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Karakuri named among 50 global tech start-ups powering the new retail world

Posted on Tuesday April 28, 2020 in Karakuri News

Karakuri is among the top 50 retail tech start-ups operating globally, according to a new report published today by RWRC – home of Retail Week and World Retail Congress.

Retailers worldwide are scrutinising their business models more closely than ever, as they grapple with the impact of the coronavirus crisis and seek to deliver sales and maintain relevance among consumers.

There is a growing realisation in boardrooms that collaboration with start-ups and third parties is crucial to achieve these aims and to better position businesses within the new post-Covid-19 world of commerce.

Profiling the top 50 global retail tech start-ups, the Discovery 50 report analyses the influential role start-ups including Karakuri play in this new world.

Start-ups were judged and shortlisted by a panel of retail and business experts including retail consultant Ian Shephard, retail analyst Natalie Berg, former Morrisons CTO Anna Barsby, Co:Cubed chief executive Jeremy Basset, Retail Week head of insight Lisa Byfield-Green and more.

The report also offers advice on how leaders can open themselves up to new and different ways of thinking and the benefits this can have on the bottom line.

For instance, a 2018 report from professional services company Accenture found only 6% of corporate businesses were generating a significant proportion of their income from new activities and investments. However, this same 6% reported the strongest financial performance of all 1,440 companies Accenture surveyed.

Retail Week commercial content editor Megan Dunsby commented: “The Discovery 50 shows how start-ups can offer a lifeline for retailers.

“Now is the time for businesses to think about how they could work differently with the start-up community and build synergies; from creating a fast-track, light-touch process for forming contractual relationships to pre-allocating some funding that can be used for trials.

“Retailers should look to the Discovery 50 as a directory of the best start-ups to work with.”


The Discovery 50 report, published today by RWRC, showcases the world’s top tech start-ups and shines a light on innovative solutions that can support the retail sector – both during the pandemic and in the future.

  • Top 50 judged and shortlisted by a panel of retail and business experts
  • Start-ups launched on, or after, January 1, 2013, and have worked with retailers either through a pilot or full-scale solution to help them transform their businesses
  • Report serves as a directory of the best start-ups to work with, at a time when collaboration is crucial

Access the Discovery 50 report in full here.

Business Insider feature Karakuri in the most exciting healthcare startups in Europe

Posted on Friday February 7, 2020 in Karakuri News

Karakuri Business Insider Top healthcare startup

Business Insider have just included karakuri in their list of 11 of the most exciting startups across European health, from sleep diagnostics to VR-based therapy:

“Robot nutrition, AI drug discovery, and neuro-rehabilitation: 11 of the most exciting healthcare startups in Europe

European health tech is booming.

According to an in-depth report on Europe’s tech by Atomico, a major European VC firm, $3.6 billion was invested in health-related tech firms in Europe between January and September 2019. That’s a six-fold increase on the $624 million invested in European health startups in the whole of 2015.

Martin Mignot, a partner at the London-based multinational VC firm Index Ventures, told Business Insider that Europe’s advanced public health networks make for an especially friendly entrepreneurial environment.

“European founders tend to have an advantage in the healthcare sector,” Mignot said. “The delivery of healthcare via public systems makes healthcare less fragmented than elsewhere in the world, creating an opportunity for innovation at scale.

“This level of innovation is welcome news for patients, who as a result will have easier access to improved healthcare services; for the public purse, which will benefit from the increased efficiency; and for society, who are empowered to move to a more preventative approach to health,” he added.

No 6: Karakuri (UK)

Led by CEO Barney Wragg, Karakuri has built ‘robot chefs’ to automate and improve food preparation. It ultimately aims to provide hungry workers everywhere with personalized, ultra-precise meals that can be tweaked to accommodate individual dietary requirements and taste preferences.

Karakuri also aims to use its tech to reduce reliance on plastic packaging, and it has partnered with UK online supermarket Ocado, which is also its main backer. Wragg was named in BI’s list of the 100 most important and impactful people in UK tech for 2019.”

Read the full Business Insider article >

Karakuri listed as one of Wired Magazines Hottest Start-Up in London 2019

Posted on Monday August 19, 2019 in Karakuri News

Wired September / October 2019

Karakuri’s first prototype, a robot named Marley – 1.5 by 1.5 metres, with an arm and 12 ingredient dispensers – can serve up to 120 bespoke meals per hour, each customised according to portion size and nutritional content. “There’s been no shortage of press stories about the economic pressures on restaurants and other service providers and the huge waste problem the industry has,” Barney Wagg, CEO of Karakuri, says. “The genesis of Karakuri was born out of a realisation that the foodservice market needed an update. The emergence of lower-cost robotics and machine learning systems has the potential to transform the ready-to-eat meal market.” In May 2019, Karakuri secured a £7m investment, led by Ocado, with Hoxton Ventures, Firstminute Capital and Taylor Brothers. Ocado expects to take delivery of the first Karakuri machine in late 2019.

Read the full article here

Karakuri voted one of EU-Startups Top 10 London tech start-ups to watch in 2019 and beyond

Posted on Monday August 12, 2019 in Karakuri News

Despite the climate of uncertainty,  London continues to churn out innovative startups with the potential to grow throughout Europe.

Karakuri has been selected as one of London’s most interesting startups by, read more about it here!


UK set to lead restaurant and food industry robotics as Karakuri secures £7m investment, led by Ocado

Posted on Thursday May 9, 2019 in Karakuri News, Press Releases

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[1]. 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 ( , 07969673895)

About Karakuri

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.

About Ocado

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 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.

[1] Nielsen Global Health and Ingredient-Sentiment Survey, August 2016


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