Instacart made its name by providing a way for consumers to bypass shopping in stores in person, by ordering items online and getting them delivered to their homes — a business that positively boomed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. But with physical stores still looming large in the world of groceries, Instacart also wants to play a role there, too. Today, the company announced that it is acquiring Caper AI, a startup that builds smart cart and cashier-less checkout technology that uses computer vision and other techniques to detect items and ring them up for shoppers.
Instacart confirmed that it is paying around $350 million for the startup, in a combination of cash and shares.
The acquisition is part of Instacart’s expanding “B2B2C” retail technology strategy. Alongside its mainstay online ordering and grocery delivery service, the company — as of March this year valued at $39 billion — is building out a stack of products and services for stores that they in turn can use to provide new services to their customers. It follows just weeks after Instacart acquired FoodStorm to help stores take and manage catering-style larger orders of ready-made food.Tech Crunch