Black-owned smart-vending startup leverages facial detection amidst COVID-19



PopCom, a leading automated retail technology company specializing in smart vending and kiosk solutions, has announced its second equity crowd funding campaign on Start Engine. The company aims to grow its operations, build its sales team, reach more customers, and meet the demand for more automated retail machines in the wake of COVID-19, with their proprietary vending machine, the PopShop Kiosk.


“Although the timing is sensitive due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we must continue to look towards the future and build products for our customers,” said Dawn Dickson, PopCom founder and CEO. “While some industries are hurting, the requirement for social distancing validates the need for vending and retail automation.


“We believe that the market will continue to move towards self-service and contactless retail. Vending machines and convenience services are becoming more essential, and retailers are looking for more ways to deliver their products direct to customer with less human friction. We are excited about what is to come.”


With the intention to service the entire regulated retail market, PopCom has secured technology pilots and rollouts starting with cannabis and alcohol in 2020. It is the company’s intent to eventually power all machine-driven transactions in the retail space with their operating system that integrates facial detection to understand the customer demographic profile including age, gender and emotion.


The COVID-19 pandemic has made it more apparent that this could be a valuable asset to communities around the world, mitigating the need for human contact in emergency situations. Consumers would be able to access essential items around the clock, preventing lines and crowding.


With more than 2,200 investors, Dickson raised an historic $1.07 million crowd funding campaign in 2019, becoming the first female founder in global history to raise over $1 million in a Regulation CF secure token offering. This type of fundraising instrument allows companies to secure investment from the general public, both accredited and non-accredited investors, which is outside of the traditional fundraising route that most technology start-ups take.


“It was important to me to be able to raise capital this way to build and encourage intergenerational wealth in often overlooked communities,” Dickson said. “I aim to bridge the gap between venture capital and everyday people.”


Using new security rules passed in 2016, equity crowd funding platforms like Start Engine level the playing field for underrepresented startups, and for micro angel investors to invest alongside venture capitalists. These platforms allow everyday people to get in early stage tech deals with high growth companies, and offer them the opportunity to reap the rewards as they scale and increase in value.


“The global community is calling for self-service retail to become more easily accessible, considering the shifts in our climate and technological advancements,” said Dickson. “With investment becoming more inclusive and open to forward-thinkers, my family, friends, community and supporters, I believe we will reach the next milestones to success.”


Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.