Tech

SoftBank-backed Bear Robotics raises $81 million to launch waiter robots

FILE PHOTO: SoftBank's robotic arm shows a food service robot, Servi, designed for restaurants grappling with labor shortages and trying to enforce social distancing during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in T
FILE PHOTO: SoftBank’s robotic arm shows a food service robot Servi developed by California-based Bear Robotics in Japan as restaurants struggle with labor shortages and try to serve amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Tokyo , Japan to ensure social distancing. September 28, 2020. REUTERS/Akira Tomoshige

March 15, 2022

By Sam Nussey

TOKYO (Reuters) – SoftBank Group Corp-backed food service robot startup Bear Robotics has raised $81 million in a Series B funding round with investors including Cleveland Avenue, a venture capital firm led by a former executive of McDonald’s was founded.

Other investors include South Korean private equity firm IMM and telecommunications company KT Corp, the startup’s co-founder and chief operating officer Juan Higueros told Reuters, declining to disclose the firm’s latest valuation.

Bear Robotics has shipped more than 5,000 of its Servi food service robots that move food and beverages between the kitchen and tables on multiple trays, and is working with industry players like Denny’s, Chili’s and Pepsi.

The California-based startup plans to expand into Europe and Southeast Asia via its home market and Japan and South Korea, where it has worked with SoftBank and KT, respectively, amid labor shortages in the industry.

SoftBank led the startup’s Series A round and has shifted to reselling third-party robots, forming a joint venture with housewares maker Iris Ohyama in Japan.

Bear Robotics charges a $999 monthly fee for Servi in ​​the U.S., giving the robot an operating cost of about $2.75 an hour, Higueros said.

The startup plans to launch two new robots this year, one that can detect air quality on the go and one that can transport deliveries from the lobby to the upper floors of a building via the elevator.

Bear Robotics makes its products in South Korea, with the company relying on its production manager, who previously worked for Taiwan’s Foxconn, to handle the “difficult-to-manage” pressures in the supply chain, Higueros said.

(Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

https://www.oann.com/softbank-backed-bear-robotics-raises-81-million-for-waitering-robot-rollout/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=softbank-backed-bear-robotics-raises-81-million-for-waitering-robot-rollout SoftBank-backed Bear Robotics raises $81 million to launch waiter robots

Emma Bowman

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