Botrista, the company behind the commercial DrinkBot automated beverage dispenser, announced today that it has raised $10 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Purestone Capital and La Kaffa International with participation from Sony Innovation Fund, Middleby Corporation and PIDC. This brings the total amount of funding raised by Botrista to $16 million.
Meant for restaurants an other foodservice companies, the DrinkBot is a cloud-connected automated drink maker, dispensing mocktails, infused teas and lattes, iced coffees, lemonades and more without the need for a full bar. Drinks are ordered via an on-board touchscreen, so the experience is contactless, and they are mixed and served in less than 20 seconds.
Botrista is taking a vertically integrated approach as it comes to market. The company provides the hardware for free, charging a monthly maintenance fee and selling the drink ingredients, which as of last year were $1.40 – $1.90 per drink. DrinkBots connect to the Botrista CloudBar for drink recipes, automated inventory management, as well as sales and menu performance analytics.
In a press release sent to The Spoon, Botrista said it experienced 10x growth year-over-year, which isn’t that hard to believe. The pandemic is driving demand for more contactless food and beverage preparation, as well as the need for takeout and delivery-related tech. The Botrista can churn out drinks continuously, quickly and at the touch of a button — perfect for high volume establishments like ghost kitchens and restaurants with high off-premises volume.
Automated mocktail and juice dispensing is becoming a hot little sub-sector of the food and beverage robotic space. Over in Switzerland, Smyze’s robot baristas also make a bevy of juice beverages. And last year, SomaBar, which makes a countertop drink dispenser, pivoted away from Soju-based cocktails to have its machine create juices, teas and regular mixed drinks.
It’s worth noting that both Sony and Middleby participated in Botrista’s latest funding. Last year Sony set up an artificial intelligence unit to work on both recipe creation and robotics. It’s easy to see how DrinkBot’s combination of data and automation fits in with that endeavor. And Middleby, a giant in foodservice automation, could open up a large network of customers for Botrista.
Botrista said it will use its new funding to scale up deployment operations to roll out DrinkBot nationally.