Following a successful launch at three locations last year, innovative food automation solutions company Blendid has just opened the company’s fourth food robotics kiosk, at Walmart, in Fremont, California. Blendid is the country’s first food automation service to go mainstream with a major national chain and the company just launched a financing round, that includes a crowdfunding component, to support the rollout.
Now that Blendid has established product-market fit (the company has served over 40,000 smoothies) the plan is to raise five million dollars to aggressively expand to other retail chains, supermarkets, health clubs, corporations, hospitals and colleges. In fact, the company has already signed an agreement with a major food retailer to jointly bring Blendid to market by the end of this year. With the Covid-19 global pandemic driving consumer desire for safe, contactless food preparation and delivery, Blendid is ideally positioned to grow quickly.
Real Food, Artificial Intelligence
California-based Blendid has created a proprietary food automation platform (foodOS) to efficiently and safely prepare and serve a range of healthy, fresh, and tasty foods. Using machine learning, robotics and artificial intelligence, Blendid’s first product is a fully autonomous robotic kiosk that prepares nutrient-packed, delicious smoothies. The smoothies use whole fruits and vegetables, offering fiber, probiotics and protein, made on-demand by a robot and customized to meet the unique health and taste preferences of individual consumers. Blendid creates a tasty, healthy, touchless, affordable and convenient meal or snack for the consumer – exactly how and when they want it.
How does the Blendid robotic kiosk actually work?
Consumers can place orders on site, at the kiosk, or in advance, by using their mobile device and choosing a time to pick up their smoothie. They are able to select all their favorite ingredients and customize it to their taste. The Blendid robot confirms the pickup time and once it starts to prepare the smoothie, the customer is alerted. On arrival at the kiosk, the customer scans a QR code and the robot pushes the order out of the window. Prices are a very reasonable $4.97 – $5.97 per 12-ounce drink.
Who are the experts behind Blendid?
Blendid was founded in 2015 by Vipin Jain, Venki Ayalur, and Vijay Dodd, seasoned Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who spent four years perfecting the Blendid concept. Their first robotic kiosk was commercially launched in March 2019. Their team also includes nutritionists and chefs led by Blendid’s executive chef Kristen Rasmussen de Vasquez, a registered dietician, food scientist, and aand , a culinary expert with a focus on sustainability. Kristen formulates Blendid’s core recipes, assisted by artificial intelligence, that are plant-forward with vegan and gluten free options, that the consumer is able to customize to their own needs. As a pioneer of the future of foodservice, Blendid is improving the consumer experience by offering safe, cost-effective and personalized food on-demand, while also reducing complexity and costs for the operators.
Competition in the food automation market
Blendid is the first of its kind to successfully combine food processing and AI in a consumer-facing setting. Other companies that have attempted automated food processing and delivery have fallen short. Zume pizza had ambitious plans but now manufactures packaging, CafeX is a simplistic coffee maker, while Chowbotics is a fairly basic salad vending machine that doesn’t use robotics. Blendid is the only company to incorporate a fully digital experience with a complex automation process that includes multi-tasking (a Blendid robot can process an impressive 45 drinks an hour and up to 9 orders simultaneously).
While Blendid already has significant venture capital behind it, the company is keen to also offer consumers the chance to invest in the next stage of their expansion through a crowdfunding opportunity. For as little as $100, an individual investor can become a shareholder in Blendid through the company’s current crowdfunding campaign. The company wants to attract investors who are already their actual or future customers. At $300 billion, the on-the-go food market in the United States presents a massive opportunity. Already a successful startup, Blendid is a sophisticated company with a product that has been field tested and is NSF-certified.
For a limited time, Blendid is raising funds through an equity crowdfunding campaign on the Microventures platform. Given the latest modifications to the Reg CF and Reg D JOBS Act, the barriers to entry have lowered for the public to participate in innovative early stage companies, allowing new or first-time investors to invest in these higher risk and higher reward opportunities. While many of the most reputable VC funds in the tech space tend to provide early stage capital for deep tech, cloud native infrastructure, or hard to grasp infrastructure solutions (that are often incredibly complex, even for sophisticated investors), Bendid represents a hands-on, consumer facing opportunity that is easy to grasp and easy to impact. This is a particularly attractive opportunity for the public to partner with high profile VC firms that have already conducted rigorous due diligence in a team and a plan to bring a complete full-stack solution to market that they can taste, touch and experience for themselves.