What next? Oh yes, turning a luxury car into a non-fungible token

We’ve seen more than one project use the immutability of blockchain to verify important physical things. So, for instance, a pioneer in the space, Verisart, has brought blockchain certification of high art to leading galleries worldwide, and other players are now entering this growing market. Codex Protocol is a new startup also putting art on the blockchain. The benefits are obvious: reducing the possibility that an artwork could be fake to near-zero. This is an incredibly powerful idea, especially at the high end of the commercial spectrum.

A relatively new idea is to take blockchain to the car market. Automakers are already starting to take an interest. BMW, Ford, Renault and General Motors recently joined a new working group of more than 30 auto companies to employ blockchain technology. The Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative aims to speed up the adoption of blockchain, with use cases ranging from autonomous payments to ridesharing. But that’s not where blockchain adoption for cars ends.

There remains the need for trustworthy assurances of authenticity and condition, especially when it comes to high-end cars. And that’s doubly true of classic and exotic vehicles. Collectible, classic cars can have their documentation forged or misassigned since there’s no one, single, global document standardization for these kinds of cars.

Now a startup hopes to bring their newly-launched platform for tokenization to this market.

Proxeus is a blockchain startup that has launched a user-friendly method to register classic cars collection on the blockchain, making it both unforgeable and verifiable by anyone. The first client is Mercuria Helvetica in Switzerland.

Proxeus’s process verifies the certificates of authenticity and conditions of the vehicles. As an additional step, the car itself could actually be taken to the blockchain as a non-fungible token with an integrated certification library, offering not only proof of ownership and history but also serve as a permanent link to the verified documentation.

It’s now launching the beta version of its engine which has a drag and drop interface affording.

But do we really want to tokenize luxury cars? Proxeus says that’s not the point. They say their technology means someone without specialized programming skills, the ability to deploy blockchain for a wide variety of use cases.

Antoine Verdon cofounder says: “For the first time we are able to show that our technology is real.” Artan Veliju, CTO, says the platform has the “ability to easily build the workflows needed to use blockchain productively without needing to launch a software development project.”

Their idea is to allow anyone to legally incorporate businesses, register assets, and validate certificates on their testnet blockchain. It’s so far been used by the University of Basel’s Center for Innovative Finance course certificates or WWF Switzerland’s tax donation verification system. Test XES tokens will be provided to show how they function within the Proxeus ecosystem and are used to pay for Proxeus’ services.

Shortly after raising $25M as a part of their ICO, Proxeus now plans to complete the functions described in its whitepaper and release a fully-developed solution for enterprise.

Meantime, I’m going to make a, perhaps obvious, observation: The tokenization craze is clearly not going to end here.

Tempow’s Bluetooth stack can improve your TV setup

French startup Tempow has been working on improving the Bluetooth protocol at a low level to make it more versatile. The company is introducing a new audio profile for your TV or set-top box.

TV and set-top box manufacturers can license Tempow’s software and integrate new features in their devices. It works with regular Bluetooth chips, but it opens up new possibilities.

In particular, Tempow has been working on a one-to-many pairing model. You can pair multiple Bluetooth speakers with your TV to create a wireless surround system using good old Bluetooth speakers.

The reason why soundbars slowly replaced 5.1 systems is that you don’t have to run cables on the floor to the back speakers. Tempow solves that, and Bluetooth speakers are much cheaper than a bunch of Sonos speakers.

With Tempow’s stack, you can also stream different audio tracks to different devices. In other words, you could pair multiple headphones with your TV and watch a movie in different languages. If your kid is too young to read subtitles, you no longer need to make compromises.

You can also configure each speaker individually so that you can reproduce the same sound profile across the board, even if you’re using speakers from different brands.

The startup first worked on an audio profile for smartphones. For instance, if you have a Moto X4 phone, you can pair it with multiple Bluetooth speakers at once. With today’s news, the company is expanding beyond smartphones. But it’s still about Bluetooth.

Sweden’s Engaging Care raises $800,000 for its digital healthcare SaaS

Engaging Care, a Swedish heathtech startup co-founded by Charlotta Tönsgård, who was previously CEO of online doctor app Min Doktor before being asked to step down, has raised $800,000 in “pre-seed” funding to continue building out its digital healthcare SaaS. Backing the burgeoning company are a host of well-established angel investors in the region.

They include Hampus Jakobsson (venture partner at BlueYard Capital and co-founder of TAT, which sold to Blackberry for $150 million), Sophia Bendz (EIR at Atomico and the former Global Marketing Director at Spotify), Erik Byrenius (founder of OnlinePizza, an online food ordering company sold to Delivery Hero) and Neil Murray’s The Nordic Web Ventures.

With the aim of dragging healthcare into the digital age, but in a more patient-friendly and patient-centred way than tradition electronic medical record systems, Engaging Care is developing a SaaS and accompanying apps to bring together patients, healthcare providers and partners to be “smarter and better connected”. Unlike software and digital services that work outside existing healthcare systems, the startup’s wares are billed as being designed to work within them. It is initially targeting people with long-term health conditions.

“There has been tremendous progress made in the healthcare sector over the last decade. New advanced drugs, new methods for surgery and other treatments, but how healthcare workers share important information with the patient and the interaction between caregiver and patient still basically happens the same way it did 50 years ago,” Tönsgård tells me.

“The systems of today are still designed around the doctor – even though we might spend as little as 15 minutes with him or her every year, but hours, days and years alone with our condition. On top of this, most western healthcare systems are struggling financially, with an ageing population, more prevalence of chronic diseases and a shift in expectations from the public, adding to the challenges”.

In order to maintain current levels of service and make room for medical breakthroughs and new treatments that are happening at an increasing pace, Tönsgård argues that individual patients and healthcare providers need to work together in a different way. And that begins with empowering patients to better understand and take greater control of their health conditions and treatment — which is where a platform like Engaging Care can help.

“Our ambition is to become the first truly global healthcare system; supporting us as individuals to be more in control, and to make better decisions about our healthcare and to provide digital tools for healthcare providers to share knowledge and use their resources more efficiently,” she says.

“Our goal is to become the end-users first point of contact, but the clinics/healthcare providers are our customers. Right now we’re targeting specific clinics, but in the end, our platform will support any type of healthcare”.

The first “vertical” Engaging Care is exploring is patients who have gone through an organ transplant. “It might sound like a strange place to start, but it’s actually perfect in many ways,” says Tönsgård. “Both in terms of the possibility to make a difference for the patients and the care teams, but also in terms of a landing pod when going international”.

This has seen the company work with a small number of clinics in Sweden that are performing organ transplants to put patients through a pilot of the software. The first stages of commercial discussions are underway and Tönsgård is hopeful of securing the first customer this Fall, which will coincide with a full launch of the Engaging Care platform. “In parallel, we’re exploring multiple options for which verticals to kick off next,” she adds.

Meanwhile, Murray of The Nordic Web Ventures concedes that Engaging Care’s goal to be the first platform that enables a truly global healthcare system is “incredibly lofty,” but says that if anyone has the “drive, passion, ambition and guts to pull this off then it’s Charlotta and team”.

The Accel team is coming to Disrupt Berlin

Every time Accel invests in a startup, it’s an instant positive sign in the startup community. The venture capital firm has a rich history with decades of investments in successful startups. That’s why we’re excited to have four partners at Accel on stage at Disrupt Berlin.

Philippe Botteri, Sonali De Rycker, Luciana Lixandru and Harry Nelis will all relocate their partner meeting to our stage.

Accel is a different VC firm for many reasons. First, while the firm started in Silicon Valley, the team bet early on the European startup scene, back in 2001. With an office in London, the team keeps an eye on the entire continent for investment opportunities.

The firm has invested in Deliveroo, BlaBlaCar, Supercell, Spotify and so many others. With such a good track record, it’s clear that some recent investments are also going to become massive companies — nobody has realized it just yet.

In November, we will have four Accel partners on stage to discuss the firm’s investment thesis, each partner’s current obsessions and their collective thoughts on the startup scene in Europe.

It’s going to be a great way to hear the granularity of a team with strong beliefs. I’m sure they don’t always agree on everything, but somehow they manage to invest together as a firm.

TechCrunch is coming back to Berlin to talk with the best and brightest people in tech from Europe and the rest of the world. In addition to fireside chats and panels, new startups will participate in the Startup Battlefield Europe to win the coveted cup.

Grab your ticket to Disrupt Berlin before August 1st as prices will increase after that. The conference will take place on November 29-30.


Philippe Botteri, Partner, Accel

Philippe Botteri focuses on SaaS, enterprise and marketplace businesses.

Philippe led Accel’s investments in DocuSign (IPO), PeopleDoc, Qubit, Algolia, BlaBlaCar, Doctolib and Zenaton. He also works closely with the team at Fiverr and CrowdStrike. Prior to joining Accel, Philippe was with Bessemer, where he worked with the firm’s SaaS and Ad Tech investments including Cornerstone OnDemand (public), Eloqua (public) and Criteo (public).

Philippe is from Paris and graduated from Ecole Polytechnique, where he is a member of the Entrepreneurship Advisory Board, and Ecole des Mines.

Sonali De Rycker, Partner, Accel

Sonali De Rycker focuses on consumer, software and financial services businesses.

She led Accel’s investments in Avito (acquired by Naspers), Lyst, Spotify, Wallapop, KupiVIP, Calastone, Catawiki, JobToday, Wonga, Shift Technology and SilverRail. She is also an independent director of Match Group (public). Prior to Accel, Sonali was with Atlas Ventures.

Sonali grew up in Mumbai and graduated from Bryn Mawr College and Harvard Business School.

Luciana Lixandru, Partner, Accel

Luciana Lixandru focuses on consumer internet, software and marketplace businesses.

She helped lead Accel’s investments and ongoing work in UiPath, Deliveroo, Framer, Avito, Catawiki, Vinted and others. She is also an independent director of Showroomprive (public). Prior to Accel, Luciana was with Summit Partners.

Luciana is from Romania and graduated from Georgetown University.

Harry Nelis, Partner, Accel

Harry Nelis focuses on consumer internet, financial services and software companies.

He led Accel’s investments in CHECK24, Funding Circle, KAYAK (IPO; acquired by Priceline), Showroomprive (IPO), WorldRemit, Celonis, Callsign, Instana and others.

Harry started his career as an engineer at Hewlett-Packard before founding the venture-backed software company E-motion.

Harry is from the Netherlands and graduated from Delft University of Technology and Harvard Business School.

Glovo gets $134M to beef up its on-demand delivery business

Spanish startup Glovo, whose platform lets app users summon a gig economy worker to shop on their behalf, be it for a takeaway burger or a multi-bag supermarket shop, has bagged a €115 million (~$134M) Series C round of funding. Spanish press are reporting the round values Glovo’s business at more than €300M.

The lead investors in the Series C are Rakuten, Seaya and Cathay, which had also invested in its Series B.

Also investing is AmRest — a publicly listed restaurant operator in Central Europe — as well as European funds Idinvest Partners and GR Capital, plus some other minor investments.

AmRest controls more than 1,650 restaurants in more than 16 countries — with brands such as KFC, La Tagliatella, Pizza Hut, Starbucks and Burger King, Blue Frog and KABB under its belt. So the strategic opportunities it’s spying to ply fast food fans with on-demand food at the tap of an app button are clear.

Glovo raised a €30M Series B last October. The startup was founded in Barcelona in 2015, and its delivery riders — with the distinctive yellow box bags strapped to their backs — are a common sight around the city, often to be spotted clustering in expectant groups at the entrance to McDonald’s and other fast food outlets.

The startup says the new funding will be put towards optimizing its platform and tech resources to improve the service to riders, users and associated stores.

Specifically, it’s planning to increase its tech team by adding more than 100 engineers in the coming months — saying it wants to become what it dubs “the most relevant technology hub in Southern Europe”.

It also plans to use the funds to fuel its momentum, noting it’s opened up six countries and 20 cities around the world in just three months. Its regions of focus are Latin America and EMEA areas (Europe, the Middle East and Africa), and its app is available in 61 cities in 17 countries in all at this stage.

While Europe is a core region, and Spain alone accounts for a major chunk of its business — where it’s now operating in 21 cities — the legal risk for gig economy companies operating there is rising as political pressure grows to reform employment law to bolster workers’ rights against erosions by app platforms that are in turn reliant on huge armies of so-called ‘self-employed’ workers to power their businesses.  

In the UK, for example, the government is consulting on a package of labor market reforms, saying in February that it wanted to be “accountable for good quality work as well as quantity of jobs” — and putting gig economy platforms on watch for changes.

Glovo’s other regional focus — of Latin America — suggests the startup is hedging its bets where this type of employment law legal risk is concerned.

And indeed where competitive risk is concerned, given the space it’s playing it is a very crowded one on the food delivery front (with the likes of Deliveroo, UberEats and JustEast competing to conveniently serve consumers’ stomaches in Europe), and the likes of Postmates having established a shop-on-your-behalf business in the US.

Also today Glovo announced the nomination of Niall Wass as chairman. It said that Wass, a former Uber SVP for the EMEA & APAC region, has been working for it as advisor for the past year and helping with its expansion strategy.

The Great British Hack-Off hackathon against Brexit is on this weekend

Prizes of up to £1,000 are up for grabs at Great British Hack-Off summer festival hackathon, an event designed to supercharge the campaign to lobby for a ‘people’s vote’ on Brexit with the option to remain in the EU.

The event is aimed at engineers, designers, UX experts, data scientists, social media influencers and experts. Anyone interested can apply to attend the event via this form.

In a 2-day intensive, overnight “hackathon” on the weekend of July 21-22, the aim will be to connect people with their decision makers and MPs about their concerns for jobs, services and the economy, and put pressure on MPs to back
‘people’s vote’ using democratic tech tools.

The event is being held by Tech For UK (Twitter, Hashtag:#GBhackoff, Instagram,
Facebook) the tech industry body and anti-Brexit group Best For Britain.

There will be a £1,000 first prize for the best product produced by a team, and a £500 second prize for the second-placed team. Participants will also get exclusive merchandise like T-shirts. All products will need to be open source and may be progressed later with other vendors by Best For Britain.

Tech For UK says the ultimate goal will be to engage the tech community to help Best for Britain connect people in local communities to the information they need on Brexit and, in turn, connect them to their decision makers and MPs. Attendees to the Hackathon will also be able to work on their own projects and ideas related to Brexit.

Tech For UK says this will be the first event in a series, to be continued at other cities around the UK, not just in London.

Structured like a “Hackathon” it will be held at a central London venue, bringing together engineers, designers, storytellers, marketers, data scientists, designers, artists, journalists / PR / media people, analytics experts and social media influencers to work on these problems.

Participants will be selected from applications and given full instructions about the event.

There will be capacity for 100 people and the opportunity to stay over-night at the hackathon. Food and beverages will be provided. The event will be an ’18s and over’ event.

It’s official: Brexit campaign broke the law — with social media’s help

The UK’s Electoral Commission has published the results of a near nine-month-long investigation into Brexit referendum spending and has found that the official Vote Leave campaign broke the law by breaching election campaign spending limits.

Vote Leave broke the law including by channeling money to a Canadian data firm, AggregateIQ, to use for targeting political advertising on Facebook’s platform, via undeclared joint working with another Brexit campaign, BeLeave, it found.

Aggregate IQ remains the subject of a separate joint investigation by privacy watchdogs in Canada and British Columbia.

The Electoral Commission’s investigation found evidence that BeLeave spent more than £675,000 with AggregateIQ under a common arrangement with Vote Leave. Yet the two campaigns had failed to disclose on their referendum spending returns that they had a common plan.

As the designated lead leave campaign, Vote Leave had a £7M spending limit under UK law. But via its joint spending with BeLeave the Commission determined it actually spent £7,449,079 — exceeding the legal spending limit by almost half a million pounds.

The June 2016 referendum in the UK resulted in a narrow 52:48 majority for the UK to leave the European Union. Two years on from the vote, the government has yet to agree a coherent policy strategy to move forward in negotiations with the EU, leaving businesses to suck up ongoing uncertainty and society and citizens to remain riven and divided.

Meanwhile, Facebook — whose platform played a key role in distributing referendum messaging — booked revenue of around $40.7BN in 2017 alone, reporting a full year profit of almost $16BN.

Back in May, long-time leave supporter and MEP, Nigel Farage, told CEO Mark Zuckerberg to his face in the European Parliament that without “Facebook and other forms of social media there is no way that Brexit or Trump or the Italian elections could ever possibly have happened”.

The Electoral Commission’s investigation focused on funding and spending, and mainly concerned five payments made to Aggregate IQ in June 2016 — payments made for campaign services for the EU Referendum — by the three Brexit campaigns it investigated (the third being: Veterans for Britain).

Veterans for Britain’s spending return included a donation of £100,000 that was reported as a cash donation received and accepted on 20 May 2016. But the Commission found this was in fact a payment by Vote Leave to Aggregate IQ for services provided to Veterans for Britain in the final days of the EU Referendum campaign. The date was also incorrectly reported: It was actually paid by Vote Leave on 29 June 2016.

Despite the donation to a third Brexit campaign by the official Vote Leave campaign being for services provided by Aggregate IQ, which was also simultaneously providing services to Vote Leave, the Commission did not deem it to constitute joint working, writing: “[T]he evidence we have seen does not support the concern that the services were provided to Veterans for Britain as joint working with Vote Leave.”

It was, however, found to constitute an inaccurate donation report — another offense under the UK’s Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000.

The report details multiple issues with spending returns across the three campaigns. And the Commission has issued a series of fines to the three Brexit campaigns.

It has also referred two individuals — Vote Leave’s David Alan Halsall and BeLeave’s Darren Grimes — to the UK’s Metropolitan Police Service, which has the power to instigate a criminal investigation.

Early last year the Commission decided not to fully investigate Vote Leave’s spending but by October it says new information had emerged — which suggested “a pattern of action by Vote Leave” — so it revisited the assessment and reopened an investigation in November.

Its report also makes it clear that Vote Leave failed to co-operate with its investigation — including by failing to produce requested information and documents; by failing to provide representatives for interview; by ignoring deadlines to respond to formal investigation notices; and by objecting to the fact of the investigation, including suggesting it would judicially review the opening of the investigation.

Judging by the Commission’s account, Vote Leave seemingly did everything it could to try to thwart and delay the investigation — which is only reporting now, two years on from the Brexit vote and with mere months of negotiating time left before the end of the formal Article 50 exit notification process.

What’s crystal clear from this report is that following money and data trails takes time and painstaking investigation, which — given that, y’know, democracy is at stake — heavily bolsters the case for far more stringent regulations and transparency mechanisms to prevent powerful social media platforms from quietly absorbing politically motivated money and messaging without recognizing any responsibility to disclose the transactions, let alone carry out due diligence on who or what may be funding the political spending.

The political ad transparency measures that Facebook has announced so far come far too late for Brexit — or indeed, for the 2016 US presidential election when its platform carried and amplifiedKremlin funded divisive messaging which reached the eyeballs of hundreds of millions of US voters.

Last week the UK’s information commissioner, Elizabeth Denham, criticized Facebook for transparency and control failures relating to political ads on its platform, and also announced its intention to fine Facebook the maximum possible for breaches of UK data protection law relating to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, after it emerged that information on as many as 87 million Facebook users was extracted from its platform and passed to a controversial UK political consultancy without most people’s knowledge or consent.

She also published a series of policy recommendations around digital political campaigning — calling for an ethical pause on the use of personal data for political ad targeting, and warning that a troubling lack of transparency about how people’s data is being used risks undermining public trust in democracy

“Without a high level of transparency – and therefore trust amongst citizens that their data is being used appropriately – we are at risk of developing a system of voter surveillance by default,” she warned.

The Cambridge Analytica Facebook scandal is linked to the Brexit referendum via AggregateIQ — which was also a contractor for Cambridge Analytica, and also handled Facebook user information which the former company had improperly obtained, after paying a Cambridge University academic to use a quiz app to harvest people’s data and use it to create psychometric profiles for ad targeting.

The Electoral Commission says it was approached by Facebook during the Brexit campaign spending investigation with “some information about how Aggregate IQ used its services during the EU Referendum campaign”.

We’ve reached out to Facebook for comment on the report and will update this story with any response.

The Commission states that evidence from Facebook indicates that AggregateIQ used “identical target lists for Vote Leave and BeLeave ads”, although at least in one instance the BeLeave ads “were not run”.

It writes:

BeLeave’s ability to procure services from Aggregate IQ only resulted from the actions of Vote Leave, in providing those donations and arranging a separate donor for BeLeave. While BeLeave may have contributed its own design style and input, the services provided by Aggregate IQ to BeLeave used Vote Leave messaging, at the behest of BeLeave’s campaign director. It also appears to have had the benefit of Vote Leave data and/or data it obtained via online resources set up and provided to it by Vote Leave to target and distribute its campaign material. This is shown by evidence from Facebook that Aggregate IQ used identical target lists for Vote Leave and BeLeave ads, although the BeLeave ads were not run.

“We also asked for copies of the adverts Aggregate IQ placed for BeLeave, and for details of the reports he received from Aggregate IQ on their use. Mr Grimes replied to our questions,” it further notes in the report.

At the height of the referendum campaign — at a crucial moment when Vote Leave had reached its official spending limit — officials from the official leave campaign persuaded BeLeave’s only other donor, an individual called Anthony Clake, to allow it to funnel a donation from him directly to Aggregate IQ, who Vote Leave campaign director Dominic Cummins dubbed a bunch of “social media ninjas”.

The Commission writes:

On 11 June 2016 Mr Cummings wrote to Mr Clake saying that Vote Leave had all the money it could spend, and suggesting the following: “However, there is another organisation that could spend your money. Would you be willing to spend the 100k to some social media ninjas who could usefully spend it on behalf of this organisation? I am very confident it would be well spent in the final crucial 5 days. Obviously it would be entirely legal. (sic)”

Mr Clake asked about this organisation. Mr Cummings replied as follows: “the social media ninjas are based in canada – they are extremely good. You would send your money directly to them. the organisation that would legally register the donation is a permitted participant called BeLeave, a “young people’s organisation”. happy to talk it through on the phone though in principle nothing is required from you but to wire money to a bank account if you’re happy to take my word for it. (sic)

Mr Clake then emailed Mr Grimes to offer a donation to BeLeave. He specified that this donation would made “via the AIQ account.”

And while the Commission says it found evidence that Grimes and others from BeLeave had “significant input into the look and design of the BeLeave adverts produced by Aggregate IQ”, it also determined that Vote Leave messaging was “influential in their strategy and design” — hence its determination of a common plan between the two campaigns. Aggregate IQ was the vehicle used by Vote Leave to breech its campaign spending cap.

Providing examples of the collaboration it found between the two campaigns, the Commission quotes internal BeLeave correspondence — including an instruction from Grimes to: “Copy and paste lines from Vote Leave’s briefing room in a BeLeave voice”.

It writes:

On 15 June 2016 Mr Grimes told other BeLeave Board members and Aggregate IQ that BeLeave’s ads needed to be: “an effective way of pushing our more liberal and progressive message to an audience which is perhaps not as receptive to Vote Leave’s messaging.”

On 17 June 2016 Mr Grimes told other BeLeave Board members: “So as soon as we can go live. Advertising should be back on tomorrow and normal operating as of Sunday. I’d like to make sure we have loads of scheduled tweets and Facebook status. Post all of those blogs including Shahmirs [aka Shahmir Sami; who became a BeLeave whistleblower], use favstar to check out and repost our best performing tweets. Copy and paste lines from Vote Leave’s briefing room in a BeLeave voice”

Pointy raises $12M Series B to help bricks and mortar retailers fight Amazon

Pointy​,​ the​ ​startup​ ​that​ offers tech to help ​bricks and mortar​ ​retailers put their stock online so that it can be discovered via search engines, has picked up $12 million in new funding. The Series B round is led Polaris Partners and Vulcan Capital, and brings total funding for the Irish company to $19 million.

Founded on the premise that people often resort to e-commerce behemoths like Amazon because they can’t find the same item locally, Pointy has developed a hardware and cloud software solution that makes it easy to create a bespoke website as means of making local stock discoverable online. Specifically, the ​”Pointy​ ​box”​ hardware ​gadget connects to a store’s barcode scanner and automatically puts scanned items on a Pointy-powered website for the store.

Store pages are then optimised for search engines, so that when you search for products locally — say your favourite artisan beer — a Pointy-powered result shows up and encourages you to visit the store and make a purchase. In other words, this is about helping local retailers drive more footfall, but with very little additional overhead.

Pointy CEO and co-founder Mark Cummins says the Series B round will be used by the startup to accelerate growth and build on an increased uptake by U.S. retailers. It currently counts 5,500 retailers using Pointy in total, with 70 percent from the U.S, and the remaining in Canada, U.K. and Ireland. “To put the U.S. number in context, just under 1 in 200 U.S retailers is now using Pointy,” a company spokesperson tells me.

Since we last covered Pointy, the started has extended its reach considerably with partnerships with Lightspeed, Clover and Square, which allows retailers using these POS systems to use the Pointy platform for free because it doesn’t require the purchase of the $499 Pointy device. It has also partnered with Google via the search giant’s new See What’s In Store (SWIS) program so that shoppers can discover what a store sells within Google’s search and maps pages.

“For all the hype around e-commerce and the media narrative of ‘Retail Apocalypse’, people still make the vast majority of their purchases in local stores,” adds Cummins in a statement. “But local retailers have lost out in not having their products visible online – we solve that problem for them”.

Meanwhile, Point’s previous backers include Draper Associates, Frontline Ventures, and notable angel investors such as Matt Mullenweg (founder of WordPress), Lars Rasmussen (co-founder of Google Maps), Taavet Hinrikus (co-founder of TransferWise), and Michael Birch (co-founder of Bebo).