Google acquires Pointy, the Irish retail startup behind its local Shopping feature

Marco Green
January 14, 2020

This is Mark Cummins second successful acquisition to Google.

Pointy is headquartered in Dublin, and allows people to check what their local shops now have in stock.

The company was valued at more than $80m (£60.8m) following its most recent funding round in July 2018, and sold for a higher sum, according to a person with knowledge of the deal.

Pointy is six years old and had raised just under $20 million from a variety of investors including Frontline Ventures, Polaris, LocalGlobe and individuals like Lars Rasmussen (the former Google Maps supremo who went on to build search and enterprise products at Facebook). Its early investors included the founder of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg, the founder of Bebo, Michael Birch and the co-founder of Transferwise, Taavet Hinrikus. It makes a "Pointy Box" that connects to a shop's barcode scanner and automatically lists the shop's products online, optimising them for search engines.

Irish retail technology company Pointy is to be bought by Google for an undisclosed fee. The idea is that when people search for products, they find results from local stores instead of simply on Amazon or other giant online specialists.

Pointy has created a small, physical box that plugs into local retailers' barcode scanners, tracks what they sell, and then displays what they have to potential customers looking up the business online.

"We felt that it was insane that you could find basically almost any product online, but more often than not you wouldn't know what's in a store down the road from you", co-founder Charles Bibby told Yahoo Finance in 2018.

"By joining forces, we will be able to help people discover local stores and products on a much larger scale".

A spokeswoman for Google said: "Google has always been committed to helping small businesses grow and thrive in the online world".

"Google has always been committed to helping small businesses grow and thrive in the online world", said Google's Peter Chane on Tuesday, noting that displaying inventory information was one of the challenges faced by small merchants.

The two companies have worked together in the past, with Pointy acting as a critical partner in Google's expansion into local retail. "The deal is subject to customary closing conditions, and is expected to close in the coming weeks". Since organizing the world's information is core to what we do, we've been working to make it easier for local merchants to better showcase their products to interested shoppers on Google.

Retailers plug Pointy's device, which costs $899 in the USA, into their existing point-of-sale system. Exactly what Google intends to do with the company's technology is still unclear, but it seems likely that Google would want to continue any work that gives its users more choices when it comes to the products and retailers found in search listings.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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