ADUSA Supply Chain, along with other Ahold Delhaize USA companies, Retail Business Services and Peapod Digital Labs, and Venture Café Cambridge, named Includesign the winner of the 2021 Seed Live. The pitch competition was part of a culminating event for the 2021 Seed Immersion program.
Includesign is a product design firm dedicated to creating products to empower individuals with disabilities around the world.
“The Seed program continues to demonstrate the power of collaboration and collective intelligence in developing unique solutions consumers,” said Bob L’Heureux, VP of supply chain services for ADUSA Supply Chain Services. “Regardless of which part of the supply chain you are focused on, we all understand the importance of keeping the customer at the center of everything we do. This program highlights the tremendous amount of innovative companies and startups that share that passion with us.”
Includesign participated with four other start-ups in the program. Over 10 weeks, the start-ups worked with mentors to increase their retail industry IQ and built critical relationships with Quincy, Massachusetts-based Ahold Delhaize USA companies. During the pitch competition, a panel of retail and venture capital experts named Includesign as the start-up with the most viable technology.
“For the third year in a row, we have been floored by the drive, initiative, creativity and capabilities of the start-ups we have worked with,” said Harsh Harshvardhan, innovation specialist for ADUSA Supply Chain Services, who has spearheaded the program since its inception. “This year, we expanded the program to look at the entirety of the food supply chain from point of manufacture, all the way to the retail experience, where Includesign is innovating.”
Led by Diana Perkins, Includesign, empowers individuals with disabilities around the world. Perkins pitched the company’s LapSnap product, a shopping basket which can be used by wheelchair users to make an easier, more comfortable shopping experience. By winning the pitch competition, Includesign was awarded a $25,000 grant and earned a path to pilot within Ahold Delhaize USA companies.
“It has been such a wonderful experience to be part of the Seed program, especially getting to work with my amazing mentor,” Perkins said. “I am extremely pleased about Includesign winning the final pitch and thankful that Ahold Delhaize USA companies see that an accessible shopping experience is indeed ‘the future of retail.’ This award will help bring the LapSnap to more wheelchair users and expand our product line. I look forward to working with Ahold Delhaize USA companies to further develop inclusively designed products for their customers. I’m so excited to see what the future holds for Includesign.”
“As we think about innovating the future of grocery retail, ideas like this are key to enhancing the consumer experience in retail settings,” said Heather Paquette, VP of the Retail Innovation Center of Excellence for Retail Business Services. “We applaud Diana and her team for their work so far and look forward to continuing to see their idea and business grow.”
Other finalists in the Seed program include:
- Akuret, led by Fredrik Eng-Larsson and Daniel Steeneck, a cloud-based software service that helps retailers keep accurate inventory data and maintain shelf availability in real time;
- Lillii RNB Inc., led by Barbara Jones, a retail system integrator that has created a returns management platform that cuts system integration costs and time with their platform, Freeing Eeturns;
- PICKL, led by Ossie Cohen, which 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 Aaron McLean, which 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.