Cafe X, the startup that builds robot baristas, is in the process of raising a $12 million “Seed-1” round. Crunchbase News broke the story after coming across regulatory filings which showed that Cafe X has already raised $9.42 million of the new round. Cafe X Founder and CEO Henry Hu later confirmed the news with Crunchbase.
This new round is being led by famed angel investor Jason Calacanis and Craft Ventures. The $9.4 million raised so far brings the total amount raised by Cafe X to $14.5 million. We reached out to the company for any further comment as well as information about what the new funds will be used for, and will update this post when we hear back.
While Cafe X has two dedicated indoor locations in downtown San Francisco, the company recently deployed its second generation barista-bot-in-a-box on a street corner, also in downtown SF. These automated kiosks are meant to serve high-traffic areas where people can grab a (quality) cup of coffee quickly.
Cafe X isn’t alone in the robot coffee space. Austin-based Briggo, which makes the Coffe Haus, just installed its automated coffee kiosk at its latest location, in the Austin Airport. And later this summer, the robotic MontyCafe will be up and running in Russia.
Presumably, Cafe X’s new money will be used to hire out engineering and software teams and help fuel expansion, as this type of money often does. When I talked with Hu earlier this year, he said that while Cafe X has received inbound interest from all over the world for their robot barista, geographic expansion would focus first on the Bay Area.
There might be a different type of expansion possible, however. Craft Ventures also led the Series A investment round in electric scooter sharing startup Bird. Perhaps after riding one to get your afternoon latté from a Cafe X kiosk, you’ll be able to recharge it there (and maybe even earn a Cafe X discount). Or perhaps that’s just a bit of overly corporate synergistic caffeinated strategy that this new funding has me thinking.