Shelf Life

General Catalyst Leads $41 Million Series B Investment in Shelf Engine, Builds Momentum Behind Food Waste Mission

Investment helps more retailers boost their bottom line while reducing the billions of pounds of food waste the grocery industry produces annually.
Stefan Kalb by Stefan Kalb

Shelf Engine recently announced a $41 million Series B funding round to expand our automation solutions to grocers across North America. I’m so proud of the hard work our team has put into growing our business and bringing our platform to more than 2,000 stores nationwide. It’s our talented people and our cutting-edge technology that have made it possible for Shelf Engine to consistently deliver improved sales performance, profit increases of 4x, and one-third food waste reduction for grocery retailers. 

While much of the industry’s focus over the last year has been on the pandemic’s impact on grocery, which is indeed significant, many of the challenges stores are facing are actually business as usual. Grocery stores typically have very tight margins, with profits hovering around 2%, largely due to inefficiencies in the supply chain and individual store processes. Shifting product demand and rollercoaster sales over the last year further compounded these issues, with stores struggling to keep shelves stocked and still throwing away one-third of their fresh inventory. This inaccurate ordering not only costs profitability but forces retailers to increase prices to make up for losses and diminishes the overall customer experience.

Even before these factors accelerated demand for Shelf Engine’s system, our model had generated significant interest from the investor community. This latest round brings our total funding to date to $58 million, with participation from General Catalyst, GGV Capital, Foundation Capital, 1984 Ventures, Correlation Ventures, Founders’ Co-op, Soma Capital, Firebolt Ventures, and Initialized Capital. In addition to continued expansion, the round will enable us to further invest in our rapidly growing team of engineers, data scientists, and supply chain automation experts.

I firmly believe grocery retailers today need to innovate quickly, or else put their companies at risk. At Shelf Engine, we’re reducing waste, while simultaneously increasing sales, which goes straight to the grocer’s bottom line. We’re helping grocers make more money and positioning them to offer competitive prices, so they can have a shot at competing with tech giants and other disruptors entering the market. This latest round will enable us to further meet the demand from our customers and to launch into thousands of new stores in the next 18 months.

The media is also following our growth closely. Our funding news was covered extensively, by national, industry, and local publications including Axios, Fortune, GeekWire, Grocery Dive, Progressive Grocer, Puget Sound Business Journal, VentureBeat, Winsight Grocery Business, and many others. 

I’m so proud of the entire Shelf Engine team for helping us to grow so quickly and fulfill our mission of reducing the 43 billion pounds of food the grocery industry wastes every year. We’re also hiring, so if you are ready to be a part of this growth, reach out to us here! To keep up on our latest news, follow us @ShelfEngine.

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