Waiting in line at the grocery store is no fun — not for the customer nor for the store owner. Selfycart, a self-checkout startup participating in Silicon Valley accelerator Y Combinator, wants to make it so you’ll never have to wait in line at the grocery store again. On Monday, Selfycart is launching its service at Rainbow Grocery, a San Francisco-based cooperative grocery store.
This means that when you walk into Rainbow today, you can use the Selfycart app to scan your items, pay for the items and then leave the store without needing to wait in a line or interact with anyone, unless you want to. Before leaving the store, an associate can check your QR code to confirm that you paid. Some stores do have self-checkout stations, but they’re by no means widespread.
“The promise of self-checkout and the reality of self-checkout are two totally different things,” Selfycart co-founder and CTO Erick Lee told me. “It was this idea that you have this machine that will be able to help you and always work and there would never be a line. But unfortunately, what ended up happening was there’s kind of a line there, the machine doesn’t really work and people don’t know how to make it work.”
That’s where the idea for Selfycart came from. Lee and his co-founder Sahle Hashelit knew there just had to be a better way to get in and get out of the grocery store. Right now, Selfycart’s focus is on independent grocers like Rainbow Grocery and Zanattos — two of its current customers. Selfycart is also looking at forming partnerships with grocers like Andronicos and Mollie Stones. The long-term goal for Selfycart is to eliminate friction from the shopping experience, starting with excessive lines.
Selfycart’s business model entails an annual subscription of $19,800, paid in monthly installments, to use its platform and access its analytics dashboard. For shoppers, they pay 2 percent per transaction, but Selfycart will remove it if it turns out to deter app adoption.
Regarding competitors, Hashelit mentioned AisleBuyer, a shopping assistant app that lets people bypass checkout lines and pay on their phones. In 2012, Intuit bought AisleBuyer and integrated it into the company’s Square competitor, GoPayment. AisleBuyer had raised $11.5 million prior to the acquisition.
Selfycart is looking to raise a $2 million to $3 million seed round in order to expand to regional store locations, provide more features to grocers, support larger customers and hire full-time employees. Right now, Hashelit and Lee are the only two people working on the business and product, which is available for iOS and launching on Android this week.