Ex-Google engineers help shoppers get Pointy of Christmas

8 Dec 2015

Pointy is releasing a new app to unite stressed-out consumers with hard to find presents in shops this Christmas.

Imagine a tiny device that scans barcodes in shops and, as it does so, immediately builds a website for the shop owner? Well, dream no more because it is real and the start-up behind it, Pointy, is releasing a new app to unite stressed-out consumers with hard-to-find presents in shops across Ireland this Christmas.

Dublin-based Pointy raised €1.12m earlier this year from a number of high-profile investors, including Google Maps founder Lars Rasmussen, WordPress founder Matt Mullenweg, Bebo founder Michael Birch and Frontline Ventures.

Pointy, which was founded by Charles Bibby and Mark Cummins, has installed the Pointy box, a small device that connects to a shop’s barcode scanner, in more than 500 shops across Ireland.

The Pointy box automatically recognises the products the shop sells and then lists them on the shop’s website and in the Pointy app.

Christmas is sorted!

The app (launching this week on iPhone and Android) makes searching for products in local shops as easy as searching the web. If you’ve ever spent days chasing back and forth across town trying to find something, Pointy is the app that can remove that hassle from your life.

The range of things you can find on the service is impressive – everything from coconut water to chisels. A quick search will show you all the local shops that have what you’re looking for. So, if you saw something on the Toy Show last week and are struggling to find it, Pointy might point you in the right direction.

“It seems strange that we’re the first app to do this” said Cummins. “But there’s a lot of work involved to make something seem simple!”

The company was founded by a team including ex-Google engineers, and has been building its network of shops since early in the summer.

“The response from shops has been amazing,” Bibby added. “Over 500 shops across the country now have Pointy installed. We think about one-in-eight of all shops in Dublin are using the system, and we only started six months ago.”

“Our aim was to make it incredibly easy,” added Cummins. “The shop just plugs it in and we take care of the rest. We’ve had shops set up and go live with thousands of products with less than five minutes’ work. Once the shops are using Pointy, consumers can find the product they want quickly and easily via the app and the website. Local retailers get shoppers through the door, and consumers find what they’re looking for. It’s a nice business, because it’s good for everyone.”

Dublin at Christmas image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years