In early 2018, DCM led the Series A in Stockwell (fka Bodega.ai), a company that transforms any space into a modern retail experience with a next-generation vending machine they call a smart store. The company leverages computer vision, data science, and mobile phones to improve commerce at the “last hundred feet.”
Shortly after we were joined by our friends Amit Mukherjee at NEA and John Lyman from GV who led their Series B. Yesterday, Stockwell announced those financings, which total over $45M, in addition to some very exciting milestones. Stockwell now has over 1,000 stores, has expanded into three new markets (Houston, Chicago, and LA), and is exploring shared ownership models that empower anyone to run their own Stockwell store.
At DCM, we’ve been developing a thesis on what the future of retail might look like for a few years now. We saw the rise of autonomous retail in both China and the US, but wondered if retrofitting large, walk-in stores might be something too costly and complex for startups to tackle. When we first met the Stockwell founders Paul and Ash in 2017, we saw a company that was creating a new retail experience unlike any other before it.
Frictionless, curated, and located where customers live, work, and play. That’s the future of retail.
Why We Invested?
There are a lot of things to like about what the Stockwell team is doing, but here are a few of our favorites:
- Retail is BIG — CPG goods are a $760B market annually in the US alone. CVS does $80B in annual sales in its retail segment, while Walgreens does $30B. To those that view Stockwell as a better vending machine, vending machine operators generated $20B in sales last year.
- Technology — Unlike some of the autonomous retail companies we saw in other parts of the world, Stockwell uses computer vision to detect what a customer has picked and sends a receipt to them moments after the transaction finishes. This “moment of magic” does not rely on any weights, sensors, or RFID tags.
- New Retail Platform — Stockwell’s convenient locations allow it to own the “last 100 feet” and bring goods to consumers where they live, work, and play.
- Helping Brands Grow — Brands, especially smaller ones, need distribution. Stockwell can provide this distribution with its network of stores to brands both large and small. Smaller, local brands may not have the scale to obtain national rollouts in traditional offline stores and Stockwell can help surface those brands.
Congratulations to Paul, Ash, and the team! We are so excited to see Stockwell continue to change retail and are thrilled to be one of their partners on this journey. Come join us!