Wink Named Finalist at Shoptalk 2023 “Shark Reef” Startup Pitch Competition

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Wink named as a finalist for Shoptalk 2023’s “Shark Reef” startup pitch competition, which saw 12 technology innovators across four areas of retail disruption compete.

Wink Named Finalist at Shoptalk "Shark Reef" Pitch Competition

Wink named as a finalist in Shoptalk 2023’s “Shark Reef” startup pitch competition, which saw 12 technology innovators across four areas of retail disruption compete.

Originally featured on Coresight Research, March, 29 2023 —

On March 26, 2023, Coresight Research hosted the “Shark Reef” startup pitch competition at the convention Center’s Beacon Theater, which saw 12 early-stage US retail-technology innovators compete to win the Judges’ Choice and Audience Choice awards. We provide a recap of the pitch competition, with key insights from the startup presentations.


Event Format and Judging Panel

The Shoptalk 2023 “Shark Reef” startup pitch competition was comprised of two rounds:

  • Round 1All competitors presented for three minutes on their innovative technologies.
  • Round 2Six finalists participated in a more in-depth, four-minute Q&A session.

Deborah Weinswig, CEO and Founder of Coresight Research, moderated the competition and participated as a member of the judging panel. Three expert judges joined Weinswig:

  • Anna Barber, Partner at M13
  • Brooke Kiley, Partner at VMG Partners
  • Matt Nichols, General Partner at Commerce Ventures
The judging panel: (left to right): Weinswig, Kiley, Nichols and Barber
Source: Coresight Research


Innovative Solutions Across Four Areas of Retail Disruption

Coresight Research categorizes the 12 startups into four areas of disruption in retail, as defined below.

1. New Ways To Engage Consumers

Retailers are increasing their degree of engagement with consumers via messages on social media platforms, providing inclusive imagery, enabling price negotiation and using clienteling to cater to key customers.

Companies: Drop, GoCharlie, Nibble, Reflekt Me

2. Innovative Video Applications

Video is becoming a primary communication channel, particularly with certain demographics. Innovators are helping retailers and brands improve the quality of video and storytelling and offer customer service via video.

Companies: Gander, Hark, Tolstoy

3. Next-Generation Business Needs

Retailers and brands have a major stake in ensuring customers receive products that ensure their loyalty and meet their sustainability standards.

Companies: IN BOLD PRINT, Toki

4. Optimizing Operations: Payments and Supply Chains

Demand planning is a critical step that drives inventory, sales and returns, which, in turn, enables efficient logistics. Offering various payment methods, including biometrics, reduces friction and increases conversion.

Companies: Frate, Syrup, Wink


  • Speaker: Deepak Jain, Founder and CEO
  • Area of disruption: Optimizing Operations: Payments and Supply Chains
  • Read the full Innovator Profile for Wink

Wink is a US biometric identity and payments platform that enables companies to offer simpler and seamless payments experiences through AI and ML technology and facial and voice recognition-based, multi-factor authentication. Customers can checkout securely and quickly without using passwords, usernames, card numbers or SMS texts.

Jain explains the details of Wink’s platform
Source: Coresight Research


Jain explained that Wink converts all cameras into biometric authenticators and payment acceptance points—there are currently more than 44 million cameras in the world (see image below). He discussed the multiple applications in the payment space that the technology facilitates, including frictionless in-store payment, loss prevention for self-checkout, hands-free and in-vehicle payments, smart home cloud biometric payments and ATM fraud prevention. Users enjoy that Wink provides biometric authentication with one-way encryption and Web 3.0-compliant architecture.

Currently, the Wink payments platform supports major payment methods and can send biometric payments to more than 200 major gateways.

Wink data on the rise of cameras in the world
Source: Wink

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