In its press announcement, Miso said that its campaign was the highest-grossing technology deal ever on the SeedInvest equity crowdfunding platform. The $17 million was only a little more than half of the $30 million the company had intended to raise, but Miso will be extending this equity crowdfunded Series C round into this year to try and hit that $30 million milestone. Miso has previously raised $15 million in financing and $3.3 million in venture debt.
Miso’s crowdfunding came during a tumultuous time for the restaurant industry, and running an equity campaign during a global pandemic was both bad and fortuitous for the food robotics company. On the one hand, COVID-19 decimated the restaurant industry, shuttering thousands of restaurants and limiting Miso’s potential customer base. Stadiums, where Flippy was already making in-roads as an automated fry cook, were also shut down.
But this crisis also meant opportunity for Miso. While many restaurants were closed, deep pocketed QSRs were able to weather the tumult and were in more of a position to afford Flippy. In a high-profile example, after an initial pilot in July of last year, White Castle quickly expanded its use of Flippy to 11 of its locations.
Buck Jordan, Co-Founder, President & Chairman of Miso Robotics, told me by phone this week that the pandemic caused a “massive” increase of QSRs interest in Miso’s technology. According to Jordan, that interest is being driven by QSR staffing issues, the ability to create social distancing in the kitchen and the ability to transition workers into roles that more involve cleaning and fulfilling delivery and takeout orders.
With restaurants emphasizing delivery and takeout options, there will most likely be sustained interest in technology that can keep workers engaged with off-premises order fulfillment and customer service.
In addition to the funding news, Miso also announced the appointment of Mike Bell as CEO and Jake Brewer as Chief Strategy Officer. Bell was previously COO at Ordermark and President and COO at Bridg. Brewer was formerly VP of Restaurant Excellence at CKE Restaurants, the parent company of Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s.