Ahold Delhaize USA Launches 3rd Annual Startup Immersion Program

Initiative provides training and mentorship for grocery success
Bridget Goldschmidt
Managing Editor
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Ahold Delhaize USA and Venture Café Cambridge's 10-week Seed immersion program aims to assist startups in forging key relationships to advance their companies in the grocery retail industry.

Ahold Delhaize USA companies have joined forces with Venture Café Cambridge, a Massachusetts nonprofit organization focused on increasing inclusive entrepreneurship, to help early-stage entrepreneurs enter the retail grocery industry. The 10-week Seed immersion program aims to assist startups in forging key relationships to advance their companies.

This year, the program’s scope has expanded from supply chain-focused technologies to feature a broader variety of startups with technologies applicable to all aspects of the omnichannel consumer experience, from product origin through the supply chain to physical and digital store shelves, and ultimately to consumers’ homes.

“Over the past several years, this program has shown benefits for emerging entrepreneurs by providing startups with a greater understanding of the industry and helping them expand their networks within the retail grocery space,” noted Harshvardhan, known as “Harsh,” innovation specialist for ADUSA Procurement, a supply chain company of Ahold Delhaize USA. “Likewise, the program has helped Ahold Delhaize USA companies with innovation discovery. With this expanded scope of this year’s program, each of the supporting Ahold Delhaize USA companies looks forward to engaging with a new cohort of startups to further the future of grocery retail.”

Six companies will be chosen to join the program, with finalists garnering in-depth information, feedback and support from leaders at Ahold Delhaize USA’s brands, as well as a potentially accelerated path to a pilot. This process will help the startups prepare for an introduction to the market.

“Participating in the program offers abundant opportunities for evaluating product and bringing it to the market,” affirmed Sridhar Iyer, founder of Produce Pics, a 2020 participant in the Seed program. “The large group of people supporting you in the program are very approachable and are genuinely rooting for your success. This helped direct the focus of the company towards building a truly useful and much needed solution.”

Applications are open to startups until May 31, with programming occurring July 8-Sept. 16. The program will wrap up Sept. 16, with a virtual Innovation Conference organized by Venture Café Cambridge. During this event, the startups will pitch their solutions for a chance to be named the most viable future grocery retail technology.

Ahold Delhaize USA, a division of Zaandam, Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize, is the parent company for Ahold Delhaize’s U.S. companies, consisting of Food Lion, Giant Food, The Giant Co., Hannaford, and Stop & Shop, as well as e-grocer Peapod; Retail Business Services, a U.S. support services company providing services to the brands; and Peapod Digital Labs, its e-commerce engine. Operating more than 2,000 stores across more than 20 states, Ahold Delhaize USA is No. 11 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2020 list of the top food and consumables retailers in the United States

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