Karakuri secures £6.3 million Seed Follow On investment led by firstminute capital

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Karakuri unveils its first robotic canteen set to change the global food and hospitality industry 

The UK robotics firm secures an additional £6.5m investment to develop ways to bring the fourth industrial revolution to the food industry 

3rd December 2020: Karakuri, the world-leading food robotics company, is bringing the future of food to life as it lifts the lid to unveil the world’s first automated canteen to make meals, the DK-One.

Karakuri’s robotic system will revolutionise how and what we eat in restaurants, canteens, buffets, hotels and supermarkets as demand for personalised nutrition grows and the industry’s looks for new ways to operate in a post-Covid world. 

Today the company is showcasing a pre-production version of their DK-One robot, the next exciting stage in Karakuri’s journey to creating an entirely new category of made-to-order healthy convenience food. In order to accelerate the company’s growth, Karakuri has also closed a £6.3million investment, led by firstminute capital and which includes funding from Hoxton Ventures, Taylor Brothers, Ocado Group and the Future Fund, which was developed by the UK government and is being delivered by the British Business Bank. This investment will be used to further accelerate the development of Karakuri’s technologies and create new products beyond the DK-One. 

Today’s announcement shows Karakuri’s first pre-production machine which uses the latest innovation in robotics, sensing and control technologies to offer freshly prepared, high quality hot and cold meals, which maximise nutritional benefits, restaurant performance and minimise food waste. 

The pre-production version of the DK-One is being demonstrated and evaluated by customers in Karakuri’s facility in Hammersmith, London. 

Post-COVID restrictions, further on-customer-site trials of the DK-One are expected to take place in the first half of 2021. Key features of this version of the DK-One include: 

1. Consumer flexibility and choice – The DK-One produces personalised hot and cold meals with complete accuracy of portion size, giving total traceability of ingredients, nutrients, calories and quantity of every meal. 

2. Food waste reduction – It reduces food waste through the provision of accurate portions and real-time data on ingredient usage. 

3. Improved Restaurant Performance – Optimising scarce human resources which improves thin margins for restaurateurs and provides a better working environment for employees.

4. Safe. Hygienic. Automated – The DK-One minimises human-to-human contact during meal preparation and strictly adheres to food and safety standards for hygiene and allergen separation. The DK-One is equipped with real-time monitoring of ingredient temperatures, stocking dates and refill times. 

5. Easy to Operate – The DK-One has not only been developed to provide infinitely repeatable quality and delivery of meals but also is focused on making sure the machine’s cleanliness can be maintained all day, every day using equipment readily available in existing commercial kitchens. 

Barney Wragg, CEO and co-founder of Karakuri, said,

“This is one of the most highly-anticipated stages of our business and a really important step. We’ve spent time talking to our customers and industry specialists, and seen huge enthusiasm for DK-One’s potential. Now up and running, this will be the first time we can use a pre-production machine to demonstrate the DK-One’s commercial and nutritional benefits in the real world and thus demonstrate our vision for the future of food. I am proud of our amazing team for the work they’ve done to get this far this quickly, despite the challenges of the pandemic. We are all really excited to begin fulfilling our customer’s expectations.”

Professor David Lane, CBE, Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics and Co-Chair of the UK Government Robotics Growth Partnership, added,

“Even before the pandemic, it was clear there were many opportunities to increase sustainability, resilience and productivity in the catering industry, and to better address changing consumer tastes and lifestyles while reducing the huge amount of wastage. The pandemic has thrown up further challenges of distancing and remote working that can now readily be addressed through robotic innovation. This is why there has been a huge interest in the developments Barney and his team are innovating at Karakuri and it’s a pleasure to be supporting them in the next stage of the business” 

The DK-One is the world’s first robotic solution for high throughput, fast turnaround, completely personalised, portion-controlled, volume catering. Customers are able to customise and place their order from their phone or an in-store tablet. The robot will individually prepare each meal, selecting from 18 hot or cold ingredients with precise accuracy. The DK-One prepares multiple orders at the same time, ensuring it meets the demand of the busiest restaurants.

Karakuri is a UK robotics startup established in February 2018. It emerged from the Founders Factory venture studio with the goal of utilising groundbreaking intelligent robotics, to transform and improve ready to eat catering and, at the same time, reduce the associated food wastage. Karakuri was founded by Barney Wragg, Simon Watt and Brent Hoberman and has closed £13.5m funding including investments from Ocado, Hoxton Ventures, firstminute capital, Taylor Brothers and the Future Fund. 

ENDS

Notes to Editors 

For further information, please contact Laura Moross (on behalf of Karakuri) at [email protected]/ 07969673895. 

1. Images and Videos 

All approved Karakuri images can be found at https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1niK38nkqV6cIYHnUuzQ5U8Z_gNaDZgn5?usp=s haring 

For Karakuri’s video content please go to 

Longform with Captions and Audio https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Vesx0iFc5U&feature=youtu.be 

Shortform, no Captions or Audio https://youtu.be/JidMWGlmqoc

2. About Karakuri 

https://karakuri.com/

Karakuri is a UK based technology company designing, manufacturing and installing robotic automation systems for restaurants, commercial kitchens and caterers. 

Born out of the Founders Factory incubator, Karakuri was founded by Simon Watt and Barney Wragg, two longtime friends and colleagues who previously worked together at ARM. In April 2018 Founders Factory invested in Karakuri and Brent Hoberman joined the board as Chairman. 

3. Key Facts and figures about the DK-One 

The following facts and figures are related to the current pre-production DK-One, as of November 2020. They are not indicative of the final version that will be seen in stores.

● User-selectable portion control allows customers to adjust their meal to fit their unique dietary requirements to every order 
● Up to 18 ingredients can be dispensed per installation, with each ingredient temperature controlled 
● Each ingredient is dispatched with measured mass, providing total control of all nutritional content 
● Dispense of any ingredient type including wet, dry, soft, or hard food onto plates, bowls or range of meal containers 
● High throughput: up to 100 meals per hour 
● Typical meal serving time, from start to order collection < 3mins, with a typical output of one dish every 36 seconds 
● Compact dimensions (2m x 2m), designed to be transported through standard doorways 
● Physical ingredient separation – minimising allergen contamination

● Temperature Controlled Cold (<8℃) and hot (>65℃) food storage within the robot 
● Full tracking of customer meal from order entry to delivery with full traceability

● Designed for easy cleaning and service in commercial environments

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Safiya Marzook

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