Why We Invested: Grabango

Conor McGuinness
May 23 · 3 min read

Heartland Ventures invested in Grabango. Why?

Time’s Wasted

According to a Timex survey, the average person spends approximately 6 months waiting in line over the course of his or her lifetime. Even more surprising? We, as adults, spend nearly 33 days of our lives waiting in line at the grocery store! Let’s be honest: most folks would rather spend their time elsewhere.

Grabango is leaning into this problem by focusing on the customer experience, first and foremost within the grocery and convenience store markets and then setting the standard for what the interaction should look like across the entire industry. Not only making the consumer experience unique and exciting, but also practical and efficient. And, they do this while doubling bottom line profitability for existing grocery locations.

Grabango’s checkout-free technology uses computer vision and machine learning to maintain a virtual shopping basket for each person’s store visit. Offered for free by grocery and convenience stores, it allows shoppers to skip the checkout line and simply walk out after scanning the code in their Grabango app.

Perhaps this sounds too good to be true? It’s not. In fact, it’s been validated by several of the nation’s leading grocers and convenience stores, including Giant Eagle. We also tried it out for ourselves! Heartland Managing Director, Max Brickman, had the opportunity to explore one of the first publicly open locations to see it for himself, and had this to say about his experience.

Veteran Founder

When we were first introduced to Grabango, we were immediately sold on the concept…From a consumer perspective, this shopping experience would not only be exciting and unique but also practical and efficient. In short, the “why” was apparent; however, we found ourselves questioning, “how?” After meeting CEO Will Glaser, we had no doubt that Grabango would succeed.

Will’s experience as co-founder, COO, and CTO of Pandora (NYSE: P) set him apart as a brilliant technology leader who is both highly capable and motivated to innovate. He knows the importance of customer empathy, and it shows. From the grocer’s perspective, the practical applications, ease of implementation, and ROI are immediately apparent.

Grocer’s Perspective

We followed Heartland’s usual diligence process by introducing Grabango to our grocer LPs, who ensured us that Grabango’s value is not limited to improved customer experience and operational efficiencies — it’s also a marketing goldmine. The tech enables grocers to better understand customer buying behavior and even allows them to offer buyer incentives at the exact point of decision making. Further, by integrating a clearer understanding of consumer preferences, Grabango improves inventory management.

These grocer conversations led us to one conclusion: Grabango would be a game changer. It was from that point that our confidence in the team to execute on this big vision took over and we were eager to invest and support their go-to-market strategy.

Grabango has since been named a Top 100 AI startup by CB Insights, The Best Company for Women & Diversity by Databird, Upstart 100 by CNBC, and was recognized for Innovation by Design by Fast Company.

We are thrilled to be working with Grabango’s talented team in changing the future of retail shopping.

For more information, visit Grabango.com or contact Conor McGuinness directly at conor@heartlandvc.com.

Heartland Ventures

Capital Infusion. Customer Infusion.

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