For the third year, Quincy, Massachusetts-based ADUSA Supply Chain is hosting the 10-week Seed Program in partnership with Venture Café Cambridge. This year, the program is also supported by other Ahold Delhaize USA companies, including Retail Business Services and Peapod Digital Labs.
They are collaborating to expand the scope of the program to include the total omnichannel supply chain, from point of manufacture through the supply chain to physical and digital store shelves, and provide start-ups access to a greater array of resources to help them build critical relationships to accelerate their companies.
Following an application and evaluation process, five start-ups have been selected for this year’s seed program:
- Akuret, led by Fredrik Eng-Larsson and Daniel Steeneck, is a cloud-based software service that helps retailers keep accurate inventory data and maintain shelf availability in real time;
- Incudesign, led by Diana Perkins, empowers individuals with disabilities around the world. Its LapSnap product aims to make shopping easier for wheelchair users;
- Lillii RNB Inc., led by Barbara Jones, is a retail system integrator that has created a returns management platform that cuts system integration costs and time with its platform, Freeing Returns;
- PICKL, led by Ossie Cohen, provides hyper-local human brand insights: robots don’t shop, people do. PICKL delivers on-demand data from shoppers providing real-time competitor, category and product insights while driving consumers to stores and shelf; and
- Stuzo, led by Vir Mirchandani, offers Open Commerce, a cloud-based software platform, which helps retailers gain more share of wallet by using data to intelligently activate and engage with more shoppers.
“This year has been exciting for the Seed Immersion program with so many great applicants,” said Harsh Harshvardhan, innovation specialist for ADUSA Procurement, who has spearheaded the program since its inception. “Not only do we feel that these finalists can make an impact on the omnichannel grocery experience, but their unique entrepreneurial stories and determination each has to succeed is inspiring.”
The finalists will gain in-depth information, feedback and support from leaders inside Ahold Delhaize USA companies, which will help the start-ups prepare for introductions to the market.
“We’re proud to partner this year with the supply chain teams and others to welcome these start-ups into our organization and lend our support, connections and expertise to help them succeed,” said Heather Paquette, VP of Retail Business Services’ newly created Retail Innovation Center of Excellence. “Innovation is a win for retailers, their associates and their customers. When great ideas thrive, it benefits us all, and we look forward to getting to know these start-ups and learning from them as well, as we think about the future of our business.”
On Sept. 16, the program will conclude with a conference organized at Venture Café Cambridge. The start-ups will pitch their solutions for an opportunity to be named the most viable technology. The winning start-up will gain an accelerated path to a pilot as well as $25,000 cash prize.