Alert Innovation Announces the Addition of John Biasi as New Chief Product Officer

Critical hire sets new pace of product development as company scales

Alert Innovation, a leader in grocery automation and micro fulfillment systems, announced the appointment of John Biasi to the newly created role of Chief Product Officer.

In his new role, Biasi will be responsible for overseeing all product development at Alert Innovation including product management, program management, systems engineering, software engineering, and hardware engineering.

Throughout his career, Biasi has been successful in a range of operational and product leadership roles across a variety of high-tech industries including LED Lighting, Wireless Mesh Networking and Semiconductor Factory Automation. As an entrepreneur, Biasi was also a co-founder of FASTech Integration, which developed mission-critical manufacturing software for semiconductor and electronics companies.

“Alert Innovation has built a strong organization with an incredible foundation” said John Biasi, CPO of Alert Innovation. “I look forward to collaborating with this dedicated team to propel the company’s objectives for growth.”

Prior to Alert Innovation, Biasi held the role of CEO at Full Spectrum Software a professional services company specializing in the development of medical devices. Biasi was also the General Manager at DEKA Research responsible for the development of advanced consumer solutions including the Coca Cola Freestyle, a touch screen soda fountain introduced by The Coca-Cola Company in 2009. While at DEKA, his team also developed an innovative medical infusion platform and a vapor compression distillation device used to create medical grade water.

“As Alert Innovation continues to grow at a rapid pace, we are putting the right people in place to ensure our success” says Fritz Morgan, CEO of Alert Innovation. “We are thrilled that John is joining us and look forward to applying his decades of expertise and success to our product development organization.”

Alert Innovation continues to hire in all areas of the organization including software, hardware, systems engineering and more. Click here to view all open roles.

About Alert Innovation, Inc

Alert Innovation® is a thought leader in Grocery automation, driving innovation that improves lives by transforming how retailers operate and people shop. Alert Innovation is an industry leader in robotic e-grocery fulfillment. The Alphabot® system, designed by the Alert Innovation team is a unique automated fulfillment solution that utilizes patented omnidirectional robots in a temperature-controlled system for fresh, efficient, and high-quality grocery fulfillment. Alert Innovation also designed the Novastore™, a store concept utilizing the Alphabot system, delivering a dynamic and efficient shopping experience.

Media Contact:

Cristina Rodrigues
Alert Innovation
+1 401.529.4980

Alert Innovation Origin Story

I’m John Lert, I’m the Founder of Alert Innovation and I’m standing here in our first commercial Alphabot® system. I would like to tell you a little about how this came to be.

I’m an inventor. In the mid-nineties I became very interested in supermarket retailing as an area of innovation. I started thinking about how would I reinvent the supermarket, which has operated the same way for 100 years. This was an industry operating very complex, operating at a very large scale, touching everybody’s lives. I felt that there was a way to reinvent the store through technology how would you do it.

So I first started thinking about the checkout line, because that’s what I hate the most. I started imagining what if machines picked all the packages for people instead of the customers, you wouldn’t have to go through checkout.

Then, I started realizing it was much bigger idea than eliminating checkout, it would fundamentally change how stores worked and eliminate the need for customers to do much of the shopping they do do today.

I started thinking about a store in which, the center store would be automated, machines could pick all the packaged goods and customer would order them on their computers.

Automation is fine for packaged goods because one box of cereal is the same as another but it’s not as true for the fresh market where steak is different from another or one peach is different from another peach.

As a customer, I want to be able to pick those specific items. I don’t want to have to do that but I’d like to be able to have people at the store pick it. I would like to be order electronically or go into the store and pick it myself. That became my organizing idea and when I started realizing that this could be the perfect store for retailers as well, I got very excited.

Then I started studying automation, and I came to the realization that there was no automation on earth that could even come close to doing this. It would require a new type of automation. Is this something I could take on? Is this something that I could do? That’s where the inventor in me became very interested in solving that problem. It’s a very challenging automation problem because create an automation system that can replace the center store that can be inexpensive enough to deploy very broadly, that can be reliable enough that customers always get their products, that can be affordable to be able to deploy to all the stores.

I decided I was going to try to figure out how to automate a supermarket and set out on that journey.

Novastore™ is our vision for the future of supermarkets. Nova means new in Latin so Novastore means a new type of store.

So I started thinking about how to do it. I became interested in mobile robots in 2001. Along the way, I came up with a way to automate case picking and I started a company named Case Pick Systems, which is now Symbotic and I sold my interest in that. Then went back to the idea of each picking of picking individual item units.

In 2013, I started working with my co-founder and co-inventor Bill Fosnight. In 2015, we invented Alphabot essentially as it exists today.

We got our automation ready and in February of 2016, we met with Walmart and they got very excited. Walmart knew that automating fulfillment at the store level would require a new technology. They were out looking for it; they found us.

In five and half months we created a strategic partnership that funded the development for Walmart. Bill and I recruited a world-class team of automation engineers and here we are today, five years later. We have built our first system. We built it in two and a half years.

Now we’re on the verge of deploying at a large scale.

Eventually, we will realize the vision of Novastore. Alphabot will evolve to be able to automate the center store. We will create this new format of the automated supermarket with no self-service center store and an optional self-service fresh market and that will change food retail forever!

This is our opportunity to change the world.

Two-sided Economics of Automation for Instant Delivery

Is Quick Commerce going to eat Grocery’s lunch or is it the other way around?

As instant grocery delivery players like Instacart, DoorDash and GoPuff make stratospheric leaps in the business of “convenience” shopping, the conversation is turning to automation and what role it can play in their businesses. Join us as we look at two sides of the “convenience” conversation – first from the new “Q” Market perspective and then from the grocer’s perspective. We will examine this growing trend of on-demand grocery shopping and the new operational models that fuel them. Each side has lofty goals for profit, and we will investigate the benefits and challenges of both store-level and regional automation for order fulfillment and replenishment.

Originally presented at FMI Midwinter Conference, March 21, 2022