Co-founded by Brandon Hill, Tremaine Kirkman, and Robert Pinkerton, the online wholesale marketplace uses its technology to modernize the process of ordering for supermarkets. Its technology is a win-win for local retailers and local distributors as it has created easy steps for wholesale ordering.
AfroTech previously shared that in 2021, Vori secured $5.7 million in funding from YCombinator, Greylock Partners, South Park Commons, and more — earning Hill and Kirkman spots on Forbes’ 30 Under 30.
Since the startup’s launch, the Vori team has received praise and recognition from people who have expressed that they’ve “been waiting on a solution like this their entire career.” Their innovation has led to investments including Mollie Stone’s Markets, an independent family-owned grocery store chain with locations in California — where Vori is based.
The heart of Vori’s mission is democratizing access to food supply and the team plans on building a long-lasting impact for communities. As the company continues to grow, it aims to help create food justice and more food accessibility through its grocery data in the near future.
Read on to find out more about this exciting startup.
The Story Behind The App
“My parents had approached us saying, ‘Hey, we think you should look in the direction of technology for the food space, because there’s such a need. We haven’t seen any innovation since we met in the late eighties,'” Hill told AfroTech. “They said, ‘You guys can come up with something that’s better and different than the way people are doing things today on fax machines, pencil and paper and clipboards.”
The trio took the advice and have spearheaded a solution to replace and transform the reordering process for retailers and their businesses when communicating with suppliers.
“We make it very easy for people at the grocery store to instantly reorder inventory from their hundreds of suppliers, as well as managing that inventory, which today has been a painful process that has cost retailers a lot of money. Our goal is kind of like what Tesla did for cars, we’re trying to do for grocery store technology,” Hill said.
“That’s something that we take to heart that ultimately what our technology does impact communities, which is what makes it rewarding to work on,” Kirkman shared with AfroTech. “But also that’s what kind of gives us a burden to bear. If Facebook goes down you can’t post a photo for the day. If [Vori] goes down, then milk doesn’t get to the store, which means cereal is not on the table in the morning when kids go to school.”
He continued: “When we think about the food access the communities have, we become that core infrastructure that people rely on every day. Even if they don’t see it on the consumer side, that’s something that we take very seriously.”
What The Future Holds For Vori
“As we scale, we can connect to those where food waste and food hunger are reciprocal parts of the same problem, which is like an imbalance in food distribution,” Hill said. “And I think we’ll have the power to impact that because we’ll be influencing how food gets distributed.”