This Funding Will Enable CR to Expand Sales Channels and Enhance the Marketing of New Robots and Robot Services Through the Acquisition of Talented Employees and the Strengthening of Technological Capabilities.
Connected Robotics Inc., which develops specialized robot systems for cooking in restaurant kitchens under the vision: “innovating the kitchen by robots,” has completed procurement of approximately 850 million yen in the Series A investment round1 with Global Brain Corporation as lead investor alongside 31VENTURES Global Innovation Fund, UTokyo Innovation Platform Co., Ltd., Sony Innovation Fund, and 500 Startups JP, L.L.C. This brings the total investment in Connected Robotics up to 950 million yen.
Specialized robot solutions for labor shortages in the Food and Beverage (F&B) industry
As labor shortages become increasingly serious, labor-saving and automation of cooking have become hot topics. “I actually worked at a restaurant after graduate school but my health broke down within a year due to overwork from the long hours and heavy manual labor. This firsthand experience has made me determined to bring about relief to those in the kitchen by replacing simple and heavy work with robots,” said Tetsuya Sawanobori, CEO.
CR provides solutions by combining robot control know-how accumulated from robot product development experience in manufacturing along with sensing and learning technology using deep learning to make robots in the kitchen intelligent. CR aims to develop robot systems that bear the brunt of the work in the kitchen, leaving staff to concentrate on the more humanistic side of work, thus providing a delightful environment for both those serving as well as the dining customers.
These very real issues of labor shortages and rising labor costs are not in any way limited to the F&B industry in Japan. Moreover, “Robots that can cook Japanese cuisine do not exist in other countries. We want to expand the accessibility of Japanese cuisine to the world through robots that take advantage of Japan’s high technology,” added Sawanobori.
Accelerating sales channel expansion and new robot technology development
Currently, CR already has a “Takoyaki” robot service called “Octo Chef” that functions by using deep learning to judge the cooking condition of Takoyaki as well as an automatic soft-serve ice cream robot service called “Reita” in the market. CR will accelerate research and development toward the productization of an automatic dishwasher robot service “Dish Washing System”, “Hot Snack Robots” for convenience stores, as well as an automatic breakfast cooking robot service “Loraine”.