Tech company Shelf Engine has attracted some big names who are passionate about eliminating food waste. Ellen DeGeneres, Portia de Rossi, Shaun White and Shawn Mendes — through a strategic round of funding alongside PLUS Capital — are teaming up with Shelf Engine as the company continues to expand its grocery order automation solution to retailers nationwide.
Shelf Engine helps the grocery industry reduce its environmental footprint via automation technology that applies advanced statistical models and artificial intelligence to deliver the ideal food order volume to drastically reduce food waste while increasing gross margins and sales.
"Every step we take to eliminate food waste is a step closer to solving food insecurity across the globe," DeGeneres said. "Shelf Engine is leading this fight against waste at retailers and grocery stores. The aim is to reduce the amount of fresh food that's thrown away every day. Portia and I are honored to partner with Shelf Engine."
Shelf Engine's solution guarantees the sale of every item that it orders for the retailer by buying back all unsold products and virtually eliminating the retailer's inventory risk. According to the company, retailers who use Shelf Engine's order automation solution reduce food waste by as much as 32% while benefiting from an average gross margin dollar expansion of more than 50%. Since its inception in 2016, Shelf Engine has helped retailers divert more than 1 million pounds of food waste from landfills.
The additional funding from the celebrity advocates will help Shelf Engine expand at full scale with current customers and accelerate further investment in research and development of its AI systems and automation capabilities.
"We are facing a global environmental crisis, and how we respond will have enormous ramifications on the generations that follow ours," said Stefan Kalb, co-founder and CEO of Seattle-based Shelf Engine. "Having such influential voices as Ellen, Portia, Shaun and Shawn educating consumers and retailers on the dire consequences if we don't act now is invaluable as we work to reduce food waste across the globe."
Over the past year, Shelf Engine has achieved more than 540% revenue growth while scaling up its staff from 23 employees to 200-plus. The company plans to more than double its headcount in the next 12 months.
Shelf Engine forecasts and orders highly perishable foods for grocers at scale. Using AI, the company's platform predicts consumer demand and automates ordering for every SKU, every day, in every store. Shelf Engine simplifies grocery operations by automating the purchase orders sent to suppliers and distributors, paying them directly for the products they deliver, and only charging retailers for what they sell.