Google has announced plans to acquire the Dublin-based startup Pointy, which offers digital solutions to help local, brick-and-mortar retailers list their products online to compete with Amazon, according to Venture Beat.
The two companies did not disclose the sale price, but Yahoo Finance reported that it’s a $163 million deal. The acquisition is expected to go through in the coming weeks.
Pointy allows physical retailers to maintain up-to-date information on their inventory, using a device that can integrate with barcode scanners, scanning inventory at the point of sale and tracking sales and incoming stock using an algorithm based on purchasing patterns. When items are scanned into inventory, they’re also uploaded and optimized for search engines.
As an alternative to their $700 hardware, they also offer a free app that can integrate with certain POS devices.
Accurate inventory information and search engine optimization make it easier for shoppers to buy a product online and pick it up in-store, instead of having it shipped from companies like Amazon. Google Shopping already lists inventory for certain local stores, so the acquisition will help improve this system with accurate and up-to-date data from stores—Google had already announced integrations with Pointy in recent years.
“One of the challenges small merchants face is getting their in-store inventory information online in a way that is easy to manage and reliably up to date,” Google wrote, in a blog post announcing the acquisition.
“Since organizing the world’s information is core to what we do, we’ve been working to make it easier for local merchants to better showcase their products to interested shoppers on Google.”
The startup was founded six years ago, by Mark Cummins and Charles Bibby. Cummins had already sold his previous company, the search startup Plink, to Google in its first UK acquisition.
Pointy has raised $19 million in venture capital, including a $12 million funding round in 2018. For a small startup, Pointy has already found widespread success, working with about 10 percent of all physical retailers in the US.
Recently they’ve been working more closely with retailers, offering insights into sales and future inventory planning, but it had never played a role in the transactions themselves, leaving an opening for Google.
Cummins and Bibby wrote in a blog post announcing the acquisition:
“Over the past several years, we’ve developed a very close partnership with Google. It became clear that we shared the same vision of how technology can improve local retail businesses. So today is a natural next step in our journey. By joining forces, we will be able to help people discover local stores and products on a much larger scale. We think this is the right way to accomplish what we set out to do — to bring the world’s retailers online and give them the tools they need to thrive.”
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