Bloomberg reported yesterday that Softbank Group is in discussions to invest from $500 million to $750 million into Zume, the Bay Area company that uses a combination of data, robots and specially outfitted vans to deliver hot pizza.
When news outlets write about Zume, they often focus on the robots that help make the pizza. While those are cool, the company is really about data and last-mile logistics. As we’ve written before:
Zume takes into consideration hundreds of data points, such as day of the week, weather, school calendars and more to develop predictions around how much pizza and what types of pizza will be ordered in a given location. From there a food delivery vehicle cooks up the pizza on the move and delivers it with precise timing.
This could benefit Softbank for a couple of reasons. First, Zume recently announced that it was expanding beyond pizza and bringing its delivery expertise to other types of cuisine. Basically, it is setting up a consultancy to provide Zume’s data prowess to help any restaurant figure out how to deliver their food more efficiently.
As Alex Garden, Co-Founder and CEO of Zume told us at the time of that announcement, “The truth is that we’ve developed a tech stack that will allow any restaurant to power the next generation of their business.”
As restaurant delivery grows, a platform like Zume’s could theoretically ensure that food ordered from any type of restaurant would arrive piping hot and fresh. (No one wants soggy, tepid fries.) Not for nothing, it’s also a way for Zume to scale nationally without a capital heavy investment.
Softbank’s move also plays nice with its other investments. Just yesterday, The Wall Street Journal reported that Softbank was in talks to invest in Alibaba’s Ele.me food delivery service in China. In March of this year, Softbank led DoorDash’s $535 million Series D round, and the company also owns a 15 percent stake in Uber, whose Uber Eats food delivery is growing like crazy.
From Zume’s perspective, the Softbank investment would obviously strap a booster rocket on its growth. Zume has been very methodical in its growth so far, expanding its pizza delivery only in the Bay Area. That type of cash would fund geographic expansion as well as give it the runway to broaden into new cuisines.
We’ve reached out to Zume for confirmation and will update this post when we hear back. UPDATE: Zume replied to us with a “no comment at this time.”
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