Aifi – the technology business behind Aldi’s ‘just walk out’ store, Aldi Shop & Go – has secured $65m in a Series B funding round.

Many of Aifi’s retailer clients are among the investors, including Aldi South Group, German supermarket chain Rewe and Polish convenience brand Żabka Group.

The round, which brings Aifi’s total funding to $80m, will be used to expand the company’s technical team “to cater to the surging demand for Aifi’s solution” the company said.

“The pandemic heavily influenced consumer preferences, including the need for quicker, more seamless shopping experiences,” said Steve Gu, Aifi CEO and co-founder. “It’s become clear that shoppers are ready for autonomous retail and Aifi is here to deliver.

“With this latest round of funding, we’ll be able to scale our partnerships and launch customised stores in record time to bring us closer to our vision of using AI to simplify people’s busy lives,” he added.

In the UK, Aifi works with both Aldi and Morrisons on their checkout-free store concepts. Aldi in January became the first discounter to offer ‘just walk out’ shopping, with the opening of Aldi Shop & Go in Greenwich, London.

Morrisons in July revealed it was trialling an Amazon Go-style store, open only to staff but with a public launch then said to be imminent.

Unlike other ‘just walk out’ technology providers, Aifi uses only cameras to detect what customers have picked from shelves, and not the use of sensored shelves as well, as is Amazon’s approach and that of Tesco’s technology provider Trigo.

Elsewhere, Aifi has launched stores with Carrefour in France and Dubai, and worked with Compass Group to open Market x Flutter, Ireland’s first completely frictionless store.

Verizon Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures, HP Tech Ventures and Mithril Capital also participated in the funding round.

Aifi claims its advanced tracking algorithms can scale up to 10,000 sq ft and support various shopper journeys such as an app, credit card, and gated or hybrid entry.

“In working with Aifi over the past year, we experienced their deep expertise in artificial intelligence and computer vision-based product recognition first hand, as well as their commitment to meeting Aldi’s needs,” said an Aldi South Group spokeswoman. “This successful collaboration led to the opening of the world’s largest checkout-free store, based on camera vision only.”