AI-Powered ‘Micro-Grocer’ Launches Half-Hour Pickup


Farmstead, an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered digital “micro-grocer” that sources and delivers fresh food from farm to fridge in one hour, has launched a hub allowing for 30-minute grocery pickup in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The new 30-minute Express Pickup service hubs, strategically located in San Francisco and San Mateo, are intended to put the San Francisco-based startup on par with the largest incumbent players in the rapidly expanding online grocery delivery market, many of which don’t yet offer online ordering and pickup in the area. Groceries are ready for pickup within 30 minutes of placing an online order, and arriving customers simply tap an “I’m here” button on their phone to signal a Farmstead employee to place a custom-packed order in their car.

The new service is Farmstead's latest step toward working to transform the way the grocery industry sources and distributes food from farms to customers. The startup, which first presented its plan to shake up the grocery industry in early October, uses AI technology to calculate and predict returning shoppers’ habits and know exactly how much food to order from local sources daily, weekly, seasonally and annually, thus reducing food waste. Orders are fulfilled at a constellation of “micro-warehouses” in the Bay Area that are stocked with the appropriate amount of local, minimally packaged foods, and for delivery, drivers are algorithmically routed to use the most efficient and eco-friendly routes, resulting in less congestion.

“The addition of Express Pickup to Farmstead’s fulfillment model makes it possible to launch lightweight, software-defined hubs anywhere in the U.S. to quickly and easily meet consumer demand, fitting in seamlessly with their existing grocery habits,” said Farmstead Product Manager Jennelle Nystrom.

Founded just 12 months ago, Farmstead has completed 17,000-plus deliveries to thousands of Bay Area customers, and has raised $2.8 million in seed funding from Resolute Ventures, Social Capital, Y Combinator and Joe Montana’s Liquid 2 Ventures.