Afresh Technologies’ fresh ordering technology continues to get more support with new funding and the addition of former Ahold USA CEO to its board of directors. The company develops A.I.-powered solutions that optimize merchandising, ordering and operations for grocers’ fresh departments to help minimize food waste.
Afresh raised $13 million in new funding, a Series A extension that was sparked by inbound investor interest. The round was led by Boston-based Food Retail Ventures and joined by existing investors Innovation Endeavors, Maersk Growth and Baseline Ventures — all of which participated in July’s $12 million Series A funding round.
"As the pandemic set in earlier this year, we were proud of how well our product helped fresh departments adapt during these unpredictable times," said Matt Schwartz, CEO and co-founder of San Francisco-based Afresh. "In addition, we're seeing enormous demand from new customers. So, when industry veterans and inside tech investors came to us and asked if they could double-down on Afresh, we quickly said yes. This new capital will enable us to grow faster and bigger in 2021, thereby accelerating our mission of reducing food waste while making fresh, nutritious food accessible to all."
Afresh also welcomed grocery industry veteran James McCann, CEO of Food Retail Ventures and former CEO of Ahold USA, as a new member of its board.
"I believe that the fresh ordering technology that Afresh has pioneered is set to become one of the most important technologies in food retail," said McCann. “I'm thrilled to increase my backing of the team and look forward to working closely with them as they continue to grow."
New research from Afresh shows that on average, stores using Afresh reduce food waste by 25% or more. They also see 2%-4% top line revenue growth and have a 40% or more increase to their produce operating margin. Each produce team member who uses Afresh was also shown to save one to two hours per week or more, which gives them more time to help customers and merchandise fresh produce.
In August, Afresh partnered with food retailer Heinen's to implement a store-level replenishment solution to help the grocer optimize the amount of perishable inventory in more than 20 store locations.
"Afresh enables us to profitably run the fresh department just as we envision it," said Greg Sotka, director of category management and merchandising for Warrensville Heights, Ohio-based Heinen's. "Ever since we started working with Afresh, our teams have loved the experience, from the ease of use of the app to the accuracy of recommendations. Our product is fresher and more in stock, and we've significantly reduced shrink."
Afresh’s employee size doubled from 2019 to 2020 and is anticipated to double again in 2021. The company indicated that it will be expanding its product across more Fresh functions in the coming months.