Miso Robotics Inc., which makes the Flippy robot for frying food, announced the official start of its Series C equity crowdfunding campaign.
The Pasadena, Calif.-based company announced its plan to raise up to $30 million last November, and it has obtained approval from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Miso is collaborating on the round with SeedInvest and Wavemaker Labs.
Miso Robotics had a pre-funding valuation of $80 million last year, and it has already secured more than $3 million in reservations and $860,000 since opening the campaign.
Flippy draws favorable attention
Miso Robotics’ autonomous kitchen assistant robot was first launched in the CaliBurger chain. Flippy has prepared hamburgers and French fries at multiple locations, including Dodger Stadium. The company said its system applies machine learning and robotics to relieve human staffers of tedium and improves product safety.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has caused slowdowns for many industries, interest in automation has continued to increase in the past month, said SeedInvest. CaliBurger is using technologies including Flippy to limit human contact with food.
“In the current environment, we are especially interested in startups that might thrive due to the impact of COVID-19,” said Ryan Feit, co-founder and CEO of SeedInvest. “There will likely be strong tailwinds for robotics solutions in the hospitality sector, and we believe that Miso is uniquely positioned to potentially capitalize.”
Rethinking funding approach
Flippy’s notoriety caused Miso to rethink its fundraising approach. “With an equity crowdfunding approach, individual investors can enter the field without access to a large source of capital,” said the company. “The model gives an average person the opportunity to bring transformative technologies, like Miso Robotics, to market.”
“Interested parties can invest in the raise with a minimum of $1,500,” Miso said. “In return, they receive ownership of a small piece of the company, which will increase or decrease in value with the company’s fortunes.”
“It has become clear that the traditional [venture capital] fundraising model has limited the investor pool to only heavyweight companies for far too long,” stated said Buck Jordan, CEO of Miso Robotics. “There is so much exciting innovation underway in AI and ML that the average person wants the opportunity to invest.”
“The demand is really starting to disrupt the VC landscape, with more companies opening themselves up to smaller individual investors – it has been a growing trend, and Miso Robotics is excited to allow more people to shape a healthier and more productive kitchen environment for the future,” he added.
Miso Robotics said it plans to use the funding to “accelerate speed to market for Flippy ROAR” and expand its team, which already includes data science, industrial engineering, and robotics experts from leading universities.