Connected Robotics (CR), developer of specialized Robot Solutions for Cooking, has successfully completed raising of 850 million yen in the Series A investment round
Sony Corporation of America - 07/08/2019
TOKYO, July 8, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Connected Robotics Inc., which develops specialized robot systems for cooking in restaurant kitchens under the vision: "innovating the kitchen by robots," has completed procurement of approximately 850 million yen in the Series A investment round1 with Global Brain Corporation as lead investor alongside 31VENTURES Global Innovation Fund, UTokyo Innovation Platform Co., Ltd., Sony Innovation Fund, and 500 Startups JP, L.L.C. This brings the total investment in Connected Robotics up to 950 million yen.
Specialized robot solutions for labor shortages in the Food and Beverage (F&B) industry
As labor shortages become increasingly serious, labor-saving and automation of cooking have become hot topics. "I actually worked at a restaurant after graduate school but my health broke down within a year due to overwork from the long hours and heavy manual labor. This firsthand experience has made me determined to bring about relief to those in the kitchen by replacing simple and heavy work with robots," said Tetsuya Sawanobori, CEO.
CR provides solutions by combining robot control know-how accumulated from robot product development experience in manufacturing along with sensing and learning technology using deep learning to make robots in the kitchen intelligent. CR aims to develop robot systems that bear the brunt of the work in the kitchen, leaving staff to concentrate on the more humanistic side of work, thus providing a delightful environment for both those serving as well as the dining customers.
These very real issues of labor shortages and rising labor costs are not in any way limited to the F&B industry in Japan. Moreover, "Robots that can cook Japanese cuisine do not exist in other countries. We want to expand the accessibility of Japanese cuisine to the world through robots that take advantage of Japan's high technology," added Sawanobori.
Accelerating sales channel expansion and new robot technology development
Currently, CR already has a "Takoyaki" robot service called "Octo Chef" that functions by using deep learning to judge the cooking condition of Takoyaki as well as an automatic soft-serve ice cream robot service called "Reita" in the market. CR will accelerate research and development toward the productization of an automatic dishwasher robot service "Dish Washing System", "Hot Snack Robots" for convenience stores, as well as an automatic breakfast cooking robot service "Loraine".
Comments from the investors:
- Global Brain Corporation, CEO, Mr. Yasuhiko Yurimoto
We decided to invest in Connected Robotics Inc that has such an advanced development of cooking robot technology since we recognize their high marketability. We want to support the business growth of Connected Robotics which will in turn contribute to the alleviation of the shortage of human resources in the food and beverage industry and beyond.
- 31 VENTURES Global Innovation Fund, GM, Mr. Akira Sugawara
In commercial facilities such as LaLaport, labor shortages in restaurants has become a pressing issue. We support the technology developed by Connected Robotics which we hope will flourish not only in the developed country of Japan, but will also be deployable worldwide.
- Sony Innovation Fund, Senior Investment Manager, Mr. Atsushi Kitagawa
Connected Robotics is a start-up that can provide a "grounded" solution for the labor shortage in the food and beverage industry that has been recognized as a major social issue. They are based on a hybrid model that combines their management team's technology along with business insight into the robot and restaurant industries. We look forward to the company's further growth in taking on the world and introducing a groundbreaking experience for stakeholders involved in the food and beverage industry.
- UTokyo Innovation Platform, Partners, Mr. Shoichiro Fukushima & Mr. Naohiro Mizumoto
In recent years, there has been a plethora of new businesses of the "existing industry × technology" variety. Connected Robotics transcends this by combining three elements: "F&B × Robot × AI". As this is an approach that takes into account the knowledge base of various academia including the University of Tokyo, and turns it into reality, we feel a kinship and have decided to support this great vision of sending Japanese food to the world.
- 500 Startups Japan (now Coral Capital), Managing Partner, Mr. Yohei Sawayama
As the first investors in Connected Robotics Inc, we cannot hide our delight that their business of innovating cooking with robots is on such a fast track. This is surely due to such an excellent team gathered under the excellent leadership of Mr. Sawanobori who has also succeeded in enhancing the start-up's appeal to larger companies. We are excited by their prospects as they innovate and transform the Japanese food industry and look forward to their global expansion. We will continue to do our best to wholeheartedly support alongside all the other investors who participated in this round!
Connected Robotics Inc
2-24-16, Nakamachi, Koganei-city, Tokyo
developing and providing specialized robot systems for
480 million yen
1 The series A investment round is the initial investment round in which venture capitals and other companies invest in startup companies. It is a stage that is mainly aimed at starting a business and creating a product by technology development with focus on product planning, core and complementary technology development.
SOURCE Sony Innovation Fund; Connected Robotics