Friday, March 28, 2014

WIB raises €750k in seed funding from Vertis Venture, ReedSeed Ventures and a pool of private investors

New investor for WIB, the startup Nino Lo Iacono which wants to revolutionize the retail store of the future. The startup raised €750,000 in seed funding from Vertis Venture one of three closed-end funds managed by Vertis SGR, an investment management company (IMCO) which manages three closed-end funds focused on acquiring holdings in SMEs located in Southern Italy and Lazio region, which co-invested with ReedSeed Ventures and a pool of private investors in  WIB, the Palermo (Sicily) based startup producing innovative vending machines "Warehouse in a Box" designed to integrate the automatic sale with web/mobile eCommerce. 

Having transferred 40% of its share to the new shareholders with a substantial weight and important rights, rather than to these kinds of aspects the company considers the investors as an opportunity to network and acquire new managerial skills.

The winner of the 2012 SeedLab edition and European finalist at the Intel Business Challenge (Dublin, 2013), raised a record equity crowdfunding round in 2013, when on the crowdfunding platform it raised €530,000 in just 48 hours by reaching a final raised amount of total €649,000. The total raised funds amount now €1.399,000.

"WIB represent an ideal investment target for RedSeed Ventures, since it applies a digital
innovation to a traditional industry, such that of vending machines, in which Italy is already a leading player at global level." Said Elisa Schembari, Partner and CEO of ReedSeed Ventures, interviewed by the Mattino di Sicilia.

"16 private investors (business angels) have decided to join together to help finance one of the most interesting and innovative startups of the last years. We are extremely confident that the absolute value of the project, the enthusiasm of Nino Lo Iacono and the push that we and the other two financial partners can provide, will contribute to make of WIB a great industrial reality which will be discussed in the very near future" said Alberto Zunino, on behalf of private investors.

The WIB project itself was born in 2011 and from the combination of engineering expertise and design. The company was founded in 2013 after having validated the effectiveness of the model, the interest of the market and on the eve of the commercial launch. Its CEO Nino Lo Iacono, is a mechatronic engineer graduated from the Polytechnic of Turin, with professional experience at the Fiat Research Center; the company was born in the ARCA incubator in Palermo thanks to the support of local entrepreneurs and has been accelerated in the SeedLab program which it won in 2012 and where, as a mentor, the WIB team has been joined by Marco Bicocchi Pichi as Marketing director, MBA and strategic consultant with many years of experience in leading ICT companies.

The field of automatic sales, especially in Italy, is populated by many machine manufacturers and operators that offer, however, always the usual limited products catalog made of snacks and beverage cans. WIB instead, considers automatic sales channel as very beneficial for the retailer and convenient for the customer. The basic idea was to think about a new technology that would enable all other retail segments of auto sales, surpassing the technological limitations of current solutions. Think about an self-shop-point where to find all kinds of products such as food, electronics, wines, cosmetics, drugs, etc. and all accessible via web and mobile.

WIB is a machine for the evolved automatic sale able to handle, thanks to a patented motion technology, an extensive catalog of products (food, cosmetics, wines, electronics, etc.), offering end customers with the convenience to purchase online through PC, tablet or smartphones, withdrawing then purchases throughout the day, once  the nearest WIB store has been reached.

A nice Youtube video explains how users can take advantage of the WIB mobile app on smartphones that enables them in the choice of what they want to buy, just as if they were flipping through a catalog. Then fill the digital basket. When they arrive in front of the window of the WIB store they can withdraw their purchase without the need for any human intervention on the part of others. It is an extreme simplicity which reveals a huge complexity in the design and mechatronics.

In the coming weeks, the company will open its first WIB store created for IperCoop Sicilia

In addition to enriching the WIB team taking on new technical figures, the company has already started the pre-production of a pre-series that will be used to pilot test along with IperCoop Sicilia and for marketing activities: in particular, it will take part to Venditalia 2014 the international vending exhibition (Milan, 21-24 May, 2014), toLinkontro Nielsen and has been selected for the COLLIDE event in Las Vegas (13, 14 May, 2014), one of the most important tech conference at the global level and a meeting point between startups and investors.