SOUTH AFRICA – Consumption Information Real Time (CIRT) has secured R7.2 million (US$500,000) as its first official equity funding stage from E Squared Investments.
The internet of things (IOT) and data insights start-up is raising R25 million (US$1.7 million) in seed funding, of which R7.2 million is the first committed amount, and the balance is being assessed by international venture capital firms.
The funding, CIRT says, will be used to strengthen its business development activities, including pilots, and bolster its application development team.
The three-year-old company has, in recent months, garnered attention for its autonomous checkout solution, Q-Hop.
Q-Hop is a contactless, cashless payment solution that provides hyper-personalised promotions and uses a variety of payment platforms, including PayPal, BitCoin, Masterpass, Zapper, SnapScan and mobile wallets.
“For a technology start-up like ours, funding is critical in helping us to keep our product at the cutting-edge and to get to market quickly,” said Ajay Lalu, CEO, CIRT and Q-Hop.
“The fact that we are attracting attention from international venture capitalists is very encouraging for us and for other technology start-ups across the African continent.
“Our Q-Hop solution is gaining converts all over the world because it helps retailers converge the physical and virtual environments to deliver a better consumer experience in both, while driving significant efficiencies and profits in the business itself.
“We are kicking off two pilot projects in the coming weeks, one at the District 6 Spar and one in Saudi Arabia – such projects are very important in demonstrating the business case for Q-Hop in the market.”
For Malik Fal, CEO of E Squared, the CIRT business case presents a viable opportunity. He says his team has been monitoring CIRT’s progress for the past 18 months.
“We have been impressed by the traction CIRT and Q-Hop managed to gain in the local and international markets, and believe it has the potential to be the next African unicorn.
“The team assembled by Q-Hop includes US tech heavyweights from companies like Apple, eBay, Kroger and Meta, which clearly demonstrates their belief in the Q-Hop solution.”
In the past few months, CIRT has been making inroads globally, as its expansion drive took off.
The start-up recently appointed two US tech industry heavyweights to its advisory board, including Rick Orloff, personal data security officer of the late Steve Jobs.
CIRT also launched solutions such as Fridgeloc, Vaccloc and the Temploc cold supply chain monitor solution, which have been recognised globally.
Also, it teamed up with Microsoft in the US to drive these IOT solutions globally to help accelerate digital transformation.
CIRT integrated its solutions with Azure IOT central and Microsoft Power BI services, signing a multi-year global strategic alliance agreement with Microsoft.