[Editor’s note: “Miso Robotics: Flippy and the Robotic Future for Restaurants” was originally published on June 11. It has since been updated and republished to reflect new information.]
AI-powered robots can seem scary. Might we lose control? Could there be a dystopian outcome like in Terminator?
Well, for the most part, the technology is nowhere near that sort of level. But that’s not to say AI-powered robots aren’t making lots of progress. One example of this is the Flippy robot, which cooks food in restaurant kitchens. Oh, and for private investors, Flippy is also an investment opportunity. You can purchase Miso Robotics stock — Miso is the startup that is building Flippy — via a crowdfunding campaign on SeedInvest.
David Zito and Buck Jordan co-founded the company in the summer of 2016. Zito focused on the technical side of the venture. Note that he had served as the vice president of homework help at Chegg (NYSE:CHGG) and the head of product and technology at PayMyBills.com.
As for Jordan, he brought expertise in financing and business development. Before launching Miso Robotics, he was an venture capitalist at firms like Canyon Creek Capital and Wavemaker Labs.
The Flippy Robot
Being based in Pasadena, California, Miso Robotics has had advantages with recruiting top technical talent. After all, Caltech University is known for its expertise in AI and robotics.
And what these engineers have built is definitely amazing. I had a chance to see Flippy in action at a CaliBurger restaurant in Pasadena. Flippy’s robotic arm expertly and seamlessly cooked burgers on a grill. Other people in the restaurant were snapping photos of this with their smartphones!
Flippy’s brain, though, is not in the machine. It is instead on servers in the cloud. This is where the sophisticated AI algorithms crunch the data to learn how to better cook food. As a result, the error rate is extremely low. For example, during a three-month period, Dodgers Stadium used Flippy to cook burgers. There was only one error out of 6,625 baskets cooked.
How’s that for good customer service?
But there are other innovations. For example, Miso Robotics has developed an overhead rail system that maneuvers the robotic arm. This means that there is a zero footprint in the kitchen.
Miso Robotics also has 12 patents pending and one approved for the core technologies. Moreover, the company has been investing heavily in safety. Flippy has received full certification by NSF International for meeting sanitation standards for commercial kitchen equipment and obtained an ETL Listed Mark by Intertek for meeting UL electrical safety standards.
Drivers for Miso Robotics stock
Automation is critical for the restaurant industry because of the low margins. This has been made worse with the impact of the novel coronavirus.
As for Flippy, it has been shown to result in a 3X improvement in earnings before interest, taxes, debt and amortization (EBITDA). Consider that the CEO of CaliGroup has noted that the robot can reduce expenses by over 65%.
While all this is great, there are still some risk factors. It does seem that the company has lagged when it comes to getting customers. After all, the company has had to spent considerable time creating the complex technology.
However, it is encouraging that Miso Robotics has made some progress with getting customer traction. Keep in mind that the company recently hired a new CEO, Mike Bell. For the past 25 years, he has served as the chief operating executive at early stage tech startups as well as a division head for a publicly traded company.
Is Miso Robotics a Good Investment?
Since its inception, Miso Robotics has raised over $14.6 million from angel investors, venture capitalists and strategic investors like CaliBurger, MAG Ventures, Levy Restaurants, Wavemaker, Fanuc and Acacia Research Corporation. As for the crowdfunding campaign, the company has received commitments for $7.89 million from 3,611 investors. The valuation is at $80 million.
Now there are competitors in the market, such as Creator (the company has raised $18.4 million). Yet the market is so massive that there is enough room for multiple players.
Besides, for those investors looking to get exposure to the robotics/AI market – which is likely to see strong long-term growth — Miso Robotics is a pretty good option, given its pioneering technology. And the minimum investment is only $1,493.
On the date of publication, Tom Taulli did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in any of the securities mentioned in this article.
Tom Taulli (@ttaulli) is an advisor/board member for startups and author of various books and online courses about technology, including Artificial Intelligence Basics, The Robotic Process Automation Handbook and Learn Python Super Fast. He is also the founder of WebIPO, which was one of the first platforms for public offerings during the 1990s.
Investing through equity and real estate crowdfunding or asset tokenization requires a high degree of risk tolerance. Despite what individual companies may promise, there’s always the chance of losing a portion, or the entirety, of your investment. These risks include:
1) Greater chance of failure
2) Risk of fraudulent activity
3) Lack of liquidity
4) Economic downturns
5) Dearth of investor education
Read more: Private Investing Risks