John Lert, Founder & CEO

John Lert

Founder & CEO, Alert Innovation

John Lert has enjoyed a 40-year career solving business problems through technology, as both an inventor and entrepreneur. He has worked across several different technology and application domains and has made significant contributions in most of them. In the field of media research, he invented the world’s first successful automated system for tracking television commercials, which became the Monitor-Plus service of Nielsen Media Research. In consumer-facing retail technology, he has developed advanced solutions for in-aisle self-checkout and multi-queue-management. He is a named inventor on more that 45 issued or pending US patents. 

Nearly 25 years ago, Lert began thinking about the possibility of an automated supermarket, and this interest led him to study automated materials handling technologies. He saw an opportunity to innovate within that field through the application of mobile robotics, and in 2007, he founded the company Symbotic to commercialize his invention of a mobile-robotic technology to automate case-picking in retail distribution centers, which won an Edison Award for innovation in 2013. 

Lert sold Symbotic in 2009 and left the company in 2011 to begin working on an automated each-picking technology that would make it possible to realize his vision of the automated supermarket. The result is Alphabot, which he co-invented with Bill Fosnight, Co-founder and Chief Technical Officer of Alert Innovation. In 2016, Lert and Fosnight launched Alert Innovation to develop Alphabot in collaboration with Walmart. The first commercial pilot of that technology went live in March 2019 in a Walmart supercenter in Salem, NH. 

John Lert is a US citizen living near Boston, MA. He received both BA and MBA degrees from the University of Virginia.