Irish tech start up Pointy has secured $6 million in funding from a number of investors that include Irish rugby star Jamie Heaslip.
The company, which manufactures hardware that puts retailers’ contents online, is run by Mark Cummins and Charles Bibby.
The funding was led by Frontline Ventures alongside Vulcan Capital, Draper Associates and a number of angel investors. The Dublin-based company previously raised a $1.2m seed round in 2015.
Pointy provides local shops with an automatic way to list all of their products online. Their “Pointy box” device connects to a shop’s barcode scanner and automatically puts scanned items on a website for the shop.
The pages are optimised for search engines, so that when local customers search for products, they find results from local shops.
The company has users across 48 US states, as well as every county in the Republic and across the UK.
Mark Cummins, the chief executive, said the firm was capitalising on the shift from bricks and mortar shopping to online retail.
“With consumer behaviour changing rapidly, local retailers are under intense pressure to keep up with technical change,” he said. “For a typical local shop, that can be an enormous challenge.
“For many local retailers, keeping up with technology can feel like too much. They have full time jobs to do already. They don’t have the time or expertise to create digital stores as well.”
Will Prendergast, lead investor and partner at Frontline Ventures, said Pointy was the “first big innovation” for local retailers in years.
“There is a clear consumer desire to search products available in local stores but today it’s not possible,” he said. “Pointy have created a zero friction way of capturing that information which benefits both the store owners and consumers.
“It’s amazing to see the demand being unlocked: one toy store owner got hundreds of phone calls for a rare Lego set after joining Pointy, and an off-licence had customers driving from miles around for an unusual craft beer.
“I believe Pointy will lead to new consumer purchasing behaviour in the coming years. Mark and Charles have built an incredible team and ground-breaking technology, we’re excited to be backing them.”