includesign Wins Future of Grocery Retail Pitch Competition Hosted by Ahold Delhaize USA Companies and Venture Café

Sep 21, 2021

Retail Business Services congratulates includesign, the winner of this year’s Supply Chain SEED pitchseed blog thumb competition! Led by Diana Perkins, includesign empowers individuals with disabilities around the world. Retail Business Services was proud to support the SEED Immersion Program, now in its third year, with other Ahold Delhaize USA companies and Venture Café.  

Throughout the SEED Immersion Program, five start-ups had the opportunity to work with mentors to increase their retail industry IQ and build critical relationships with Ahold Delhaize USA companies. During a Shark Tank-style pitch competition at the culminating event, includesign was named the most viable technology by a panel of retail and venture capital experts as the company with and received a $25,000 grand prize, as well as a path to pilot within Ahold Delhaize USA companies. Diana pitched the company’s LapSnap product, which can be used by wheelchair users to make an easier, more comfortable shopping experience.  

"It has been such a wonderful experience to be part of the SEED program, especially getting to work with my amazing mentor,” Diana said. “I am extremely pleased about includesign winning the final pitch and thankful that ADUSA sees that an accessible shopping experience is indeed 'the future of retail'. This award will help bring the LapSnap to more wheelchair users and expand our product line. I look forward to working with Ahold Delhaize USA companies to further develop inclusively designed products for their customers. I'm so excited to see what the future holds for includesign!"  

“As we think about innovating the future of grocery retail, ideas like this are key to enhancing the consumer experience in retail settings,” said Heather Paquette, VP, Retail Innovation Center of Excellence at Retail Business Services. “We applaud Diana and her team for their work so far and look forward to continuing to see their idea and business grow.”  

Other start-up finalists in the program include:  

  • Akuret, led by Fredrik Eng-Larsson and Daniel Steeneck, a cloud-based software service that helps retailers keep accurate inventory data and maintain shelf availability in real time.  

  • Lillii RNB Inc, led by Barbara Jones, a retail system integrator that has created a returns management platform that cuts System Integration costs and time with their platform, Freeing Returns™.  

  • PICKL, led by Ossie Cohen, which provides hyper-local human brand insights: robots don’t shop, people do. PICKL delivers on demand data from shoppers providing real-time competitor, category & product insights while driving consumers to stores & shelf.  

  • Stuzo, led by Aaron McLean, which offers Open Commerce®, a cloud-based software platform, which helps retailers gain more share of wallet by using data to intelligently activate and engage with more shoppers.  

The SEED Immersion Program was supported by five ambassadors across Ahold Delhaize USA companies. The ambassadors work as a bridge between the start-ups and the companies, ensuring that both sides get the most out of the program. This year’s ambassadors included: Brooks Thompson of Retail Business Services, Cable Dill of Retail Business Services, Christopher Sullivan of Peapod Digital Labs, Gibby Abboud of Retail Business Services and Kate Weaver of Peapod Digital Labs.  

“Ambassadors are the biggest strength of this program,” said “Harsh” Harshvardhan from ADUSA Supply Chain Services, who organized the live event for the third consecutive year. "They all work on this as a volunteer, stretching themselves thin over this 10-week period and since this is not tied to their performance, it shows their personal commitment to build a culture of innovation.”  

Congratulations to Diana, includesign and all the start-ups that participated!

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