Bossa Nova raises $17.5 million for retail robots

Why count inventory when the robots can do it?

Retailers are using machines from a startup called Bossa Nova Robotics to analyze what’s selling on the shelves. The robots drive autonomously through store aisles figuring out what has sold and then sends back data.

The company is now raising $17.5 million Series B led by Paxion to scale its business. Intel Capital, Cota Capital and others are participating, bringing its total funding to $41.7 million.

Robots have become a regular part of warehouses, but Bossa Nova’s are different because they hang out in stores.

The company has “been working on this solution to automate process on the shop floor,” Martin Hitch, Chief Business Officer, told TechCrunch.  It’s “all about improving the customer shopping experience.”

The team recently announced a partnership with Walmart, which has plans to use the robots at 50 of its stores. The machines will not only evaluate which items are in stock, but also help locate misplaced items.

And there’s no concern about shopping carts get in the way. The robots can sense obstacles and move around them.

Michael Marks, partner at Paxion, said he invested because Bossa Nova’s robots and data provide valuable, real-time insights that help retailers fully understand what’s happening on store shelves and how to improve the in-store customer experience.” He believes  “this is a critical problem to solve as retailers look to create a seamless omni-channel retail experience, which relies on accurate inventory information.”

And it likely saves the stores money because they don’t have to pay workers to spend time scanning the shelves. This would seemingly lead to job cuts.

But Bossa Nova itself is hiring. The startup plans to use the funding to build out its team, with a focus on autonomy software and artificial intelligence.

The San Francisco based company has been around since 2005.