Expanding into Europe: Standard acquiring Milan-based Checkout Technologies
This morning, Standard announced that it has acquired Milan-based, Checkout Technologies, which has developed Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology for retail frictionless checkout. The acquisition significantly increases the size of Standard’s engineering team and seeds its European presence. Here’s what Standard co-founder Jordan Fisher and Checkout Technologies co-founder Enrico Pandian had to say.
Jordan, why did you decide to make this acquisition?
JF: We are always on the lookout for strategic acquisitions that will enhance our team or our technology - this is our third acquisition in the last year. About one in five of Standard’s current employees have come to us via an acquisition and it’s been awesome to see the impact they’ve had.
Checkout fits both of those criteria - we’ve gained 13 outstanding engineers along with key technology which will be additive to our product roadmap, and the addition of Checkout allows us to quickly seed a ground presence in Europe, which is a huge market for frictionless checkout.
Enrico, what made Standard an attractive partner?
EP: We’ve seen this market mature a bit, and consolidation is occurring. Standard was one of the first startups in this space, and is far ahead of the others. They were a natural partner for us and the Checkout team couldn’t be more excited to join Standard. I believe this market will boil down to just 2-3 leaders and Standard will definitely be one of them. We wanted to be a part of that.
How will this acquisition change or improve Standard’s technology?
JF: Checkout has a very strong technical team with deep experience in the frictionless checkout experience, including expertise in developing a variety of in-store sensor types which we think will be useful to address edge cases for Standard customers more effectively. It will also be great for us to have a formal presence in Europe - a market we’re excited to grow.
EP: Milan has a very rich startup and engineering ecosystem - we are fortunate to have so many talented engineers here. We built a very strong team that works well together and we’re looking forward to working with the Standard team to accelerate the future of retail
When will customers begin to see the impact of the acquisition?
JF: We are enhancing our software all the time, literally every day. Increasing the size of our engineering team will enable us to accelerate our roadmap, so we can get new features out to customers more quickly.
Standard is solving a much harder problem than a company like Amazon Go. We are focused on retrofitting stores, rather than working with retailers to build new stores. We believe the vast majority of retailers want to improve their existing stores with this technology, not build all new stores. The retrofit market is huge, but also much harder technically, because we can’t replace all the shelves with sensored shelves and we can’t install turnstiles and gates. We are doing everything with machine learning and computer vision. The retailers we’ve implemented with so far love the simplicity and the frictionless customer experience we can provide.
How did the coronavirus pandemic and the impact on Italy in particular affect this transaction?
JF: We started talking with Checkout long before the coronavirus outbreak - last summer. So we had the opportunity to meet in person and talk through how we might work together, how we all envisioned the product sets coming together, and just generally make sure we had a good cultural fit. When the lockdown in Italy started, the deal was nearly complete. We were able to complete the due diligence process remotely thanks in large to very hard working teams on both sides of the table.
EP: The Checkout team remains safe and healthy. As Jordan mentioned, we were able to keep everything going remotely, so we didn’t skip a beat. We look forward to getting together in person again when it’s safe to do so.
What’s next for Standard?
JF: Right now we’re working on integrating the teams and technologies. We’re very busy with customer installs in the U.S. and elsewhere, so that’s been a big area of focus. There will be a lot of good news coming out of Standard in 2020.