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Lisbon AI startup Sensei raises €500K from Euro retailers Metro Group, Sonae and Techstars

Written by  Feb 26, 2018
Sensei, an AI-powered real-time video recognition solution for retail providing accurate in-store analytics and insights, today announced a pre-seed funding of €500K from retailers METRO (Germany) and SONAE (Portugal).
New investors of the Lisbon-based startup also include Techstars and two business angels from Canada and Portugal.

Sensei is an Alumni of Techstars METRO Retail Accelerator Berlin 2017. The young company has developed algorithms that turn any installed camera into a powerful sensor, which allows to digitize brick and mortar stores, digitize its products (SKUs) and measure real-time customer experience. Sensei provides retailers with accurate in-store analytics and insights ranging from traffic flow, store benchmarking, products performance, out-of-shelf detection and allows for optimized operations and to drive more sales. Sensei has a 360º business overview, empowering and optimizing the resources available and building a customer profiling to adapt and improve interactions between staff and customers. This process is completely anonymous and in compliance with GDPR standards.

The mission of the Sensei team is to digitize physical stores. They want to create smart stores that intuitively understand the needs of every customer and employee to deliver a shopping experience that is more convenient and personalized than ever before.


Olaf Koch, the CEO of Metro AG, stated: “In a digitized world, e-commerce players get detailed insights into their customers’ wishes and behavior and are often ahead of the game. However, brick-and-mortar retailers were mostly not able to gain comparable information until now – although this is highly relevant to better understand their customers and improve the shopping experience in their stores. Sensei now offers analytics that help the brick-and-mortar retailers to better understand the customers, to see what drives their shopping and to implement tools that make the store’s sales grow. We believe that Sensei is really generating value for its customers and are convinced that their story will continue.”

“Everyone talks about the rise of online shopping and quickly forgets that close to 90% of retail sales are still done in brick and mortar store. In Sensei, Techstars invested not only in rock star founders with deep category expertise but also in their focus to bring in-store shopping into the digital age where the data captured makes the experience for both the retailer and the shopper feels truly optimized.” Said Greg Rogers, Partner and Executive Director, Techstars.

Through this technology, Sensei is able of change the way things happen on the offline retail world, where 90% of transactions still happen. Increasing product availability on shelves or improving efficiency through store chain operations, Sensei is ready to help on reducing 1.5 trillion dollars on losses that retailers have every year on replenishment or out of stock products.

Sensei was founded in 2017 by Vasco Portugal, Joana Rafael and Paulo Carreira, building a team with a solid background in retail business and wide technology knowledge. The founders met at Technical University of Lisbon, where Paulo Carreira is a lecturer on Computer Science Engineering, and Vasco Portugal and Joana Rafael are PhD candidates at MIT Portugal program.

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