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  • Payment
  • Players’ Strategy
  • United States

BBVA Further Looks into Invisible Payments


  • BBVA’s VC firm Propel Venture Partners led a funding round whereby the US start-up Grabango raised $12 million. More direct competition for Amazon Go.
  • This financing round also involved prior investors: Ridge Ventures, Abstract Ventures, Commerce Ventures and Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund.
  • Grabango was founded in 2016 and crafted a sale concept reminiscent of Amazon’s cashierless store. They claim they can accurately process millions of simultaneous transactions.
  • How it works: Their solution relies on image recognition and Machine Learning techs. It automatically detects if items are taken from or put back on the shelves and adds/removes them from a virtual cart. Once the customer’s shopping completed, he can just walk out. The payment step is automatically conducted through the app, their receipt is sent via e-mail. They can also choose to pay for their purchases using regular POS checkout services.


  • 37 employees
  • 17 patents filed
  • $18 M raised
  • 4 partnerships with retail players serving more than 600 M visitors and covering roughly 3 million


  • This investment will contribute to expanding their product development team and their reach, with help from new partners.
  • Grabango mostly aims for large-scale conventional brick-and-mortar retail groups, enabling them to streamline customer experience and save a significant amount of time (compared to when they rely on typical POS checkout services).
  • Grabango also claims they can equip stores with substantial floor space: still a challenging issue for Amazon’s Just Walk out technology, despite their focus on implement their automation concept in mid-size locations.


  • BBVA has long been working on various invisible checkout concepts. In March 2018, the Spanish group introduced a payment prototype allowing customers to pay for their purchases without having to wait in line, pull out their card or even their mobile phone. Though this new investment, BBVA again highlights their interest in invisible payment.
  • Other institutions in Spain also started paying attention to this sector. A few days ago, Banco Sabadell announced they were testing an “invisible” face recognition-based payment prototype. This said, BBVA does still lead the way.

(Photo Credits: Grabango)