Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi, Shaun White, Shawn Mendes Get Behind Shelf Engine – TechCrunch

Shelving motorThe mission to eliminate food waste at grocery retailers now has some more famous backers. The company brought a $ 2 million extension to its $ 41 million Series B announced in March.

Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi, Shaun White and Shawn Mendes are the new backers, who entered through a strategic round of funding alongside PLUS Capital to bring the Seattle-based company’s total funding to $ 60 million from inception. of the company in 2016. This includes $ 12 million Series A since 2020.

Shelf Engine’s food order automation technology applies advanced statistical modeling and artificial intelligence to deliver accurate food order volume so customers can reduce food waste by up to 32% and increase gross margins and sales. by more than 50%. The company has already helped retailers divert 1 million pounds of food waste from landfills, Stefan Kalb, co-founder and CEO of Shelf Engine, told TechCrunch.

“We had phenomenal growth last year, partly from our mid-market customers, but mostly from customers like Target and Kroger,” Kalb said. “Our other great news is that we hired a president (Kane McCord) in the last six weeks, which is great to have the reinforcement on the leadership side. “

Over the past 12 months, the company, which works with retailers like Kroger, Whole Foods and Compass Group, posted revenue growth of more than 540%. At the same time, it increased its employees from 23 to 200, Kalb said. He expects to double the Shelf Engine workforce over the next 12 months.

As a result, the new funding will be used to scale with existing customers and accelerate further investment in R&D of their artificial intelligence systems and automation capabilities.

Meanwhile, Amanda Groves, a partner at PLUS Capital, said her firm works with about 65 people in film, television, sports and culture, including the four new investors in Shelf Engine.

She says that many of her clients are looking to participate in businesses as investors or with their own capital. Their firm works with them to determine interests and then will look for opportunities and invest alongside them.

Shelf Engine fits into one of PLUS Capital’s core sustainability investment areas. The firm analyzes different sectors such as food, energy, clothing, packaging and recycling. Shelf Engine’s approach to leveraging technology to aid sustainability efforts appealed to all investors, as was its method of scaling within grocery customers without impacting consumer behavior.

“When Shelf Engine is installed in the grocery store, they can reduce spoilage by 10% right away; That immediacy of impact was what got our customers excited, ”added Groves.

One of Shelf Engine’s famous early investors was Joe Montana, and Kalb said partnering with celebrities makes the company’s mission to eliminate food waste and tackle the climate crisis more conscious.

“B2B software is not that glamorous, but the weather has become a big problem and something that worries many celebrities,” he added. “Shawn Mendes has more than 60 million followers, so sharing this topic is very meaningful. Where you invest will make your followers knock on store doors and say ‘I care about this.’ That’s the change from B2B strategy to a movement for our community. “

The company is not alone in dealing with food waste, which amounts to $ 1.3 trillion globally each year. For instance, Apeel, PETROLEUM, Imperfect foods, I died and Phood solutions They are all working to improve the food supply chain and have attracted venture dollars in the last year to pursue that mission.

Shelf Engine is already in more than 3,000 stores nationwide in the grocery, foodservice and convenience store areas, which “is a huge boost from 18 months ago,” Kalb said. The company then moves on to open new categories and manage more projects. Specifically, you are looking at what the business can manage in store and manage for the customer.

“We are reaching the point where we can manage more of the store in complex categories such as meat, seafood and deli that are primarily custom,” he added.


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