Investment money is flowing in to support Xing Bian Li as it develops its chain of convenience stores that do not need cashiers.
Two months after completing an angel round of RMB100 million (US$14 million), the Chinese startup has raised a further RMB380 million in a series-A round led by venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, says the China Money Network.
Lightspeed China Partners, which led the angel round, was involved again along with China Renaissance Group and Vision Plus Capital.
“In the past half-year, Xing Bian Li’s founding team showed its extraordinary creativity and has become the leading player in the checkout-free convenience-store sector,” says Lightspeed partner/co-founder Herry Han.
Xing Bian Li shoppers scan a QR code when entering the store with their purchases being tracked through a virtual cart. Goods are paid through mobile options with the receipt being sent to the buyer’s account.
As well as its stores, Xing Bian Li provides office snack bars offering drinks and snacks with payment options such as Alipay and WeChat Pay.
Xing Bian Li now has eight stores in Shanghai offering its “just-walk-out” shopping experience, and has placed more than 10,000 snack bars at workspaces. Its business model optimises its supply chain based on technology and supported by big data.
Several other checkout-free stores in China have raised at least $55 million in the past 12 months, including Bingobox, Citybox, F5 Stores, Guoxiaomei and Xiaomi. The latest addition is Jian24, which has just secured a $45 million angel investment.
As well as QR code scanning, another startup, FXbox, uses facial-recognition technology for its stores.