Montréal-based mobile checkout startup Leav has raised $2.3 million CAD in seed funding for its scan-as-you-go checkout platform.
The round was led by Exo10.vc, a venture capital fund by Nicolas Bouchard, and featured participation from Next Canada, Dispatch Ventures, angel investors, as well as the company’s advisors, whose names were not disclosed. Leav last raised $150,000 from a friends and family round in 2020.
In 2024, Leav plans to deploy its solution to over 100 stores in Canada, improve its platform, and explore expansion into the United States.
The startup has raised $2.45 million to date, not including grants and other non-dilutive sources, Leav co-founder and CEO Olivier Roy told BetaKit.
Roy said the investors had already brought both product ideas and leads, who became customers, to the company before the round closed.
“They are not your average VC; they actively participate in the day-to-day operations of the company, contributing to sales, product development, system architecture, and strategy,” Roy said. “As young founders learning on the job, we welcome their help and enthusiasm with open arms.”
Leav was co-founded by high school friends Roy, COO Charles-Étienne Simard, and financial manager Kaloi Tomov in 2019 as a mobile payment option for restaurants. In “the worst timing ever,” the founders quit their day jobs one month before COVID-19 pandemic precautions closed down the startup’s target market, forcing a pivot.
Inspired by the cashierless experience of Amazon Go, but wary of its ability to scale, Leav created its current cloud-based platform, which allows retailers to minimize in-store checkout processes. The platform allows retail customers to scan item barcodes using their mobile devices as they shop, letting customers skip the checkout lineup entirely.
Leav is currently developing assisted checkout and an Amazon Go-like unmanned store offering as well. Roy said these offerings are currently available in pre-release for select customers and are currently being tested and improved upon.
As opposed to Europe, where there are similar offerings, Roy claimed Leav doesn’t have much competition in Canada. He added that while the startup is encroaching on Amazon Go’s “territory” with the development of its unmanned store offering, he sees Leav’s target market closer to apparel and “main street” retailers, rather than grocery and convenience stores.
In 2024, Leav plans to deploy its solution to over 100 stores in Canada, improve its platform, and explore expansion into the United States, Roy said.
Bouchard described Leav as “one of those companies that you rarely see,” and said he believes the team has what it takes to compete in the rapidly growing self-checkout industry.
UPDATE (12/12/23): An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Nicolas Bouchard of Exo10 co-founded Panache Ventures. That was a different Nicolas Bouchard. BetaKit regrets the error.
Feature image courtesy Leav.