A product design firm that created a shopping basket for wheelchair users has won the 2021 SEED Live pitch competition sponsored by three Ahold Delhaize USA companies and Venture Cafe Cambridge, part of the nonprofit Innovation Studio. Ahold Delhaize USA companies ADUSA Supply Chain, Retail Business Services and Peapod Digital Labs, along with Venture Café Cambridge, chose the LapSnap bag from Includesign, LLC, because it allows for an easier, more comfortable and inclusive shopping experience and uses a viable technology.
As the winner of this year’s SEED Live pitch competition, Includesign has earned an opportunity to pilot the accessible waterproof shopping basket within Ahold Delhaize USA banners. The company also received a $25,000 grant.
Heather Paquette, VP of Ahold Delhaize’s Retail Innovation Center of Excellence, Retail Business Services, lauded Includesign and its co-founder Diana Perkins for the versatile carryall. “As we think about innovating the future of grocery retail, ideas like this are key to enhancing the consumer experience in retail settings,” she said.
The pitch competition is the culminating event for the 2021 SEED Immersion program sponsored by participating Ahold Delhaize companies. From a pool of more than 40 applicants, four other startups took part in the final round of the accelerator program, including cloud-based software service Akuret; retail system integrator Lillii RNP, Inc.; hyper-local, on-demand data provider PICKL; and cloud-based software platform Stuzo. Those innovators worked with mentors over a 10-week period to increase their industry knowledge and build relationships.
“Regardless of which part of the supply chain you are focused on, we all understand the importance of keeping the customer at the center of everything we do. This program highlights the tremendous amount of innovative companies and startups that share that passion with us,” added Bob L’Heureux, vice president, supply chain services for ADUSA Supply Chain Services.
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 23 states, Ahold Delhaize USA is No. 10 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in the United States.