SandStar Raises Series B+ Funding From True Digital Group, Accelerating the Commercialization of 'AI+Retail' Globally

SandStar Raises Series B+ Funding

​​​​​​SandStar, the leading technology company in empowering retail with AI, recently received an investment in a Series B+ funding round from True Digital Group (TDG), a digital arm of True Corporation, one of Thailand’s leading telecommunication companies and an affiliate of the Thai conglomerate C.P. Group. Previously, the company also received investments from Baidu Ventures, Kinzon Capital, Fengshion Capital, Guopeng Capital, and Mobai Capital.

In 2020, the entire world wasn’t off to a good start. The global COVID-19 pandemic has inevitably had a negative impact on global economic growth. Prior to that, the capital market had already begun to tighten in 2018, and many companies have failed to endure the tests and trials one after another since then. There was a saying in the Venture Capital industry: “The leftover is the king”. It’s really not easy to simply survive. Against such a backdrop, by raising Series B+ funding, SandStar demonstrated its superiority over its peers in terms of technology, product and business model.     

As one of the first technology companies focused on “AI+Retail”, in addition to “grab-and-go” smart kiosks, SandStar also has unmanned shops which benchmark Amazon Go but with much lower costs and a smart store analytics solution, which enables physical retail to operate like e-commerce with real-time data analysis. Over the last four years, its unmanned retail products and technologies have been adopted in 12 countries and regions around the world to empower the physical retail operations of more than 20 Fortune 500 companies and to enable traditional stores to gradually shift into digital and smart retail.

The strategic partnership with True Digital Group will also provide tremendous support for SandStar in the field of “AI+Retail”, which will help to further cement its position as a global leader in “AI+Retail”.   

Prior to this investment, SandStar partnered with True Digital Group for two years working on a number of projects. During the two-year partnership, SandStar was able to demonstrate its leadership by constantly refining its cutting-edge unmanned retail technologies, evolving corresponding products aligned to customer requirements, and winning more and more customers globally.

“As a leading digital enabler, we strive to empower everyone with the ability to reach and utilise their digital potentials,” Said Ekaraj Panjavinin, Managing Director of Digital Solutions, True Digital Group. “We embody our 'Digital is a Core' mindset by focusing on Digital Convergence as our core strategy. It is our goal to create a greater impact across sectors and consumer groups by integrating new, advanced technologies and innovations to every facet of human life and leverage the current industry standards. Having a capable partner is a very important part of making our passion a reality. For the retail industry, we believe that with SandStar and our capabilities for AI and Analytics, we will be able to offer a greater value proposition for customers and change the landscape of retail in both Thailand and Southeast Asia.”

True Digital Group is a key member of the True Corporation, a telecommunications and digital services provider in Thailand. It’s one of the most powerful integrated digital service providers for enterprise customers in Southeast Asia, with a strong competence and presence in cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and the Internet of Things (IoT). 

“Cutting-edge technologies would be just gimmicks if they can’t provide solid benefits for customers they serve,” said SandStar CEO Yili Wu. “Dynamic computer vision recognition is indeed a cutting-edge technology. But in essence, our products and solutions are intended to empower retail scenarios and deliver the real and visible value for customers.”

For SandStar, an investor with a technical background and market resources is a perfect scenario, because people who are both tech-savvy and market-savvy can better understand and recognize the company’s philosophy: no storytelling and no gimmick play, and delivering real benefits for customers with efficient products and solutions as well as solid commercial deployment.

While other companies were taking advantage of the AI hype to create bubbles several years ago, SandStar already eyed the commercialization of “AI+Retail” and kept pushing the envelope in using technology to drive cost reduction and efficiency improvement. For example, customer feedback shows that SandStar’s smart kiosks can substantially lower the cost of restocking by 40%, and their data analysis function can also help to optimize the merchandise mix, pricing and display strategies, so as to help merchants increase sales up to 30%.         

SandStar is the earliest technology companies to empower retail with AI. Founded 4 years ago, it now has headquarters in both Beijing, China and Charlotte, N.C., US. The company has 220 engineers.

With the COVID-19 pandemic still lingering on, the pessimists sigh “it’s bad luck”, whereas the optimists are looking for opportunities in it.   

SandStar believes that, due to the special nature of the pandemic, on the one hand, the advantage of the contactless and efficient shopping in an unmanned retail environment has been demonstrated, and both businesses and consumers are looking for such a safe and efficient shopping experience; and on the other hand, this cooling-off period also enables the market to get rid of bubbles and restlessness, so that really great companies can stand out and catch the attention of market players and consumers.       

SandStar will also take advantage of True Digital Group getting on board as an international strategic investor to initiate another round of expansion around the globe. It is expected to accelerate expansion in Southeast Asia, Japan, South Korea, Europe, the Americas, and the Middle East over the next two years.    

SandStar is looking to collaborate with companies around the world and drive retail transformation together in the future.   

About True Digital Group

True Digital Group is one of the core businesses of True Corporation, Thailand’s fully integrated telecommunications and digital service providers. Aiming to become the ultimate digital enabler in Southeast Asia, True Digital Group continuously expands its ecosystem to deliver a portfolio of high-quality digital services to customers. True Digital Group’s key businesses include Digital Media, O2O and Privilege, Data Analytics, IoT and Digital Solutions, as well as True Digital Academy. True Digital Group has built deep competences in cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data, blockchain, cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), and robotics. With this, True Digital Group is able to build a unique ecosystem of digital platforms and solutions, addressing the digital needs of consumers, merchants, and enterprises. True Digital Group also launched its regional operations across Southeast Asia, with Indonesia and the Philippines as its first two markets. https://www.truedigital.com

About SandStar:

SandStar is an artificial intelligence company that provides leading computer vision technology for the retail industry. The advanced retail solutions engage shoppers like never before with grab-and-go convenience, autonomous checkout and big data analytics, serving businesses worldwide. Founded in 2016, SandStar now has over 220 engineers. The company provides Smart Kiosks, Pure Computer Vision Smart Shops, and Smart Store Analytics. Dual-headquartered in Charlotte, N.C. and Beijing, SandStar serves 20+ Fortune 500 companies and strives to build an AI retail ecosystem. SandStar is a qualified Intel® IoT Market Ready Solution (Intel® IMRS) partner and Microsoft Co-Sell partner, supported by a number of leading venture capital investors after four rounds of funding, including CP Group, one of the world's largest conglomerates. Check out more on https://www.sandstar.com.

Source: SandStar

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Categories: Retail Technology

Tags: computer vision, intel, IoT, SandStar, Smart Kiosk


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SandStar focuses on AI computer vision in the retail scene, using AI technology to constantly explore the edge of new retail. Its business launched in 11 countries, serving 20+ Fortune 500 companies globally, building the AI retail ecosystem.