The original headline for this post was “Developing: Is Robot Delivery Service Kiwi Shutting Down in Berkeley or Altogether?”
SECOND UPDATE: Later last night, Kiwi sent out another email with the following:
Hi there ,
In the last 24 hours, we have received thousands of messages from the community, customers, and partners related to an email we sent today with the subject: ⚰️☠️Kiwi no more.
First of all: KIWIBOT IS NOT SHUTTING DOWN. Our aim was to draw attention to the early ending of deliveries for this semester, but the email was incorrectly worded. We are sorry to cause you worry, but are overwhelmed at the amount of Kiwi Love we have received. We plan to release all information regarding our revolutionized Kiwibot technology on December 5th, but here are some teasers:
With that said, I want to tell you about some of the projects/news we are going to announce this Thursday:
- Kiwibot 3.2 Check out the video(It’s pretty cool)
- Kiwi Express (First end to end robotic Food delivery service)
- Kiwibot as our only brand name and new website kiwibot.com, (this is the last email you will receive from @kiwicampus.com) So Kiwi no more…
- Our new Lab and updates related to our supervisor’s program in Colombia.
- Details of the next Kiwibot version, and we want YOU to be involved (Food Coupons available, stay tuned this Thursday 5th)
- Kiwibot’s return on January 21st
Here’s the video:
UPDATE: We just got a second email from Kiwi this afternoon. Looks like the company isn’t shutting down entirely. The email said:
Our PR team is working on a special announcement regarding Kiwibot’s reinvention for next semester, please keep an eye out for it this Thursday, December 5th
ORIGINAL POST: We received an email this morning from Kiwi, the robot delivery service, saying that it is ending its service as of December 15, 2019. What we don’t know at this point is whether that means it is shutting down the delivery service just at the University of California Berkeley (which is where I originally signed up for and used the service), or everywhere, or if it is pivoting to something else.
We received the following email this morning from Kiwi:
When we started Kiwibot a little over 2 years ago, we had a vision for a service that would allow people to send atoms using delivery robots. Since then, over 20,000 people have signed up for Kiwibot, and more than 80,000 orders have been placed. We gave Berkeley an affordable and accessible way of getting food, and we’re honored to have been the ‘first delivery robot’ for so many people.
We want to let you know that we will be ending the Kiwibot delivery service, effective December 15, 2019. The Kiwibot app will remain accessible until December 15th, 2019. After that date, your points and coupons will no longer work, and you will no longer be able to order.
We want to extend a very special thanks to our entire community. We are truly humbled by your curiosity and innovative spirit. It was a great adventure, and we’re proud of what we built – we sincerely hope you enjoyed using Kiwibot.
Kiwi had been using its cooler-sized rover robots to make food deliveries around UC Berkeley and Westwood in Los Angeles, and was in talks with the city of Sacramento about deploying its service there.
Earlier this year, Kiwi announced expansion plans to fifteen more schools, but there seemed to be a couple of snags along the way. Kiwi said it was expanding to both Purdue and Harvard. But Purdue launched robot delivery with competitor delivery robot company Starship this fall, and Harvard was reportedly in talks to bring Starship robots there as well. Starship works with school administrations, while Kiwi was planning on going through student groups.
As mentioned, I used Kiwi at UC Berkeley and while it had its glitches (and caught fire that one time), the experience also felt like a glimpse into the future of on-demand food. So far Kiwi has raised $2 million in funding.
This story is developing and we have reached out to Kiwi to find out more. We will update this post as we get more information.