The retail technology year in review: July 2021 – Retail Technology Innovation Hub

Science & Technology

Electronics rental platform Grover raised $1 billion in a mix of equity and asset-based financing.
The Berlin-based circular economy startup said this would allow it to increase circulations from 475,000 to date to five million by 2024.
Rapid grocery delivery startup, Gopuff, raised $1 billion, valuing it at $15 billion.
Yoobic closed a $50 million Series C funding round led by Highland Europe.
The company provides an app for frontline and service workers to manage tasks, communicate with eachother and management, and also go through training, development and and other e-learning tasks.
Rapid grocery delivery startup Jokr closed a $170 million Series A funding round, three months after the company started operations in the US, Latin America and Europe.
Berlin-based startup, Choco, which has built ordering software for restaurants and their suppliers, raised $100 million in Series B funding.
Colombian on-demand delivery startup, Rappi, bagged approximately $500 million at a $5.25 billion valuation in a Series G round led by T. Rowe Price.
Indian e-commerce giant Flipkart raised $3.6 billion at a post-money valuation of $37.6 billion.
This was co-led by main owner Walmart, GIC, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments) and SoftBank Vision Fund 2, and came ahead of an IPO, which is set for early next year.
.@Flipkart has raised $3.6 billion in funding, which will help it to accelerate the growth and advancement of the digital commerce ecosystem in India. https://t.co/wDyr1HCcub pic.twitter.com/ybv5PWnX2x
Yanolja, a South Korean venture that provides cloud-based booking and other systems for the hospitality and travel sector, completed a $1.7 billion investment round involving SoftBank Vision Fund 2.
UK-based Banking as a Service outfit Railsbank raised $70 million in a funding round led by Anthos Capital.
UK-based online marketplace OnBuy.com closed £35 million in Series A+ funding through VC and strategic technology investors.
Congratulations to our partners @OnBuy for completing a £35m Series A+ Funding Round! 👏
Kurly, a startup that provides next day grocery delivery services across South Korea, closed $200 million in Series F funding, valuing the company at $2.2 billion.
Livestream shopping startup, Popshop Live, closed a Series A funding round at a valuation of $100 million.
PayPoint announced a £6.6 million investment in the Snappy Group home delivery business
Czech online grocery startup Rohlik announced a €100 million Series C funding round, valuing it at €1 billion.
Unless you were living under a rock during 2021, you would be aware that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos had completed an 11 minute journey to space aboard his company Blue Origin’s New Shepard launch vehicle.
He was accompanied by Mark Bezos, his brother, Wally Funk, an 82-year-old pioneer of the space race, and an 18-year-old student.
During a news conference, billionaire Bezos thanked “every Amazon employee and every Amazon customer because you guys paid for all of this.”
Enter his many, many critics who were quick to point out that Amazon workers have complained of poor working conditions, long hours and low pay. Customers were also getting a bum deal.
Oh, and the e-commerce giant wasn’t paying its fair share of taxes.
Yes, Amazon workers did pay for this – with lower wages, union busting, a frenzied and inhumane workplace, and delivery drivers not having health insurance during a pandemic.

And Amazon customers are paying for it with Amazon abusing their market power to hurt small business. https://t.co/7qMgpe8u0M
Luxembourg’s National Commission for Data Protection (CNPD) hit Amazon with a $887 million GDPR fine over the way it used customer data for targeted advertising purposes.
Amazon revealed this in an SEC filing in which it slammed the decision as baseless and said it would to defend itself “vigorously in this matter.”
Amazon denied a media report stating the e-commerce giant was looking to accept Bitcoin payments by the end of the year.
Marks & Spencer was set to become the first major UK retailer to launch same-day clothing deliveries nationwide.
Shopify made it possible for eligible merchants to sell NFTs (non-fungible tokens) through their e-commerce stores. One of the first out of the traps was the NBA’s Chicago Bulls.
If you’ve spent 1 minute on the internet this year, you’ve seen a lot about NFTs. @Shopify we are making it easier for our merchants to sell NFTs directly through their stores, with one of the first being the @ChicagoBulls NFT store. https://t.co/Qv2wKO7RCS
Instacart announced plans to offer automated fulfilment as a service to grocers in North America, and it inked a multi-year deal with Fabric as part of the initiative.
Morrisons was testing out a store with no checkouts or staff, known internally as Project Sarah, at its Bradford head office. 
Britain’s fourth largest supermarket, which was at the centre of a takeover battle, teamed with US venture AiFi on the initiative.
Asos formed a joint venture with US retailer Nordstrom.
This was part of a move by Nordstrom to make its physical and online stores work more seamlessly together.
Asos, meanwhile, gained a physical foothold in North America.
We're excited to announce a game-changing joint-venture with @Nordstrom, which sees it taking a minority stake in our iconic Topshop brands – bringing together two highly complementary retail models to deliver for 20-somethings across North America👉https://t.co/4cgOQutvFE pic.twitter.com/V7RLcHg3ar
Walmart announced a supply chain automation partnership with Symbotic. 
Tony Hoggett said he would step down from the role of Tesco Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer to head up Amazon’s international stores arm.
Buy now pay later big hitter Klarna acquired social shopping platform HERO. 
Sainsbury’s became the first UK retailer to introduce fully electric refrigerated trailers to its delivery fleet.
Ocado Solutions teamed with Auchan Retail owned Spanish grocer Alcampo to develop the latter’s online business using the Ocado Smart Platform (OSP).
The pair will initially build a customer fulfilment centre (CFC) to serve the Madrid region from 2024, with additional CFCs to be announced at future dates. 
Alcampo will also leverage Ocado’s In-Store Fulfilment (ISF) software across its hypermarkets nationwide to enable more efficient picking from stores. 
BIG NEWS 🇪🇸 Welcome @Alcampo to the Leaders Club of our global partners! We can’t wait to bring world-beating grocery online experiences to their customers and help @AuchanNews become a market leader online in Spain! 1st CFC serving Madrid in 2024! Vamos! https://t.co/vi53aqkD9N
Casino Group announced a digital strategy acceleration partnership with Accenture and Google Cloud.
The aim was to enhance the retailer’s customer experience and operational capabilities through the development and implementation of data analytics, artificial intelligence and machine learning-based solutions.
Casino Group was also looking to support the growth of its B2B activities, in particular RelevanC, the company’s retail media property, with technological and commercial back up from the partners.
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