Black Business

Black-Owned Smart-Vending Startup, Popcom, Raises Capital to Solve Retail Woes Amidst COVID-19

• PopCom is an automated retail company that leverages facial detection, machine learning, and blockchain technology to help retailers collect valuable customer insights.

• In the age of COVID-19, PopCom validates the need for vending and retail automation.

• PopCom has the technology to securely verify customer identity to sell regulated products including cannabis and alcohol in vending machines

PopCom, a leading automated retail technology company specializing in smart vending and kiosk solutions, has announced its second equity crowdfunding 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 its 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 & 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 the customer with less human friction. We are excited about what is to come.”

 To service the entire regulated retail market, PopCom has secured technology pilots and rollouts, starting with cannabis and alcohol in 2020. The company intends to eventually power all machine-driven transactions in the retail space with its 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 emergencies. Consumers would be able to access essential items around the clock, preventing lines and crowding. 


 With more than 2,200 investors, Dickson raised a historic $1.07 million crowdfunding campaign in 2019, becoming the first female founder in global history to raise over $1 million in a Regulation CF secure token offering (STO). 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 is 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 crowdfunding platforms like Start Engine level the playing field for underrepresented start-ups, 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.”

Invest in PopCom Today 

The company’s equity crowdfunding campaign launched March 31st and is open to the public until they raise the maximum amount allowable. Anyone can become an investor in PopCom and take part in the future of retail. 

About PopCom

 PopCom is an automated retail technology company specializing in software for vending machines and kiosks. The company is venture-backed and an alumnus of TechStars and Canopy Boulder. Other investors include Backstage Capital, NCT Capital, and Black Star Angel Fund. 

 Currently based in Columbus, Ohio, PopCom was founded as a software company in 2017 and is revolutionizing brick-and-mortar retail with frictionless, machine-driven transactions–changing the way consumers and businesses interact in self-service retail environments.


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