- Tokinomo, the startup with Romanian founders and team that develops retail robots for in-store brand activation, just raised a pre-Series A round of $1.7M, following accelerated growth, new markets entry, and a €700K seed round in 2020.
- A group of angel investors led the round, joined by existing investor Early Game Ventures, and partner retail marketing company Instore Power Provider (IPP).
- The new funds will be used to develop new product lines, continue their global expansion, and hire new sales representatives.
Tokinomo is playing in the retail media tech space, a $100 billion revenue opportunity for retailers worldwide. Launched in 2018 by a team of advertising experts to make in-store marketing competitive vs. online marketing, the startup offers point-of-shelf (POS) display robotics systems that play with sensors, light, and motion to change the rules of brand activation.
“Overall, 2021 was a great year for us. We crossed 1M euros in revenue in December and all company metrics are looking very good. We’ve grown the overall business 3X last year”, co-founder and CEO, Ionut Vlad tells The Recursive.
The Tokinomo robots help brands attract and interact with customers by moving the products and sending audio messages, while helping companies capture valuable data about consumer preferences at the point of sale. Robots are connected to the Internet, store data on the cloud, and can be managed remotely.
In 2022, the startup will focus on developing new products in line with customers’ feedback to provide critical data for brands and retailers, Ionut Vlad announced.
Gathering data insights in-store is a hot topic for retailers and brands as it allows companies to define their audiences better and further personalize the brand experience. Empowering brick-and-mortar stores with valuable insights from data analytics, similar to what online stores enjoy, is one of Tokinomo’s key goals, but not without paying attention to data privacy.
“We are building our solution in a privacy-first compliance mode, following the strict GDPR guidance. We use the edge computing distributing framework in which personal data is locally analyzed. This allows us to act on the data and deliver better advertising. But the personal data does not leave the local edge sources. Furthermore, personal data is constantly deleted at the source and we receive only aggregated anonymous data for analytics purposes,” Ionut Vlad tells us.
The company will also invest in customer and partner success by hiring sales representatives in target countries to support local partners.
Tokinomo is headquartered in New York, with offices and the majority of the team based in Romania. In the past three years, they entered more than 40 markets worldwide through partnerships with local retailers and consumer goods brands. Currently, they are present in most Southeast European countries, as well as the US and Japan, and work with all big global FMCG names.
One example of a brand activation campaign was for Danone’s brand for plant-based products, Alpro. During the lockdown, FMCG brands had a tougher time attracting and engaging shoppers in-store. For 14 days, Danone organized an in-store brand activation campaign with Tokinomo’s robot POP display across 17 Carrefour stores. The campaign reported a 48% increase in sales over two weeks, in addition to generating brand awareness and trial.