Editor’s note: Startup Spotlight is a regular part of WRAL TechWire’s Startup Monday lineup, which also includes updates to our exclusive Startup Guide, our calendars of events, and a list of some 150 meetup groups across the Triangle.

DURHAM – Retail storytelling startup The Looma Project is expanding its shopper education platform, Loop, to a midwestern grocer, launching a partnership with Schnucks in 89 stores in the region.

That follows robust partnerships with grocers active in the Carolinas, including Harris Teeter and Lowes Foods, said Ned Brown, the chief story officer for the company.

The company, which according to Brown raised $2.2 million in its last fundraising round after originally reporting $1.1 million raised, and originally raised $375,000 in seed funding led by Triangle firm Cofounders Capital.

Based in downtown Durham, the company plans to bring on additional staff to support the new partnership, and future growth, noted Brown.

At the Schnuck Markets stores, the company will deploy its storytelling platform, which shares stories of the people who craft the products on the store’s shelves, with the goal of connecting shoppers with brands and their products.

“The best retailers are doubling down on in-store experience,” said Cole Johnson, the company’s founder and CEO.  “Digitization alone isn’t enough, though,” he warned. “It has to be about discovery, education, immersion—connecting shoppers to the people and places and stories behind their products.”

In a statement, the company said that its products boost sales growth by an average of 92% for brands that partner with the company, within the month of display, and then 25% the following month.

Looma has found that its video stories perform even better when the product is placed on an end-cap, the term given to the shelving that appears at the end of the aisles in a grocery store.


The Looma Project’s Cole Johnson talks about the future of retail tech

“Our films are tailored for the point-of-decision. They’re not only effective at producing an immediate sales lift; they’re deliberately crafted to create longer-term loyalty and brand affinity via human-centricity and emotional connection,” said Brown.

The company noted in a statement that it now has more than 350 deployments across seven states.