9 May 2019 – How and what we eat in restaurants or on-the-go is changing thanks to new robotics startup Karakuri and its £7million seed investment, led by Ocado. With growing demand for personalised nutrition as part of a healthy lifestyle, Karakuri uses the latest innovation in robotics, machine learning, optics and sensors to allow restaurants and food retailers to offer personalised, freshly prepared, high quality meals, which maximise nutritional benefits and minimise food waste.
Research shows that almost two-thirds of consumers globally follow a diet that limits or prohibits consumption of some foods or ingredients. Whether you have a food intolerance or are following a diet plan, Karakuri’s system personalises any meal using its robots to dispense the exact ingredients and quantities into that dish. For restaurants and food retailers, Karakuri’s technologies also represent a way to move away from mass pre-packaged meals and significantly reduce food waste.
The £7million seed fundraise is led by Ocado, and includes investments from Hoxton Ventures, firstminute capital and Taylor Brothers. The funding will be used to further develop the company’s technology, strengthen its IP base and expand its team for global growth. The investment in Karakuri gives Ocado the opportunity to expand its value proposition in grocery, especially through Ocado Zoom, its new immediacy offer, and also provides their Ocado Solutions partners with innovative answers to the challenges of building a strong and profitable food delivery business. Ocado expects to take delivery of the first of Karakuri’s machines in late 2019.
Karakuri CEO and co-founder, Barney Wragg, said, “At Karakuri, we are dedicated to providing smart new ways to create and prepare fresh personalised meals. Consumer eating habits in and out of the home are changing rapidly as demand increases for healthier options that match specific dietary requirements. This growth in menu personalisation is putting huge pressure on restaurants, cafes and other food retailers. These providers have historically relied on identically mass produced meals to maintain their profit margins. By using robotics and machine learning, Karakuri’s systems provide localised micro-manufacturing within an existing restaurant, retail or commercial kitchen. Our systems prepare personalised meals onsite in real time to the exact requirements of each customer. At the same time, our technology aims to minimise food waste, packaging and distribution costs and all of the associated environmental impact.”
Tim Steiner, CEO of Ocado added, “Ocado is constantly striving to identify the best and most innovative solutions to provide consumers with the greatest possible value, choice and convenience. Our investment in Karakuri, potentially a game-changer in the preparation of food-to-go, gives us the opportunity to bring the best innovation to the benefit of our own customers as well as our partners”.
Brent Hoberman, Karakuri’s founding chairman, co-founder of Founders Factory and General Partner at firstminute Capital added, “The time is now for robotics and AI to drive change in the restaurant and food services business. Barney and Simon have assembled a world-class team to go after one the next large markets to be enhanced by this technology. We are delighted that Ocado, a global leader in robotics and distribution, has chosen to invest in Karakuri to lead the innovation in this sector.”
Karakuri emerges from the Founders Factory incubator with the goal of utilising groundbreaking intelligent robotics, to transform how we eat for the better and reduce food waste. Co-founders Barney Wragg, Simon Watt and Brent Hoberman, are focussed on growing Karakuri into the segment-defining food automation providers. Karakuri’s advisory board includes industry experts from ARM, Ocado, Imperial College, Bristol Robotics Lab and Edinburgh Centre for Robotics.
Notes to Editors
For all enquiries relating to Karakuri, please contact Laura Moross (firstname.lastname@example.org , 07969673895)
Karakuri is a UK based technology company designing, manufacturing and installing robotic automation systems for restaurants, commercial kitchens and caterers.
Born out of the Founders Factory incubator, Karakuri was founded by Simon Watt and Barney Wragg, two longtime friends and colleagues who originally worked together at ARM in the 90s. In April 2018 Founders Factory invested Karakuri and Brent Hoberman joined the board as Chairmen.
Ocado is a UK based company admitted to trading on the London Stock Exchange (Ticker OCDO). It comprises one of the world’s largest dedicated online grocery retailers, operating its own grocery and general merchandise retail businesses under Ocado.com and other specialist shop banners, together with its Solutions division. In February 2019, Ocado Group announced the creation of an online grocery retail joint venture with Marks & Spencer plc, one of the UK’s leading food and clothing retailers.
About Ocado Solutions
Ocado Solutions is responsible for corporate partnerships, providing the Ocado Smart Platform as a service to retailers around the world. OSP comprises access to Ocado’s physical infrastructure solutions, running highly efficient warehouse operations for the single pick of products, together with the entire end-to-end proprietary software applications required to operate a world class online grocery business. It is underpinned by Ocado’s proven expertise and experience as a dedicated online grocer in the UK.
About Founders Factory
Founders Factory is the world’s best partner for founders. Started by Brent Hoberman and Henry Lane Fox, Founders Factory has received investment from Marks & Spencer, L’Oreal, easyJet, Guardian Media Group, Aviva, Holtzbrinck and CSC. Combined with its full-time team of 70 specialists it provides founders with the best platform to launch or scale their startup.
 Nielsen Global Health and Ingredient-Sentiment Survey, August 2016