Google acquires Pointy to help SMBs list product inventory online

Pointy founders Mark Cummins and Charles Bibby

Google buys Irish tech firm Pointy for undisclosed sum

The aim: these listings could potentially result in shoppers buying those products from the retailer in question, ideally getting them to come into the store, where they would buy even more. 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.

This is Mark Cummins second successful acquisition to Google.

The start-up has raised more than $18m in total since it was founded, including from other firms such as Polaris Partners and Vulcan Ventures.

A series of angel investors, including Wordpress co-founder Matt Mullenweg and former Irish rugby player Jamie Heaslip, also invested in the company.

Pointy had also managed to pick up quite a lot of traction as a small startup, working with around 10% of all physical retailers in the United States in certain categories (pets and toys were two of those, I was told).

"Today, we're excited to share that we've entered into an agreement to acquire Pointy, a company based in Dublin, Ireland that has helped thousands of local retailers bring their product inventory online".

In 2011, Mr Cummins sold a separate startup, Plink, to Google.

"Post acquisition, Google will continue rolling out the Pointy technology, to further enhance the local consumer experience - and empower local retailers to be more efficient, and more profitable", he added. Pointy had previously partnered with Google in its own e-commerce efforts, allowing users to check local stores for stock availability.

"It became clear that we shared the same vision of how technology can improve local retail businesses". Many incredibly talented people have joined our team, we've received the backing of an wonderful group of investors, and formed some fantastic partnerships. "It seemed insane to us that people had to wait two days for Amazon to deliver a product that could be 100 yards away in a local store". "The deal is subject to customary closing conditions, and is expected to close in the coming weeks", he said.

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.

At that time, Pointy's primary product was a piece of hardware that plugged a company's point of sale/barcode scanning units, so that every time a retailer scanned its products at the point of sale, it would upload the products online (including quantities of those items), and then keep stock numbers up to date with every subsequent purchase that was made and scanned in. 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. "We think this is the right way to accomplish what we set out to do - to bring the world's retailers online and give them the tools they need to thrive", it added.

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