Venture Capital: Dexai Robotics Raises $5.5M To Develop Alfred, an Aspiring Robotic Chef
Plug-and-play Alfred (in the picture) can rustle up a salad bowl.
Dexai Robotics addresses the labor shortage in the restaurant industry by developing AI-powered robotics for commercial kitchens. It raised $5.5 million in a seed round led by Hyperplane Venture Capital. (Perishable News.com)
New investors in the startup included Rho Capital, Harlem Capital, Contour Venture Partners, and NextView Ventures.
Alfred, the Dexai-built robot, can prepare meals in existing kitchens from different cuisines. It is plug-and-play convenience personified. Its artificial intelligence software immediately recognizes its surroundings and sets it up for the task at hand. By using standard utensils, it can prepare a range of dishes such as ice cream sundaes, quinoa bowls, and poke.
“We’re teaching robots how to ‘see’ and identify different objects and foodstuffs, and prepare the delicious recipes that people already know and enjoy,” said David MS Johnson, Dexai’s CEO and Co-Founder.
One of the main challenges faced by restaurants in the US is the recruitment, training, and retention of employees. This is a result of the acute labor shortage in the industry.
“There appear to be no signs of that abating,” said Michael Kaufman, a Dexai adviser and a past chair of the National Restaurant Association’s board. “Alfred is an impressive and thoughtfully designed solution for restaurant operators to consider.”
Moreover, Alfred is superior to human beings in speed and accuracy and can be used to prepare salads, bowls, etc. without any alteration to a quick-service restaurant’s layout or recipes.
“The Dexai team identified a huge need in the food industry, resulting from shifting eating habits where people eat much more away from the home, and the rise of delivery, evidenced by the rapid growth of ghost kitchens and food ordering platforms,” said Vivjan Myrto, a Managing Partner at Hyperplane. He has joined the Dexai Board of Directors.
Other robotic raisings
Hyperplane has also invested in Soft Robotics Inc., a startup building bots with dexterous gripping “hands.” In January, Soft raised $23 million in a Series B round co-led by Calibrate Ventures and Material Impact. Existing investors Honeywell, Scale, Tekfen Ventures, and Yamaha participated in the round. FANUC Corp., the world’s largest industrial robot manufacturer, also came on board.
Meanwhile, in December, Dusty Robotics, maker of the world’s most advanced building layout robot for the construction industry, closed a $5 million seed round led by NextGen Venture Partners. Existing investors Baseline Ventures, Root Ventures, and Cantos Ventures also participated.
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