Cooler Screens, which uses interactive digital displays to replace glass doors in store cold storage lanes, announced it had raised more than $80 million in round C financing,media TechCrunch reported. The start-up has raised more than $100m so far. The latest round of funding comes from Verizon Ventures, Microsoft’s M12 Ventures, GreatPoint Ventures and Silicon Valley Bank.
Cooler Screens is led by co-founder and CEO Arsen Avakian, formerly founder and CEO of Argo Tea. Before starting Argo, Avakian said, he worked for a number of technology companies, including i2 Technologies.
“I went from IT to tea and now I’m back in IT,” he says. He said. He also argues that the startup has learned from all his past experience — that while Cooler Screens is a technology company, it also needs to learn how to build a consumer brand.
The idea of replacing simple glass doors with electronic displays may seem unnecessary and even annoying, but Avakian says his first priority is to “win the hearts and minds of consumers.”
After all, people are used to doing as much research as possible before buying products online, but there is little such information in the physical shopping experience. Cooler Screens is changing that, Avakian said. “You can ask the screen, ‘Show me all the vegetarian products’ or ‘How many calories does this product have’?”
And it’s already available in some stores. After installing screens at 50 Walgreens stores in the Chicago area, where Cooler Screens is headquartered, the start-up announced plans to expand screens to 2,500 Walgreens stores across the United States. Other partners include Kroger and GetGo.
Avakian says he sells “complex digital merchandise sales and context advertising technology” to stores. He added: “We can digitize your store, and when we do, we’re willing to put our money in our mouths and let you know that consumers will like us.” The NPS rating will be the highest. If we prove it to you, we’d love to start bringing your store’s consumer-related CPG brand into the market, and now we’re the last mile of advertising. “
Unlike most forms of digital advertising, Cooler Screens does not collect any personal information about its visitors, Avakian said. Instead, its appeal to advertisers is that it provides them with a way to reach out to consumers, “in a safe environment where they have a shopping mindset”.
Since March, the number of brands running ads on the platform has grown from 40 to nearly 150, Avakian said. Pointing out that stores such as Walgreens and Kroger were essential to many shoppers during the New Crown pandemic, Avakian said: “It’s clear to everyone that brick-and-mortar retailing will stay.” It just needs to reinvent itself. “