Afresh raises $115M in funding to reduce food waste with AI
Afresh Technologies Inc., a startup using artificial intelligence to help grocery store operators reduce food waste, on Thursday announced that it has closed a $115 million funding round.
The Series B round was led by Spark Capital. More than a half-dozen other backers participated as well, including Walter Robb, the former co-chief executive officer of Whole Foods. The investment brings Afresh’s total outside funding to $148 million.
Founded in 2017, Afresh provides a software platform that enables grocery store operators to track fresh food sales. The startup’s platform is also capable of forecasting future customer demand. Supply chain teams can consult the data provided by Afresh to optimize the amount of fresh food they procure from suppliers in a way that minimizes food waste.
According to Afresh, its platform eases supply chain teams’ work by using AI to generate recommendations on how to optimize supplier orders. Users can place supplier orders directly through the platform’s interface. For added measure, Afresh has built an analytics tool that makes it possible to compare food waste across a grocery store operator’s retail locations and identify areas for improvement.
Stores that adopt its platform on average reduce food waste by upwards of 25%, the company says. Additionally, the startup claims that companies can use its platform to increase their fresh produce operating margin by 40% or more.
Afresh enables business users to access its feature set through an iPad app designed to be simple to use. The startup promises to simplify the work of information technology teams as well as by automating some of the tasks involved in deploying and operating its platform.
“Food, more so than anything else, shapes the health of people and our planet,” said Afresh co-founder and CEO Matt Schwartz. “We founded Afresh with the purpose of eliminating food waste and making nutritious food more accessible.”
Afresh says that its platform has been deployed in more than 3,000 stores across 40 states. Moreover, the startup’s installed base is growing rapidly. Albertsons Cos. Inc. is currently rolling out Afresh’s platform in more than 2,300 retail locations and the startup has set a goal of expanding its reach to 10% of U.S. grocery stores by year’s end.
Afresh will use its newly closed $115 million funding round to further grow its market presence. As part of the effort, the startup plans to hire more workers, expand internationally and extend its software platform to new use cases.
“The transformative results that Afresh provides are not only seen in grocers’ bottom lines, but also extend to the impact on our planet through the reduction of food waste,” said Spark Capital General Partner Will Reed.
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