Chowbotics, the startup behind Sally, the salad making robot, announced yesterday that it has raised $11 million in a “Series A-1.” This new round follows the $5 million Series A the company raised in March of last year, and brings the total amount raised to $17.3 million.
TechCrunch reports that the company will be using the new money to expand beyond salads and into bowls, writing that Chowbotics is looking into “grain bowls, breakfast bowls, poke bowls, açai bowls and yogurt bowls,” among others.
You can see Sally in action in this video we shot of it making a salad last year:
With Sally, Chowbotics is at the forefront of reinventing the vending machine. Using a combination of robotics, AI and fresh ingredients, Chowbotics is evolving fast, automated food choices in building lobbies and other high volume public spaces beyond Snickers bars and Cheetos.
So we’re curious as to how this bowl building will take shape. Will it be a smaller, vending machine-sized robot like Sally, or the smoothie-making robot, Albert? Or will the cooking element necessitate it being bigger, like the kiosk-sized robots by 6d Bytes and Briggo? Or will it be a full-on restaurant, like Spyce Kitchen, which just opened recently and features its own bowl-based menu?
We reached out to Chowbotics to find out more, and will update this post with any reply. But the company definitely cannot rest on its kale roots and will need to show the flexibility and scalability of its technology in order to stay competitive.
Automation is a hot area right now and food robots in particular. Caliburger recently reinstated Flippy the burger cooking robot, Connected Robotics in Japan is rolling out its Takoyaki robot this summer, Ekim raised 2.2 million euros to build a pizza robot restaurant, Sony has teamed up with Carnegie Mellon to build food robots, and during our recent Smart Kitchen Summit: Europe, I drank a fantastic cocktail served up by Foodpairing’s robot bartender.
If you want to know more about the future of food robots and artificial intelligence, subscribe to our podcast, The Automat, which hosts weekly discussions with those people building the future of robotic food today.