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Karakuri secures £6.3M, London-based robotics startup unveils world’s first automated canteen

Image credits: DK-One

The role of robots is becoming important for various industrial applications and business competitiveness. In the food industry, robots provide solid support in boosting business productivity, and enhanced customer loyalty, besides food quality and safety. 

The DK-One

Based out of London, Karakuri, a robotics startup unveiled the world’s first automated canteen to make personalised meals – the DK-One. 

This comes as a move to revolutionise the food and hospitality industry. According to the company, Karakuri’s robot uses the latest in robotics and machine learning to create an entirely new category for made-to-order healthy convenience food. 

Raised £6.3 million investment

On the other hand, the company closed a £6.3 million investment, led by firstminute capital along with the participation from Hoxton Ventures, Taylor Brothers, Ocado Group, and the Future Fund. The investment will be used to accelerate the development of Karakuri’s technologies and create new products beyond the DK-One. 

Uses latest tech

As showcased by the company, the pre-production version of DK-One 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. The DK-One is expected to take place in the first half of 2021.

Key features

According to the UK company, the key feature of the DK-One includes Food Waste reduction, Improved Restaurant Performance, Safe. Hygienic. Automated and Easy to Operate. 

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.” 

Multiple orders at the same time

It’s worth mentioning that customers can 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.

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” 

Founders Factory venture studio

Emerged from the Founders Factory venture studio, Karakuri was co-founded by former ARM employees, Barney Wragg and Simon Watt alongside Brent Hoberman. To date, the company has closed £13.5 million funding.