appmarsh | Additional cheese, please: Eating place tech startup Picnic lands $5M for pizza robotic

Picnic’s robotic assembles pizza at a fee of 300 according to hour. (appmarsh Picture / James Thorne)

Seattle startup Picnic, which makes robots for the eating place trade, raised $5 million in a seed spherical led by way of Inventive Ventures with returning buyers Flying Fish Companions and Vulcan Capital.

The brand new money will likely be used to design the following iteration of Picnic’s pizza robotic in addition to to pursue further pilots. Centerplate, a caterer at T-Cell Park in Seattle, was once the primary to check the pizza machine.

The small startup went viral remaining month after it debuted a pizza-assembling robot this is in a position to generating 300 pizzas according to hour. Picnic’s machine even made an appearance on James Corden’s Overdue Overdue Display.

“Now we have had hobby from in every single place the arena, all other forms of shoppers. It is very transparent that we have an ability that individuals are very serious about and one that does not exist out available in the market at the present time,” mentioned Picnic CEO Clayton Wood.


Lead investor Inventive Ventures backs different food-related startups together with good buying groceries cart startup Caper and Dishcraft Robotics, which sells a dishwashing provider to eating places this is powered by way of robotics. The San Francisco-based project capital company price range corporations which might be the use of tech to take on exertions productiveness, local weather alternate, and demographic demanding situations.

“Picnic squarely addresses a urgent problem in our trendy financial system from exertions shortages throughout many of the advanced (and creating) global. Meals products and services is one of the sectors on the center of the crunch with emerging exertions prices, extra call for for employees, but fewer staff taking jobs within the sector,” mentioned James Wang, common spouse at Inventive Ventures, in an electronic mail.

Picnic CEO Clayton Picket. (Picnic Picture)

Robot cooks have not begun to head mainstream, however Little Caesar’s has a patent for a pizza-making robotic. And Domino’s is automating lots of its processes, together with a pilot for driverless pizza delivery and an experimental drone delivery system. San Francisco-based Zume has raised $445 million with backing from SoftBank to create a pizza robotic machine and different robotics infrastructure for eating places.

To lend a hand refine its {hardware}, Picnic employed Kennard Nielsen as vice chairman of engineering. Nielsen in the past labored on Amazon’s Kindle Hearth, Nike’s FuelBand, and the primary Xbox Kinect for Microsoft. “Other folks say {hardware} is difficult. And [Nielsen] is a man who is aware of the way to ship {hardware},” mentioned Picket.

Picnic additionally employed vice chairman of product Mike McLaughlin, who brings prior meals trade revel in via his paintings with Starbucks, Concordia Espresso Techniques and Bunn, which makes industrial beverage machines.

Designing a pizza-making robotic for normal eating place kitchens is difficult. The machine needs to be small, dependable, reasonably priced and adaptable. One promoting level of Picnic’s robotic is that it may be preconfigured to make as regards to any recipe.

Now not everybody was once proud of Picnic’s pizza robotic. Twitter customers sounded off at the machine and pizza, deriding it as unappetizing, messy and chargeable for getting rid of human jobs. (I ate a pizza assembled by way of Picnic’s robotic and idea it tasted like a pizza from a baseball stadium — tasty and filling, however no longer connoisseur. The crust was once pre-frozen and it was once baked in an electrical oven, so my expectancies had been low.)

Picnic’s pizza robotic is perfect for high-volume settings like ballparks and cafeterias, however the system may well be utilized in higher-end eating places too. (Picnic Picture)

Picket defended his corporations in opposition to the critics, announcing that the corporate has since demonstrated that its robotic could make upscale pizzas with hand-tossed crust and fancier components. For the reason that machine simply assembles toppings, a cafe may just use any roughly crust and baking manner it needs.

“The Centerplate pizza is a brilliant pizza. We in point of fact did not consider folks judging the machine by way of having a look on the pizza, however they positive did,” mentioned Picket.

Along with sports activities stadiums, Picnic is having a look to promote to venues like company campuses, cruise strains and clinic cafeterias. Picket mentioned the following design of its pizza robotic may well be in a position for manufacturing following a pilot segment.

Every other Seattle startup, Souszen, recently came out of stealth mode and printed its plans to automate the industrial kitchen.

by the use of

Published by Marshmallow

Marshmallow Android is BT Ireland’s Head of Sales for Republic of Ireland domestic multi-site companies, indigenous MNCs and public sector accounts. He is responsible for the direction and control of all sales activity in the region. He has over 10 years management experience from high growth start-ups to more established businesses. He’s led teams in Ireland, India and China across various industries (ICT, On-Line Recruitment, Corporate Training and International Education).