Blendid, a company that produces standalone robotic smoothie-making kiosks, is running an equity crowdfunding campaign through MicroVentures with the goal of raising up to $5 million.
Blendid sent word of its crowdfunding efforts via a marketing email today, though it appears that the campaign itself has been live for roughly a month already. As of this writing, Blendid has already raised more than $240,000 in its crowdfunding campaign.
Equity crowdfunding is becoming quite the popular way to raise money for food-related robot companies. In 2020 alone, Miso Robotics, Kiwibot, Piestro, Bobacino and Small Robot Company all launched or announced equity crowdfunding campaigns.
There are pluses and minuses to going the crowdfunding route. By eschewing traditional VC capital, startups lose out on some of the knowledge and connections that come with institutional investors. But at the same time, crowdfunding helps these companies sidestep some of the scaling pressures that comes with VC money.
Previously, Blendid (formerly 6D Bytes) raised $13.5 million from Benhamou Global Ventures, Plug & Play, Hone Capital and Partech Ventures. We sent a note to Blendid to find out more about its decision to go the crowdfunding route and will update when we hear back. UPDATE: Blendid Founder and CEO, Vipin Jain emailed us the following statement:
“Since Blendid has recently expanded into retail establishments with national partners – giving us a much broader audience – it made sense to do crowdfunding. Crowdfunding not only allows you to raise money, but also drives consumer brand awareness and advocacy, by enabling fans of Blendid to individually invest as well as enjoy our delicious blends.”
As part of its pitch to potential investors of the crowdfunding campaign, Blendid shared some of its financials. Not surprisingly, 2020 was a rough year for the company. Blendid’s first two locations were at colleges, and given the pandemic and the shift to remote learning, those machines have been inactive for most of the year. According to Blendid, the company earned just $546 in Q3 of this year and $64,119 for its 2020 fiscal year.
Having said that, the fourth quarter has been pretty busy for Blendid. The company has opened two new robots at Walmart locations in California. One of those locations is actually a co-branded robot with Jamba as the company moves away from an owner-operated model to more licensed deals. This shift towards licensing should help with consumer adoption by leveraging the brand recognition that comes with a partnership like Jamba (and others).
One other interesting tid bit from Blendid’s disclosures is that the company is already looking beyond making just smoothies. From the “Product Roadmap” portion of the campaign page:
Q3 2021 – Food format #2 leveraging the existing kiosk, which has been designed as a platform that can be modified to support a large variety of food formats.
For those interested, the minimum investment for the crowdfunding campaign is $100. This post isn’t an endorsement of Blendid and any investment carries with it a certain amount of risk.