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Take a look: How Fulfil is reinventing grocery shopping

Fulfil Solutions is a perfect example of DCVC’s investing philosophy at work: the company is reinventing food shopping with a completely unique, fully automated fulfillment system to enable customer-centric, sustainable, and profitable online grocery at scale.

To their credit, grocery retailers have consis­tently exper­i­mented with technology advances, but haven’t always been able to make them pencil out. One case in point is online grocery. Shopping for groceries from your phone or laptop is wonderful in theory, but in practice the experience is often marred by product substi­tu­tions, exorbitant fees and surcharges, and incon­ve­nient delivery/pickup windows. Moreover, online grocery remains stubbornly unprof­itable for retailers, and it has not yet been able to make a meaningful dent in the overall problem of food waste in the retail sector.

Fulfil is solving for all of these problems and more. Last year, Fulfil opened its first robot-powered micro-fulfillment warehouse in Mountain View, Calif., in partnership with The Save Mart Companies and DoorDash, to power a same-day grocery delivery and pick-up service called Lucky Now. Within minutes of receiving an order, Fulfil’s system deploys shop bots” to accurately pick all categories of groceries – including refrig­er­ated and frozen goods. The robots then bring packed grocery bags to a waiting area where drivers collect them. 

Fulfil’s differ­en­ti­ated platform leverages advanced AI, machine learning, and optical and sensor tech­nolo­gies to enable next-generation inventory management and quality control. Within the warehouse, Fulfil’s proprietary dispense stations handle any grocery item with computer-vision precision, and sensor fusion algorithms confirm that every item is packed success­fully. Fulfil’s mobile robots split and sequence items to prevent damage and minimize pack time, while dispense stations redis­tribute inventory to balance load. A database tracks every item’s location, origin, and expiration for a new level of real-time inventory management that enables perfect order accuracy and minimizes waste. (To understand how Fulfil’s technology can reduce waste from grocery retailing, read our recent interview with CEO Mir Aamir.)

Fulfil expects to deploy its automation system with several retailers next year and beyond. To see Fulfil’s shop bots at work, check out the video above.

Matt Ocko is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of DCVC. Alan Cohen is a General Partner at DCVC.

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