Japan’s Asics announced it has taken a stake in UK start-up Aura Vision, as the sportswear invests in data analytics and innovative retail.
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The investment was made through Asics’ Ventures Corporation, a subsidiary established by the sneaker firm in 2016 to support the growth of start-ups and benefit from new technologies.
Launching in 2017, Aura Vision is a provider of in-store analytics for offline retailers. Using a retailer’s existing security cameras, Aura Vision’s technology detects and track in-store traffic and segment footfall based on age, gender, and other demographic factors, without relying on any facial recognition whatsoever, making it compliant with GDPR regulations.
With the stake purchase, Asics said it has plans to potentially rollout Aura Vision’s system within its own stores.
“The solution is also able to differentiate staff members, so retailers can leverage this information to understand where staff and customers spend their time while in-store, and uncover opportunities for operational improvements,” added Asics, in a press
Aura Vision was Co-Founded by Daniel Martinho-Corbishley, who also serves as the UK company’s CEO.
Since its short debut, Aura Vision has already gained positive tech industry attention, being coined “Google Analytics for physical retail stores.”
In 2019, the start-up participated in Y Combinator’s winter program, one of America’s best-ranked seed accelerators.
For its most recent earnings update, Asics reported lower sales and profits in the first quarter of the year as issues in some key Asian markets and heavy marketing spend hit it hard.
In particular, its sales fell over 26% in Greater China “due mainly to a temporary impact associated with the switch to direct sales of some part of distributor sales” in the country.
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The Southeast and South Asian regions saw sales rising 1.6%, due to Onitsuka Tiger.