Pensa Systems Raises $10 Million Seed Funding For AI-powered Inventory Drones

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Pensa’s AI-powered drones gather accurate retail inventory data from store shelves.

Pensa Systems raised another $10 million in a seed funding round that brought its total raised tally to $17.2 million.

Pensa’s autonomous drones, powered with computer vision and artificial intelligence (AI), may revolutionize the mundane chore of retail inventory taking.

Pensa’s powerful AI system gives real-time insights into inventory levels and shelf conditions. More importantly, the system learns over time, learning the store and shelf locations, product placements, even packaging changes. Drones operate during low-traffic hours, and their inbuilt computer vision algorithms feed shelf data to the cloud. Moreover, the system provides actionable reports on low inventory SKUs, out of stock items, and key trends.

Inventory benefits

According to Pensa co-founder Richard Schwartz, the company’s inventory tracking drones can pinpoint stockouts up to 40% more accurately than current retail industry standards. Further, the drones prevent loss of profits, up to several percentage points, by tracking low inventory.

Pensa conducted a live pilot of the system with Anheuser-Busch InBev in the GA Extra Beck brick-and-mortar store in Montreal, Canada. The pilot ran for two weeks during which the drones could detect out-of-stocks 98% of the time.

Anheuser-Busch InBev is a strategic investor in Pensa.

An industry expert comments on Pensa’s inventory control

Former partner and leader of retail-store operations practice at McKinsey & Company David Ritter was very positive on the system.

“I’ve never seen anything that comes close to Pensa’s shelf inventory approach,” he said. “Combining AI, computer vision and drones to automate delivery of actionable data — it’s a game-changer for brands and retailers alike.”

[Related Story: How AI, Drones, U-Cal and Salesforce Watch Out for Sharks ]

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