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Starship Maps Expansion, Chipotle Pilots Hyphen Makeline
Brightpick automates pharmacies, Artly nears crowdfunding benchmark
Given that today’s a holiday, we’ll keep this update short and sweet. We’ve got some impressive fundraising news, big corporate launches, eye-watering maps and more. Read on!
Starship Nears 50 Campus Benchmark
PDD leader Starship Technologies reported it’s now live on nearly 50 American college campuses, spanning from coast to coast. The company’s map (below) also notes which of its deployments are in conjunction with Grubhub; overall the partnership looks to cover 13 of its member universities.
Chipotle Pilots Hyphen Automated Makeline
Chipotle Mexican Grill has begun testing an innovative automated digital makeline in collaboration with Hyphen, a platform specializing in kitchen operation automation. The mechanism, aimed at enhancing operational efficiency, automates the creation of bowls and salads, moving them along a bottom makeline where ingredients are automatically dispensed. Simultaneously, a Chipotle team member utilizes the top makeline to assemble additional items like burritos, tacos, and quesadillas for the same digital order. Digital orders, which comprise 65% of all bowls and salads, are placed via the Chipotle app, website, or third-party platforms and are expected to enable team members to deliver enhanced customer service and hospitality by freeing up more time, especially during peak order periods.
This technological initiative is aligned with Chipotle's commitment to employing robotics to augment the human potential of its workforce and to optimize the dining experience for its customers. Through its venture fund, CULTIVATE NEXT, Chipotle has invested in Hyphen and also in VEBU, which previously created the “Autocado” avocado processing machine for the fast casual restaurant. The fund aims to propel investments in various innovative ventures like alternative proteins, advanced robotics, and farming, which strategically align with its mission to “Cultivate a Better World” and to further its aggressive growth initiatives.
Brightpick Grows Pharmacy Segment
Brightpick, a Kentucky-based startup, has witnessed strong global sales growth for its Autopicker robots, exceeding expectations since their February debut. The Autopicker, an autonomous mobile robot (AMR), automates warehouse fulfillment processes like order picking and stock replenishment, notably reducing picking costs by half and reallocating 95% of picking staff. CEO Jan Zizka notes particular traction in the grocery and pharmaceutical sectors due to the robot’s adept item picking in various conditions. The company recently announced its first pharmaceutical application, with a large European pharmaceutical company employing the Autopicker to select and replenish items in its pharmacies. The AMRs can also identify and select pharmaceutical items based on expiry or cease picking from defective batches. Competitor Geek+ recently noted it’s the market leader for order fulfilment robotics.
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Artly Robotics Nears Crowdfunding Goal
Robotic barista company Artly is nearing its $1.23 million fundraising goal, as it currently sits at about $1.16M raised on StartEngine. After OttOmate profiled company founder Meng Wang in August, the company quickly hit half a million raised in about three weeks. The startup has until November 7th to finish the campaign; previously it has raised $10 million from SV Tech Ventures, Amino Capital, LDV Partners, Aimtop Ventures, and more.
In Other News
Intermode’s CEO Arnold Kadiu shares why his company should build the robots on behalf of delivery bot startups. European coffee vending market has not yet recovered from Covid. Blackbird raises $24M for restaurant loyalty software, while DoorDash tests in-restaurant rewards.