Anycart, the startup tech company positioning itself as a kind of “Expedia for grocery” that builds baskets for retailers through a shop-by-recipe offering—and facilitates free delivery for their shoppers—has emerged from stealth mode and identified a group of partnering retailers, including Amazon/Whole Foods and select banners of Albertsons Cos. and Ahold Delhaize USA.
The Palo Alto, Calif.-based startup, which WGBprofiled more than a year ago, said sales during a seven-month beta-testing period last year increased by 450%, aided by a COVID-inspired move among consumers to shop for groceries online.
Anycart is positioning itself as a “smart search engine” for groceries in the style of travel facilitators like Expedia that drive business to airlines while improving the online experience and prices for customers. It technology powers a shopping engine that directly integrates with each local store’s inventory system, inspires consumers with shoppable recipes, and provides easy personalization and filtering for a variety of dietary needs.
Anycart handles no inventory and does not arrange for delivery in the style of marketplace rivals such as Instacart or Shipt. Instead, it leaves those tasks to the retailer, which process orders through Anycart as it would from its own shopper ordering directly from its website or app and offer fulfillment from its available options, including their own fleets or in-store pickup. This step can eliminate the need for retailers to mark up items or utilize third-party shoppers and delivery, Anycart said.
“We recognized a gap in the market—and saw a real need by millions of Americans for a simpler, more affordable grocery shopping experience,” Rafael Sanches, co-founder and CEO of Anycart, said in a statement. “We’re keeping our focus on creating the most accessible online grocery shopping experience with a post-pandemic world in mind.”
During its beta period, Anycart was working with Amazon’s Whole Foods Market brand—it emerged from Amazon’s Alexa Accelerator program—and with certain Albertsons Cos. banners (Albertsons, Safeway, Vons/Pavilions, Carrs, Jewel-Osco, Randalls and Tom Thumb). Anycart connected to Albertsons through venture capital backer Greycroft, which runs a fund focused on startup technologies that can facilitate the retailer’s adaptation to the ongoing digital shift. Anycart’s announcement this week also identifies Ahold Delhaize brands Stop & Shop, the Giant Co. and Giant Food as participants.
Anycart said it can inspire consumers with a collection of more than 1,000 recipes with step-by-step video instructions. This integration allows shoppers to shop by recipe—building baskets in one click. Its technology also generates additional recipes with which shoppers can use leftovers. A portion of Anycart’s revenue comes from publishers whose content can be turned into shoppable recipes available on the site; it also makes money through affiliate fees from retail partners, and advertising from brands who can get their products and recipes promoted in search, Payman Nejati, a co-founder who since departed Anycart for another startup, told WGB last year.
“Grocery shopping and meal planning are some of the most time-intensive necessities that we take on every day. Going to the store and coming up with new ideas, day in and day out, is hard. We want to redefine that experience and make it as easy as possible for everyone," said Silvia Curioni, co-founder and chief operating officer of Anycart.
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