founding general partner Jack Crawford.

Adriot, which is based in Orange County, had previously raised $2 million in a seed round in October 2017, according to Crunchbase

Impact launched its first fund in 2016. That $25 million fund has invested in 13 companies, including Adroit. Over the past several years those companies have raised more than $233 million from Impact and other venture firms and corporate investment groups, according to Impact’s website.

Local venture funds are important to the local startup community because they are more likely than other funds to invest in Sacramento-area companies. Impact is now raising a $50 million second fund. The firm’s first fund invested in companies that at the time had local management teams, including CirrusMD, Cornami Inc., Pondera Solutions and Revionics Inc. The first fund’s most recent local investment was part of a $7.5 million financing round by Davis-based Advanced Farm Technologies Inc. three months ago.

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