Retail Business Services' Startup Seed Immersion Program

RBS is an Ahold Delhaize USA Company

For the third year, Retail Business Services (RBS) is partnering with other Ahold Delhaize USA companies and Venture Café Cambridge to help early-stage entrepreneurs enter the retail grocery industry. We’ve created a 10-week immersion program designed to help startups build critical relationships to accelerate their companies successfully. New this year, the scope of the program has been expanded from supply chain focused technologies to include a wider range of startups with technologies applicable to all aspects of omnichannel consumer experience, from product origin through the supply chain to physical and digital store shelves and ultimately to consumers’ homes.

Entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply at: and, if selected as one of the six participants, will join a program that will combine the best of Venture Café Cambridge’s programming prowess with exclusive access inside the grocery retail ecosystem. Those six finalists will gain in-depth information, feedback, and support from leaders at the brands of Ahold Delhaize USA. Finalists will have the potential to continue their growth with an accelerated path to a pilot program. Our aim to help the startups prepare for an introduction to the market.When we first kicked-off this program, we saw SEED as a way for RBS and Ahold Delhaize USA to get more involved with the startup community and bring new ideas to life within our own business. In our first two years, we selected five startup finalists that were each paired with a retail supply chain expert to guide them throughout their program journey. We’re excited to expand the reach of this year’s SEED Immersion program to beyond supply chain and look forward to seeing what the 2021 finalists bring into the fold. Each year, our events culminate with a “Shark Tank” style pitch event, which is a highlight for participants and attendees alike.

Participating in the program offers abundant opportunities for evaluating product and bringing it to the market. The large group of people supporting you in the program are very approachable and are genuinely rooting for your success. This helped direct the focus of the company towards building a truly useful and much needed solution.

Srihar Iyer
  • Founder
  • Produce Pics, a 2020 alum of the Seed program

Applications are open to start-ups until May 31, 2021, with programming taking place July 8 - September 16, 2021. The program will conclude on Sept. 16, 2021, with a virtual Innovation Conference organized by Venture Café Cambridge. The startups will pitch their solutions for an opportunity to be named the most viable technology for the future grocery retail.

Entrepreneurs are encouraged to apply at:  

For a recap of the 2020 events, visit

Want more? Startups can also apply to RILA’s Startup Network here, a great place to learn about more opportunities like this one.

At RILA’s Retail Innovation Center, we are working to help leading retailers navigate those challenges by connecting retailers with the startups, investors, and technologies that will drive retail in the 21st century. Looking for more? Visit the RIC’s Insights on-Demand page for blogs, webinars, and startup pitch videos.

  • Retail Innovation Center
  • Technology & Innovation

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