Vertical farming startup Evergreens Farms was named the winner of a supply chain innovation pitch competition held by Ahold Delhaize USA’s Retail Business Services (RBS) division and Venture Cafe, a nonprofit in New England focused on growing inclusive entrepreneurship.
Led by Ahmad Zameli and based in Burlington, Mass., Evergreen Farms looks to provide vertical farming technology to produce anywhere, regardless of climate, and deliver consistently high-quality product year-round.
The competition invited young companies with innovative supply-chain ideas to pitch to a panel of experts, with five finalists invited to a 10-week mentorship with RBS meant to “increase their retail industry IQ” and build a relationship with Ahold Delhaize. The program culminated in a pitch competition, where Evergreen emerged as the startup with the most viable technology, according to a panel of retail and venture capital experts.
“New ideas and innovations are important to the supply chain industry now more than ever in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic,” said Chris Lewis, EVP of supply chain for Retail Business Services, who provided the keynote address at the pitch event. “We were inspired by each of these companies that presented compelling technologies for the future of supply chain, and we congratulate Evergreens Farms on this recognition.”
Evergreens says its technologies simulate and maintain ideal growing conditions indoors and automates the farm, “meaning you're the first person to touch the veggies when you pop open the package,” and can provide local greens on the same day they’re harvested.
“The supply chain seed program was incredibly helpful in accelerating our business forward in our path to commercialization,” said Zameli. “The relationships we have forged with the different Ahold Delhaize USA companies and the conversations we had helped us refine our targeting and deployment strategy, as well as forge key relationships with leaders in the industry. The progress we made over the past 10 weeks fast-tracked our path to bringing safe, fresh, locally produced fruits and vegetables to the New England grocery market and beyond.”
“We thoroughly enjoyed working with the start-ups this year,” added Dan Covert, director of supply chain innovation for Retail Business Services. “We’re looking forward to continuing the program next year and exploring more innovative ideas for the supply chain we support and the grocery retail brands it serves.”
The other finalists in the Supply Chain Seed Program were:
- End2End Solutions, led by Robert Steward, which provides a set of internet of things solutions and services designed to improve supply chain visibility by addressing quality, compliance, security, logistics and performance management.
- GoWheels, led by William Bateman, is developing a radically redesigned wheel with a replaceable tire for carts used in distribution and transportation centers.
- NanoThings, led by Tim Williams, is focusing on a cold-chain traceability solution by using internet of things technology from source to store.
- Produce Pics, led by Sridhar Iyer, is providing a computer vision-based application for reducing food waste in supply chain.