SoftBank-backed Bear Robotics raises $ 81 million for waiting robot rollout

SoftBank-backed food service robot startup Bear Robotics has raised $ 81 million (approximately Rs. 616 crore) with investors in a Series B fundraiser, including Cleveland Avenue, a venture capital firm founded by a former McDonald’s chief executive.

Other investors include South Korean private equity firm IMM and telco Katie Corp., co-founder and chief operating officer of the startup, Juan Higueros, who told Reuters he declined to disclose the firm’s latest valuation.

Beer Robotics has shipped more than 5,000 serviced food service robots that carry food and beverages between kitchens and tables, and has partnered with industry players such as Denny’s, Chili’s and Pepsi.

The California-based startup aims to expand its home market and beyond Japan and South Korea, where it has partnered with SoftBank and KT in Europe and Southeast Asia, respectively, to address industrial labor shortages.

SoftBank has led the startup to a series A round and has moved to resale robots from third parties, forming a joint venture with home appliance manufacturer Iris Ohiyama in Japan.

Beer Robotics charges a monthly fee of $ 999 (approximately 76 76,000) for a service in the United States, which costs the robot about $ 2.75 (approximately 21 210) per hour, Higuerros said.

The startup plans to roll out two new robots this year, one that can detect air quality in motion and the other that can carry elevators from the lobby of a building upstairs.

As Beer Robotics manufactures its products in South Korea, the company relies on its production chiefs, who previously worked for Foxconn in Taiwan, to help navigate supply chain pressures “difficult to manage,” Higuerros said.

Thomson Reuters 2022

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