Interest in robotics for food preparation and delivery has only accelerated with the novel coronavirus pandemic. Piestro, a startup automating pizza making, today announced that it is partnering with Kiwibot, which provides a robot delivery service, to offer consumers touchless, contactless pizza deliveries. Santa Monica, Calf.-based Piestro also announced a second crowdfunding campaign after its previous round had an oversubscription of investor interest.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has hurt many industries, but both national and local pizzerias have seen growing business. Demand for technologies to enable local and regional pizzeria operators to expand their takeout reach at a fraction of current cost, as well as help new operators capitalize on the $46.3 billion U.S. pizza market, has surged, according to Piestro.
Piestro launched in July with a standalone, fully integrated cooking system and dispenser that delivers artisanal pizzas within three minutes. The company said its system combines robotics, precision control, and actuation to make consistent, high-quality food available in public spaces closer to where consumers live, such as apartment complex lobbies.
Berkeley, Calif.-based Kiwibot was founded in 2017 and said it has made more than 100,000 deliveries and built over 200 mobile robots. The pandemic has caused consumers to spend more time at home and forced many restaurants and fast-food operations to shift their focus to takeout and delivery options. It has also led to demand for minimal human contact because of health and safety concerns, said the companies.
Kiwibot provides robots to bring pizza door to door
Piestro said the latest version of its automated pizzeria will come integrated with a dispensing mechanism for Kiwibot, allowing for contactless delivery. Customers can select their preferred pizza design through a purchasing app. An order will be registered with Kiwibot, which will dispatch a bot to a Piestro location.
The automated system will then prepare the pizza, timing it to dispense upon the mobile robot’s arrival for maximum freshness and quality, said the companies. Kiwibot said it will pick up the pizza and deliver it directly to the consumer, creating a fully contactless experience from the time a pizza is made to the moment it is received.
“This is such an exciting partnership for us,” stated Massimo De Marco, CEO of Piestro. “The demand we saw was so high to bring Piestro to market, and we knew it was the right time to really double down on our product roadmap to meet the needs of operators and customer alike. Integrating Kiwibot into our system and making fresh, deliciously crafted pizzas accessible in an easy, fast, and contactless format positions us to bring our Piestro automated pizzeria to market stronger than ever.”
“Kiwibot is all about affordable delivery and contactless execution” said David Rodriguez, head of business at Kiwibot. “Partnering with Piestro is great synergy for consumers who want to have access to their local pizza favorites with speedy delivery and seamless ease. Our relationship with Piestro is just one more way operators can offset the big margin cuts normal delivery services take that make it so difficult to stay in business.”
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Piestro launches second StartEngine campaign
Piestro is backed by Wavemaker Partners, a global venture capital fund with $400 million in assets under management, and Wavemaker Labs, a food automation-focused venture studio. Piestro, which is valued ta $12 million, said its founders and staff have experience from companies including Miso Robotics, Kitchen United, SBE Entertainment Group, Graze Autonomous Mowers, and Wolfgang Puck.
Because of the oversubscription of interest in its first crowdfunding campaign, Piestro has launched a second one seeking minimum investments of $1,000 on StartEngine. The company said it has “evolved” its product roadmap and intends “to give more everyday investors an opportunity to bring fresh, quality pizza to the masses.”