Google acquires Pointy to help SMBs list product inventory online

Pointy makes software that enables small retailers to put their stock online- without the need for a full e-commerce system

Pointy makes software that enables small retailers to put their stock online- without the need for a full e-commerce system

To use the Pointy platform, retailers can either plug a piece of hardware into their barcode scanner or install the Pointy app on their point-of-sale system.

It is the fourth Irish startup that Google has acquired, having bought TCD campus companies Thrive in 2015 and Green Parrot Pictures in 2011. Now, Google has announced upcoming changes that will enable users to browse and compare clothes from multiple retailers with a single Google search.

The US tech news service TechCrunch reported that the acquisition would be completed for €147m, citing "a source close to the deal".

Pointy is headquartered in Dublin, and allows people to check what their local shops now have in stock. 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.

Pointy's software tracks what a retailer is selling and can take a good guess as to when it's out of stock on a certain item. Thanks to a 2018 partnership with Pointy, Google has been showing product listings generated by the startup's platform inside the so-called Knowledge Panels that show up in search results when a user looks up a business.

"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".

"One of the challenges small merchants face is getting their in-store inventory information online in a way that is easy to manage and reliably up to date".

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At that time, the main investor was Mr Ruane's Polaris Partners, with Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen also investing through his Vulcan Capital firm.

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

This is the second startup sold to Google by Pointy CEO and serial entrepreneur Mark Cummins.

For example, you could search for things like "running shoes" or "women's leather belt" or "wide-leg trousers", Google explains, then be presented with a selection of items in a new, visual guide.

Cummins came up with Pointy while still working at Google post-acquisition, and quit the firm to set up the startup with cofounder Charles Bibby.

Google swooped when it saw that Pointy was starting to gain traction with U.S. retailers. "It is a great pleasure to work on something that helps local businesses in towns and cities everywhere".

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