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Assets of robotics startup Karakuri sold for £350k

Karakuri assets

Administrators for Karakuri, the Ocado-backed robotic chef startup that raised £13.5m, have sold a portion of the company’s assets for £350,000.

Company filings show that a pre-packaged sale of some assets to Henny Penny – a US foodservice equipment company – was agreed on 28 July.

The assets included “three prototypes” developed by Karakuri and intellectual property rights. The London-based company developed robotic tools to prepare and serve food, including a robotic arm that served personalised sushi dishes.

It was reported on Sunday that the company had been sold in a pre-pack administration deal. However, a source close to the situation told UKTN that only a portion of the assets were sold in the deal arranged by the startup’s joint administrator, RSM UK Restructuring Advisory.

UKTN understands that the administrators are expected to continue selling the remaining assets of Karakuri to recover value from any residual resources and pay back creditors.

Karakuri first announced it would enter administration in June, telling UKTN that a “rescue deal is unlikely”.

The company had previously been backed by Brent Hoberman’s First Minute Capital, the investment arm of Founders Forum, as well as the publicly backed Future Fund.

Founders Factory holds a 21% stake in Karakuri, while Ocado holds a 26% shareholding via Ocado Ventures, administrator filings show.

Karakuri CEO and founder Barney Wragg is the majority shareholder with a 36% stake, while five other individuals and entities hold the remaining 17%.

Karakuri was unable to secure additional external funding to expand its business and therefore announced it would shut down, with 30 staff losing their jobs.

Damian Webb, a partner at accounting firm RSM, told the Telegraph: “Karakuri explored all available options to secure the available funding to take it to profitability. Regrettably, the current economic landscape undermined these efforts.”

Karakuri’s collapse underscores the challenging funding environment, with UK tech investment falling by 57% year-on-year during the first half of 2023.

The startup, which had completed a trial with restaurant chain Nando’s for its automated chip fryer, had been set for expansion this year before running out of cash.

In February, Wragg told the UKTN Podcast that “2023 is the year of maturity for Karakuri and also for the wider restaurant robotics industry”.