Amazon quietly acquired Kochi cashierless retail startup Watasale
Kochi-based Watasale, which opened India's first cashierless retail store in 2018, was hailed as India's answer to Amazon Go's instant checkout stores in the US.
At some point over the last couple of years, US ecommerce giant Amazon reportedly acquired or acqui-hired Kochi-based startup Watasale.
Watasale came to prominence in 2018 for opening India's first cashierless store, praising Amazon Go's similar instant checkout stores in America for validating their decision to build the business.
As reported by TechCrunch, Watasale's entire team appears to have joined Amazon, with both founders Richu Jose and Subhash Sasidharakurup's LinkedIn profiles showing that they joined the American giant by January 2020. A director of the company, Shanoop Sivadas, has also joined Amazon, while two other US-based directors, Dileep Elipe Jacob and Vinci George Mathews, exited the Watasale board in December 2021 according to regulatory filings.
TechCrunch reports that according to a source, employees were provided the option of joining Amazon, although it is unclear whether the employees are working on technology for cashierless stores in the US and UK, or in India. If it is the latter, any timeline for new Amazon Go stores in the country are unclear.
However, Amazon has set up Just Walk Out teams across cities including Delhi, Hyderabad and Chennai to work exclusively on Amazon Go operations. Additionally, TechCrunch reported that the company added 100 jobs to the firm after acquiring Watasale.
This report has not been independently verified by YourStory.