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Vori tackles the grocery supply chain with $10M boost

Aug 8, 2022
Illustration of a grocery basket full of cash.

Illustration: Gabriella Turrisi/Axios

Fresh off a $10 million Series A, grocery digital inventory management platform Vori plans to significantly expand its team and geographic presence, CEO Brandon Hill tells Axios.

Why it's the BFD: About 84% of grocery retailers have plans to invest in food waste technologies over the next two years, according to a Coresight Research survey.

  • U.S. grocery stores throw out around 30% of their surplus food, the nonprofit ReFED finds, and such waste is estimated to cost the grocery industry around $16 billion in net profit annually.

How it works: Vori digitizes the ordering and managing process for grocery stores, incorporating data across the supply chain to give companies real-time inventory visibility.

  • The platform helps stores reorder stock and ensure order quantities and prices reflect suppliers’ cost changes and customer purchasing patterns. Many of these functions can also be automated, Hill says.

Driving the news: Silicon Valley-based The Factory led the Series A, with participation from Greylock, E²JDJ, MKT1, and Mollie Stone’s Markets, a Bay area-based family-owned grocery chain and Vori's flagship customer.

  • Fresh capital gives Vori at least three years of runway, Hill tells Axios.
  • Vori has raised $15.3 million to date from investors like Y Combinator, Village Global, South Park Commons, and co-founders from Instacart, DoorDash and Twitch.

What’s next: Fresh funds will fuel Vori's product development, bringing to life its store operating system, which will be “an all-in-one solution for these grocery stores to help them be on a level playing field between them and mega corporations like Walmart," Hill says.

  • The company also plans to double its team between now and its next fundraising round.
  • Vori also has plans to win more customers and expand into new regions, Hill says, including the Pacific Northwest, the Northeast and the Rocky Mountains.

What they're saying: “Everything has changed with COVID,” Hill says.

  • Labor shortages, inflation, and supply chain challenges have created “a perfect storm of macro forces that have forced the tectonic plates of grocery to shift," he says.
  • While the cost of doing business is higher, sales are also skyrocketing, Hill notes.
  • “So what do you have to do? You have to automate, and you have to bring in technology to help close the gaps,” he says.

To be sure: While Hill believes we’re entering a challenging time for startups to raise money due to the volatile markets and tighter access to capital, he says the “supply chain has never been a hotter topic.”

  • “Food gets wasted. There's food deserts. The food supply chain is held together by paperclip,” Hill says.

The bottom line: The food industry is riddled with inefficiencies, Hill says. And with more consumers grocery shopping to save money amid the specter of a looming recession, demand for solutions like Vori's will only increase, he says.

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