Spot Technologies, an El Salvador-based artificial intelligence startup, raised $2 million in funding. The company, with operations in Chile, is developing cloud technology that turns cameras in retail and logistics locations into an intelligent system tracking behavior analysis and security.
An investor group including Femsa Ventures, Bridge Latam, Daedalus, Kuiper and Casque participated in the round.
Julio Abrego, co-founder and CEO, and his team started the company in 2018 to develop models, algorithms and modules for computer vision to enhance the video surveillance industry, Abrego told TechCrunch via email.
Spot’s flagship product, VisionX, taps into deep learning and computer vision technologies to analyze consumer and theft behaviors. It then provides advanced capabilities, including gender and age analysis, people counting, detection in undesignated areas, identification of crowd formations and analysis of areas of interest.
Abrego considers companies including SenseTime, BriefCam, AdMobilize and DeepView as competitors in the space. However, he says Spot’s VisionX tech differs from them in a few ways. One is modular integration and versatility to allow for flexible integration of video analysis modules — what Abrego likened to putting together Lego pieces. Another is detection.
“Spot focuses on transforming existing cameras in supermarkets into advanced tools for detecting consumer behaviors and preventing thefts,” Abrego said. “This dual functionality of security and consumer behavior analysis is unique and provides significant added value to customers.”
With the new capital, Spot intends to invest in the development of VisionX 2.0, scheduled for launch this year. It will include detecting minor thefts, thefts in self-checkout areas, violent actions and analysis of shopping patterns.
One of Spot’s big customers is Walmart, which has deployed VisionX into 450 of its stores and distribution centers in Chile to, among those other things, optimize dispatch processes through the counting and tracking of pallets.
In addition to Chile, Walmart has plans to implement the VisionX technology in its operations in Mexico in 2024. Spot is also talking with Oxxo, a Mexico-based chain of convenience stores, to integrate VisionX in its more than 21,000 stores across Latin America.
“We have integrated new functionalities into our SaaS platform, such as theft detection and human behavior detection,” Abrego said. “Similarly, in terms of talent acquisition, we have grown from having nine programmers to 30, and we have plans in our roadmap to expand to 50. This growth is supported by high-level clients, like Walmart and Mercado Libre.”