Bentonville startup Ox wins pitch competition at Groceryshop 2021 in Las Vegas

by Paul Gatling ([email protected]) 1,407 views 

What happens in Las Vegas, as the old saying goes, is supposed to stay there. But we’re happy to share this news.

Judges selected Bentonville tech startup Ox as the pitch competition winner at Groceryshop 2021 held Sept. 18-21 at Mandalay Bay.

Groceryshop is a leading U.S. event for the retail, grocery and consumer packaged goods (CPG) industries. This year’s conference featured more than 150 CEOs and over 200 speakers. The theme was the sudden transformation in the retail environment since the outbreak of COVID-19, focusing on technology and innovation in CPG, food and grocery. Kroger Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen delivered the opening keynote.

Charu Thomas is Ox’s founder and CEO. She started the company in 2019 as an engineering undergraduate and researcher at the Georgia Institute of Technology. The company won the Atlanta Startup Battle and was a TC Top Picks for TechCrunch Disrupt San Francisco 2019. Thomas relocated in 2019 to Northwest Arkansas.

“Winning the Groceryshop pitch competition was a huge honor,” Thomas told the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal. “We were pitching with some of the best startups transforming the way commerce functions, and it meant a lot to us to be recognized among the incredible companies.”

Charu Thomas

Ox is an order fulfillment platform that leverages machine learning to assist retailers in supply chain optimization. The company’s goal is to level the playing field for retailers by providing accessible, scalable, and beneficial technology to businesses.

Some of Ox’s customers include Walmart, Google and Newell Brands.

In Las Vegas, Ox won a startup competition that featured 12 early-stage retail tech companies that have developed e-commerce and in-store solutions for CPG, food and grocery. They were all founded in the past five years and had not yet raised more than seed-round funding.

The judges’ panel evaluated the presenters on market opportunity, business model, potential and — maybe most importantly — confidence in the founder and company to execute.

Thomas, a member of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal’s 2021 Fast 15 class, said the company’s employees have quadrupled in the past six months.