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FI Exclusive: Q&A with Simbe Robotics CEO Brad Bogolea

When it comes to inventory management, few companies are automating the process for retailers like Simbe Robotics. The company’s “Tally” autonomous retail robot scans product inventory on shelves and connects data points to ensure products are in-stock, priced accurately, and stored in the correct location.

On the heels of the Simbe’s announcement that it would be partnering with Wakefern Food Corp., The Food Institute spoke with co-founder and CEO Brad Bogolea about the company’s growth and plans for the remainder of 2022.

FI: For those unfamiliar, what can you tell us about Simbe Robotics and your autonomous robot Tally?

BB: Simbe is a retail technology company based in Silicon Valley. Our primary product is Tally, a business intelligence solution that uses autonomous shelf-scanning robots and computer vision technology to solve some of the thorniest challenges of in-store operations.

Tally autonomously scans tens of thousands of products up to three times per day collecting consistent, reliable data on product location, availability, and pricing. These insights enable retailers to quickly and accurately understand the state of their business in real-time and helps retailers re-allocate employees’ time to focus more on customer service and ensuring shelves are stocked. The real-time data and inventory insights collected by Tally help retailers reduce out-of-stocks by up to 30% thanks to Simbe’s ability to measure the inventory status of products across the entire store. Tally is a smarter way for retailers to better understand what’s happening on-shelf, ultimately improving in-store environments and creating efficiencies, protecting their bottom line.

FI: What led to your partnership with Wakefern?

BB: At Simbe, we look for partners who are progressive thinkers who recognize the immense value and critical importance of real-time data insights to their businesses. As the largest retailer-owned cooperative in the U.S., Wakefern is committed to providing their customers with a best-in-class grocery shopping experience, while improving store operations. This partnership was a no-brainer for us as we saw that Tally could help make a difference in Wakefern stores.

FI: What are some of the operational opportunities and challenges of expanding operations to the Northeast?

BB: We are incredibly excited to be expanding into the Northeast and to increase our visibility in the region. We founded Tally because we recognized a universal need for greater in-store visibility, and designed Tally to be highly versatile across locations and store formats – whether that be a mass-market store in the US or a narrow aisle grocery store in Europe. Tally is very sleek and slim, and only requires an internet connection and charge port to be operational. And because Tally operates indoors, Simbe is shielded from geographical considerations like weather.

As a result, Tally has been deployed in more than a dozen of the top 250 global retailers in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia and has navigated more than 200,000 miles in-store alongside customers and employees.

FI: What else can we expect for the rest of 2022?

BB: It’s been a busy and momentous year for the Simbe team as we welcomed new partnerships with Wakefern, Hy-Vee and Meijer, in addition to a chainwide expansion with long term partner, Schnucks.

Going into 2022, the pandemic’s supply chain disruptions and ongoing labor shortage have caused massive challenges to the retail industry, causing retailers to rethink their operations to boost efficiency and make the work more fulfilling for store workers. Now more than ever before, we’re seeing retailers turn to thoughtfully designed technology to address some of these challenges more efficiently, and we expect this to continue throughout the year.