It looks like Zimplistic can lay claim to having the most popular food robot in the world. In a recent interview with The Spoon’s Mike Wolf, Zimplistic CEO, Rishi Israni said that his company has sold approximately 40,000 Rotimatics, and while we haven’t conducted a massive global audit, we can’t think of another food robot that even comes close.
Of course, it kind of depends on what you define as a “robot” and what you think of as an appliance. The Rotimatic is a countertop device that does one thing: makes rotis and other flatbread. And while the Rotimatic doesn’t have articulating arms and gripping hands, Israni and his wife, Pranoti Nagarkar Israni, the mechanical engineer who invented the Rotimatic, definitely consider it a robot.
The rotimatic takes raw ingredients: oil, flour and water, and turns them into rotis. A lot of rotis, actually. Israni said that so far that people have made more than 25 million rotis with the device, and that many people who purchase the Rotimatic make rotis every day. But it’s how the Rotimatic handles those basic inputs: water, flour and oil, that makes it a robot, according to Israni.
Part of the appeal of the Rotimatic is that people add their own inputs. This makes the rotis fresher, and negates the need for preservatives or other alterations (like sugar), which would make the rotis less healthy. Whereas something like a dishwasher will follow a straight path to getting your dishes clean, the Rotimatic pays attention to what’s happening inside the machine and adjusts accordingly. It is this ability to adjust to variable inputs that makes the Rotimatic a robot, said Israni.
Big, commercial robots like Flippy may grab headlines, but Rotimatic is quickly grabbing marketshare. At $1,000 a pop, Rotimatics are not cheap, but the company has tapped into a basic building block to cuisines around the world. Almost every culture has their own version of flatbread: rotis, tortillas, pitas, etc. Therefore, the market for Rotimatic is truly global.
Others see the value of Zimplistic’s vision as well. The company raised $30 million earlier this year, bringing its total funding to $48.5 million. With nearly 40,000 Rotimatics sold, the company has already generated revenues of roughly $40 million in sales.
I’ll actually be chatting on-stage with Israni next week at our Smart Kitchen Summit in Seattle. He’s part of an amazing panel we’ve put together on The Food Robot Evolution. There’s still time to buy your ticket, but we’ll also be recapping our conversation here on The Spoon, so stay tuned.
Here’s the full interview between Mike and Rishi: