Google buys Irish retail tech firm Pointy for undisclosed sum

Google has acquired Irish retail tech company Pointy in a multimillion euro deal.

Founded in 2014 by Mark Cummins and Charles Bibby, Pointy gives small retailers a way to make their stock visible online without having to invest in a full ecommerce system. The app directs shoppers to where particular items are available locally, rather than pushing them towards ecommerce giants such as Amazon.

Pointy is expected to continue to operate from its own Dublin offices and develop its product platform.

The deal is set to close in the coming weeks. Although no value was put on the takeover, Pointy has previously raised $19.2 million (€17.3 million) from investors, including a Series B round in 2018 that yielded $12 million.

Retailers connect the “Pointy box” to the shop’s barcode scanner and then use their scanner as normal. The device is pre-paired with Pointy’s website. Once the retailer starts using the scanner, the system uses algorithms and machine learning to estimate stock levels.

The company has previously partnered with Google, including on a “see what’s in store” feature to help thousands of local merchants display the data within Google. Other partnerships include point of sale firms Lightspeed, Clover and Square.

The company’s investors include Frontline Ventures, Polaris Capital, Draper Associates, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg, co-founder of Google Maps Lars Rasmussen, Transferwise co-founder Taavet Hinrikus and Bebo cofounder Michael Birch. Former Irish rugby player Jamie Heaslip also backed the company.

“Pointy’s vision is to make the world’s offline products searchable for consumers – and empower merchants to become ’smart retailers’,” Frontline Ventures partner Will Prendergast said. “Post-acquisition, Google will continue rolling out the Pointy technology to further enhance the local consumer experience – and empower local retailers to be more efficient, and more profitable.”