2020.2.3 プレスリリース

[Press Release] AWL, Inc., a Leading AI Camera Solutions Provider for Retailers, Raises Total JPY 810 Million in the Series A Round


[Press Release] AWL, Inc., a Leading AI Camera Solutions Provider for Retailers, Raises Total JPY 810 Million in the Series A Round

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Press Release

AWL, Inc., a Leading AI Camera Solutions Provider for Retailers, Raises Total JPY 810 Million in the Series A Round
-Accelerate service expansion through collaboration with Asukanet Co., Ltd., Kyodo News Digital Co., Ltd., CyberAgent, Inc., TOPPAN PRINTING CO., LTD., and TWO Inc.-

Tokyo, Japan – February 3, 2020 – AWL, Inc. (“AWL”), a leading AI camera solutions provider for retailers, headquartered in Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan, has announced that a JPY 810 million Series A round funding.

AWL issued new shares through a third-party allotment to Asukanet Co., Ltd., Kyodo News Digital Co., Ltd., CyberAgent, Inc., TOPPAN PRINTING CO., LTD., Mizuho Capital Co., Ltd., Mitsubishi UFJ Capital Co., Ltd., and Yoshikazu Azuma, a private investor and President of Two Inc., raising total JPY 460 million.
Also, AWL entered into total JPY 350 million of overdraft facility agreement with Mizuho Bank, Ltd., Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation., MUFG Bank, Ltd. and others, along with lease agreement with Sumitomo Mitsui Finance and Leasing Co., Ltd aiming to establish solid financial ground for prompt business expansion in the future.

[Purpose of Raising Funds]
By utilizing existing security cameras, AWL has been working on digitalization of retail stores, developing affordable and advanced AI camera solutions to realize the shift to AI, and conducting demonstration experiments.
AWL BOX”, the AI edge device with multiple patents and “AWL Lite”, the application which easily enables Smartphone, tablet and signage to use AI features will be officially released in the middle of February 2020. In addition to grocery stores, convenience stores, drug stores, restaurants and apparel stores, AWL will support accommodation facilities, factories, transportations, ceremonial halls promoting workload reduction, manpower-saving / unmanned operation, more sophisticated marketing, and added-value improvement through AI analysis, visualization, and automation.

This round of funding helps AWL to strengthen solid financial ground to expand services in a speedy manner, and AWL will promote installation to entire branches of over 20 clients already in the trial phase, and strongly support them to generate the better outcome.

Leading the Future of RETAIL

[Advantages of AWL Services]
AWL’s AI Camera Solutions is characterized by the image processing terminal (edge AI), called “AWL BOX”. By processing the image taken by the camera installed on the ceiling, etc. and the “AWL BOX”, clients would be able to analyze how employees are working and reduce workload in the store along with analyzing customer characteristics, dwell time, customer interactions with products.
The videos recorded in the store will never be uploaded to the Cloud; only the anonymized data will be sent to the Cloud, which enables clients to create new marketing strategy such as improving store operation, product planning / customer analysis, etc.
In addition, “AWL BOX” is compatible with almost all existing IP cameras (7,042 kinds as of end of January 2020), which means that our clients don’t need to newly purchase cameras. It makes installation costs more competitive, approximately less than one-tenth compared with similar services, and it is affordable enough to encourages chain stores to consider introduction of our services to several hundreds / thousands of entire branches.
Furthermore, through this collaboration with these companies, AWL will enter full-scale rollout to the clients other than retailers such as accommodation facilities, transportation companies, factories, construction sites, etc. by visualization in real space using AI analysis.
Engineers and researchers from 16 countries specialized in image processing, machine learning (deep learning, etc.), and SaaS business are engaged in AWL’s solution development activities.
Utilizing the funds, AWL plans to promote technical development for further enhancement / improvement of “AWL BOX” system. Also, AWL plan to promote system establishment / equipment purchase in order to respond to rapid increase of store introduction, and development of high-value added services for the next generation.

[Business Tie-up with Underwriting companies]
 AWL will conclude business / capital tie-ups with underwriting companies aiming to consider and promote collaboration on following services.

■Asukanet Co., Ltd.
AWL’s services for ceremonial occasions, video production
[Comment from Kenya Kono, CFO of Asukanet Co., Ltd.]
Asukanet Co., Ltd. (“Askanet”) has entrusted project development to AWL, and we highly appreciate the technological capabilities and sincere response. By utilizing existing cameras, we can significantly save on installation cost of AI cameras, developed by experts of image processing and machine learning. Also, it is attractive that we can digitalize and analyze the data of the activities of our clients / employees. We are excited to see a great potential in expansion to industries other than retail stores including our clients.

■Kyodo News Digital Co., Ltd.
AWL’s service for disaster sites
[Comment from Shinichi Ijichi, President and COO of Kyodo News Digital Co., Ltd.]
Kyodo News Digital proudly provides contents and data, valuable for citizens and corporate activities. by utilizing AWL AI camera solutions, we expect to develop new value-creating data.
With this investment opportunity, we intend to provide AI camera solutions for disaster prevention by sharing know-how with one another.

■CyberAgent, Inc.,
AWL’s service for OMO platform business
[Comment from Kazushi Fujita, Director of Retail Tech Division, AI Tech Department, CyberAgent,
Recently, attracting and leading customer to the actual stores by SNS, in-store sales promotion through AI cameras and signage, etc., streamlining of store operation by digitalization are drawing a high attention in retail business.
We hope to promote product development and sales of more practical and effective OMO platform through demonstration experiments with AWL and SAPPORO DRUG STORE.

AWL’s service for automatic sales promotion platform
[Comment from Umekawa Kenji, Director of Communication Design Department, TOPPAN PRINTING CO., LTD.]
TOPPAN has been working with AWL since 2019 to develop storefront communication services. We invested in AWL in the aim of strengthening future promotion.
We hope to build a strong partnership to support the advance of each other through the cooperation on human resources and sales as well as the technical aspects.

■Yoshikazu Azuma, a private investor and President of Two Inc.
AWL’s service for Two Inc.’s next-generation retail store business
[Comment from Yoshikazu Azuma]
I am the President of TWO, Inc. and we have currently co-developing the cutting-edge retail technology centering on AWL’s camera solutions for our Food Division. Creating stores by leveraging technology is indispensable to improve customer experience (CX) for future retail business. Also, these experiences themselves directly connect to the corporate / brand value.
AWL’s camera solutions have the potential to be the core of various retail technology, such as marketing, inventory efficiency, security, signage, etc. As Japan's leading technology company, we expect AWL to go beyond boarders in retail tech business, which is gaining global momentum.

<AWL Overview>
AWL develops and offers AI camera solutions for numerous problems in retail business and realizes added-value enhancement.
Through business alliance with SATUDORA HOLDINGS CO.,LTD., AWL has been conducting Proof-of-concept in the actual SATUDORA stores, and developing various AI features for store operations in a competitive price.

[Corporate Profile]
■AWL Inc.

President: Muneharu Kitade
Head Office: Tokumiya Bldg. 6F, 1-12-4 Kudan-kita, Chiyoda-ku,
Tokyo 102-0073 Japan
Founded: June, 2016
Industry: AI camera solutions

■Media contact

Sato / AWL Inc.
TEL: +81-3-6380-8669