Grocery order automation startup Shelf Engine announced today that it has raised a $41 million Series B round of funding. The round was led by General Catalyst with participation from GGV Capital along with Foundation Capital, 1984 Ventures, Correlation Ventures, Founders’ Co-op, Soma Capital, Firebolt Ventures and Initialized Capital. This brings the total amount raised by Shelf Engine to $58 million.
Managing perishable inventory can be a tricky proposition for grocery retailers. They have to make sure they have enough stock on hand to meet demand, but not so much that there is extra that spoils and goes to waste.
Seattle-based Shelf Engine’s software platform promises to help grocers better manage this type of perishable inventory ordering. It does this by combining a retailer’s sales data with real-world data such as school schedules, holidays, weather and local events. Shelf Engine then runs all that information through statistical models using machine learning and neural networks to develop an enhanced product forecast.
Shelf Engine claims that grocer’s using its software increase their profit margin by 50 percent and reduce food waste by as much as 32 percent.
After getting through a crazy 2020 which included pandemic-induced panic shopping, social distancing and record breaking e-commerce, retailers could probably use some algorithmic help figuring out future demand. Shelf Engine isn’t the only startup vying for that business. Other players developing similar software forecasting systems that reduce waste include Afresh and Crisp.
It’s worth noting that Shelf Engine’s funding comes during a rather frothy time for investment in the grocery space. A number of grocery startups facilitating faster delivery and improved e-commerce have pulled in big funding rounds since the start of the year.
Shelf Engine said it will use its new funding for continued expansion and bulk up its team of engineers, data scientists and supply chain automation experts.