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  • Distribution Channel – Branches
  • Payment
  • Portugal

Sensei wants to democratize the cashless store


  • Cashless store model is growing in response to an increasing demand from the retailers. But for the moment, a unique model has not emerged among the different technologies used.
  • Sensei, a Portuguese start-up, is tries to differentiate from Amazon Go by targeting local retailers better than supermarkets.
  • Sensei has just raised 5.4 million euros. Several investors have been mobilized, including Seaya Ventures and Iberis Capital.
  • Sensei's main target: retailers specialized in take-away sales, gas stations and other local grocery stores.
  • Technologies used: AI, image recognition, connected sensors and a network of cameras installed in the outlets.
  • Customer journey:
    • The customer places items in their shopping cart.
    • Sensei cameras recognize these items, identify when the customer picks them up or puts them down and digitize the contents of the basket in a mobile application or in the retailer's checkout system.
    • Upon checkout, the customer is billed and finds their payment receipt on the Sensei application.


  • Boosting its R&D: To face Amazon Go, Sensei relies on its own ability to innovate from a technological point of view. That's why the startup plans to put most of its new funding into its R&D efforts to perfect its technologies. Another part will be used to finance the first pilots. Two stores have just opened in London; and Sensei will soon open a store in Europe (without revealing the location or the brand).
  • Stand-alone stores for everyone? Sensei believes that this new store format will become the norm within 5 years and that it is therefore a question of survival for commerce to tackle the problem of queuing. The start-up highlights the automation of the point of sale management which will allow retailers to have a real time vision of their stocks and value-added data on the behavior of the buyers.


  • According to a McKinsey report, "stores of the future" and self-payment technologies will allow merchants to achieve margins twice as high as today, hence the promise of profitability that Sensei is highlighting.
  • Since the pioneer Amazon Go presented its model, many start-ups and retailers have entered the race to deploy this type of technology, including AiFi, Caper, and Zippin).
  • Despite this proliferation of solutions, outside of Amazon Go in London, Sensei is the first technology provider to open stores of this type in Europe.