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Kiwibot Wrapping its Robots with Disney's "Encanto"
Plus A&K drone delivery, DoorDash's robot, Miso's new money, pizza, and PitchBook.
It’s Thanksgiving week here in the U.S. Wherever you are, thank you for being a subscriber!
Scoop! Disney Wraps Itself Around Kiwibot
Pretty soon, when a robot is out delivering food to you, it will be delivering something else — eyeballs. That’s right, in addition to dropping off your burritos, branded robots will act as mini-billboards that cruise around city streets and sidewalks showing off advertisements.
Kiwibot went ahead and jumped into the deep end of the ad pool by nabbing a deal with Disney. The Mouse House will deliver tickets and wrap Kiwibot robots in branding for the feature films Encanto and Ron’s Gone Wrong.
If Disney is experimenting with robot branding now when there are just a handful of robots out making deliveries — just imagine what these autonomous ad vehicles will look like when there are thousands of them scurrying around cities across the country. Those small robots will generate big ad deals.
Kiwibot CEO Felipe Chávez Cortés gave me the skinny on the Disney deal, as well as how his company is providing real-time data to cities where his robots are deployed.
A&K Prepaing Drone Food Delivery for Takeoff in Nigeria
One good reason for food-by-drones is that it can take full-sized delivery cars off the road. But what if the roads themselves are an issue?
In an interview this week, Kingsley Mazi, Co-Founder and CEO of A&K Courier Delivery Services in Nigeria, told me that he is launching Nigeria’s first drone delivery service in part because the road networks there are so bad.
Drone deliveries are popping up all over the world right now, and one appeal of drones is that they can leapfrog over certain infrastructure problems like bad streets and traffic congestion that could stymie ground-based transportation.
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OttOmate’s Pizza Automation Event Sessions Now Available
OMG. If you missed our Pizza Automation Event last Friday — you. missed. out!
Not only was it a lot of fun, but we all learned a ton about the future of food robots, restaurants and even delivery.
If you couldn’t make any or all of the event, it’s all online now and available for paid OttOmate subscribers. So go check them out!
Should DoorDash Build its Own Delivery Robots?
No. Next question!
Juuust kidding. The Robot Report got the scoop yesterday on DoorDash patent filings for a delivery robot. There’s still a lot we don’t know about the program, but the bigger question is whether DoorDash should be building its own robot.
Do any gains it gets from designing, prototyping and building its own hardware outweigh the costs in time, resources and focus?
I go through the pros and cons of such a vertically integrated move, and point out that DoorDash’s current robot design looks a lot like the vintage cartoon character, Speed Buggy.
Flippy Fires Up $35 Million in Crowdfunding
At the end of last week, Miso Robotics closed its latest equity crowdfunding campaign, having raised $35 million from more than 8,000 investors. Miso has now raised nearly $60 million via equity crowdfunding.
I really hope the folks at Miso Robotics/Wavemaker Labs take a break this holiday because they have been busy this fall. In addition to crowdfunding, over the past month Miso has launched Flippy 2, the latest version of its cooking robot, and Flippy Wings through a partnership with Inspire Brands and Buffalo Wild Wings.
I realize Flippy never gets tired, but biz dev and finance people do.
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So About that PitchBook Report on Drink Robots…
There’s a business adage that I try to live by: Praise in public, criticize in private. So it’s a little weird to be writing this — but I was befuddled by the Beverage Robot report that PitchBook released last week.
PitchBook is awesome, and its market data is invaluable.
So I was confused by this report which wound up being a mish-mash of a lot of different things: home countertop appliances, vending machines, standalone robotic kiosks.
It focused on some key players (Botrista, Cafe X) while completely ignoring others (Costa Coffee/Briggo, Crown Digital). I actually sent a note to the analyst about the report but never heard back.
My concern is that PitchBook is, again, awesome. So people value its reports. But if someone new to the beverage automation space started with this particular report, they’d get a skewed sense of what the market is.
I’d honestly love your thoughts, take a look at the report and let me know.
That’s it for this week. Enjoy time with your family (but stay safe!).
Stay cool. Have a great summer. Class of ‘90 rulez.