Shekar Raman

Shekar Raman is CEO and co-founder of Birdzi, a grocery retail AI solutions company that was inspired by an idea his 11-year-old daughter had about locating products in the supermarket. He is passionate about building data-driven technologies leveraging AI and Machine learning to help retailers and brands elevate the customer experience.

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Gary Hawkins

Gary Hawkins has lived his career ahead of the curve, putting him in the right place at the right time to help guide the fast moving consumer goods retail industry into the future in a time of exponential technology growth using never-before-available capabilities to innovate the future of shopping. Early in his career, Hawkins launched one of the first loyalty programs in the US supermarket ...

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Shekar Raman is CEO and co-founder of Birdzi, a grocery retail AI solutions company that was inspired by an idea his 11-year-old daughter had about locating products in the supermarket. He is passionate about building data-driven technologies leveraging AI and Machine learning to help retailers and brands elevate the customer experience. Shekar began his career working on the Human Genome Project at the Dept. of Human Genetics, Univ. of Pennsylvania, developing algorithms for protein modeling. He was part of some of the pioneering groups (early 90s) in BioInformatics at UPenn,  and at the Dept. of Human Genetics, UNLV, where he applied speech recognition techniques to identify and classify genetic sequences.  He then continued onto AT&T Bell Labs, working in the Speech Recognition group as a consultant developing data collection algorithms where he also acquired significant expertise in systems engineering. He then later moved on to Systems Engineering, architecting & implementing infrastructure solutions for a large Fortune 500 company working in both consulting and management roles.Shekar Raman has a Bachelor of Engineering degree in Electronics and Communications from Osmania University, Hyderabad India. He went to Graduate School at Villanova University where he obtained a MS in Electrical Engineering with a focus on Digital Signal Processing and Pattern Recognition.

Gary Hawkins has lived his career ahead of the curve, putting him in the right place at the right time to help guide the fast moving consumer goods retail industry into the future in a time of exponential technology growth using never-before-available capabilities to innovate the future of shopping. Early in his career, Hawkins launched one of the first loyalty programs in the US supermarket sector, quickly leading industry learning around shopper insights and analytics. That work quickly led to advising premier retailers in markets around the world in gaining customer intelligence. Next up was helping companies like Procter & Gamble and Unilever develop a shopper focus and leverage customer insights and analytics into collaborative marketing initiatives with key retailers, laying the foundation for today’s shopper marketing movement. Realizing the ineffectiveness of mass marketing across the supply chain, Hawkins leveraged early insight to new innovative technologies to develop and deploy the first personalized marketing system for mass retail, driving industry focus on the power of marketing personalization. Hawkins leverages his unique perspective into his role as strategic advisor at Birdzi to help guide business strategy, product roadmap, sales and marketing.

This is Us!

The Retail Perch podcast is hosted by the powerful duo Shekar Raman, CEO of Birdzi and Gary Hawkins, CEO of Center for Advancing Retail & Technology (CART).
This podcast aims to provide a fresh perspective and framework for how grocery retail is viewed. Whether you're a retailer, entrepreneur, or a curious mind tuning in, there is something in store for everyone. Each Monday, your hosts will share supermarket analysis, personal stories about the industry, along with their views to provide you with further insight into everything retail grocery and AI.

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Our Videos

Interview with David Matthews of RevTech Ventures

Entrepreneurs and start-ups, this episode is for you. This week, Gary and Shekar get to pick the brain of venture capitalist, David Matthews from RevTech Ventures. David shares his ideas of what makes a ...

Interview with David Matthews of RevTech Ventures

Entrepreneurs and start-ups, this episode is for you. This week, Gary and Shekar get to pick the brain of venture capitalist, David Matthews from RevTech Ventures. David shares his ideas of what makes a ...

Interview with David Matthews of RevTech Ventures

Entrepreneurs and start-ups, this episode is for you. This week, Gary and Shekar get to pick the brain of venture capitalist, David Matthews from RevTech Ventures. David shares his ideas of what makes a ...

Interview with David Matthews of RevTech Ventures

Entrepreneurs and start-ups, this episode is for you. This week, Gary and Shekar get to pick the brain of venture capitalist, David Matthews from RevTech Ventures. David shares his ideas of what makes a ...

The Retail PerchInterview with Gary Hawkins on Retail 4.0Play VideoInterview with Gary Hawkins on Retail 4.0

Are you ready for the future of retail? This week on The Retail Perch, our host Gary Hawkins turns ...

The Retail PerchRetail RoundupPlay VideoRetail Roundup

In this episode, Shekar and Gary discuss the latest news in retail technology. They offer their speculations regarding the Amazon/Spartan Nash relationship, and offer insights into biometric ...

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