NRF 2020, NYC

We weaved our way through the 40,000 people and 800 exhibitors at the Javits Center in NYC this week for NRF 2020 to find emerging startups that can help accelerate our corporate partners. A few major trends emerged from the larger players including: Customer-Centric integrated AI, Experiential Retail, Autonomous Cashier-less Check-Out and Robot Planograms. But as usual, some of the most interesting opportunities were from the Innovation Lab and Startup Zone. Here are our favorites that you should know about:

Tastry – Utilizing AI that combines analytical chemistry, flavor preferences and machine learning, Tastry is tracking consumer preferences in sensory-based products. Think an on-demand sommelier in the grocery aisle providing recommendations with incredible accuracy as you pick a bottle of wine for the evening. The potential goes way beyond wine to allow for the pairing of snacks with drinks and vice versa based on flavor profile and preference.

Chatter Research – Chatter Research has created a real-time customer feedback solution for retail and hospitality. Chatter helps retailers and restaurants sell more and improve experiences through AI-powered conversations with customers. No more emailed feedback forms. That’s innovation we can all appreciate. This conversational AI via chat is quick, painless and somehow feels less sterile.

Observa – Observa uses image recognition to deliver dynamic and efficient real-time, real-world information and analysis. Think Google Analytics for every product on a shelf, in any store. Observa is taking the best elements of on-line shopping and applying it to the offline store environment.

As with any conference or any group of startups, the presented solutions start with the gaps that the corporation or industry is facing. With this in mind, VentureFuel identifies growth areas, mitigates risks and looks for areas to provide consumer learning as well as enhanced efficiencies of operation. When paired properly, these startups and new technologies can accelerate growth as well as deliver savings that impact your bottom line.

If you’d like to find out how VentureFuel can help your corporation harness the power of innovation, reach out to us at