Seattle-based Picnic™, an innovator of food production technology and Robotics-as-a-Service (RaaS) solutions, announced today that it has raised an additional $5 million. The new round was led by the venture capital group Creative Ventures (creativeventures.vc), who was joined by other investors, including Flying Fish Partners (flyingfish.vc) and Vulcan Capital (capital.vulcan.com). The company also unveiled it has added former Amazon and Microsoft hardware leader, Kennard Nielsen, to its executive team.
Picnic will use the infusion of capital to support product development, staffing and marketing efforts.
Nielsen (full bio) joined Picnic as Vice President of Engineering and will focus on product development, specifically associated with hardware evolution. His global technology track record includes driving the development and market introductions of some of the industry’s most visible hardware innovations, such as through his leadership roles in the first four Kindle Fire tablets for Amazon; Microsoft Asia Center for Hardware (MACH) in Shenzhen, China, the Hardware Division and the first Xbox Kinect at Microsoft; and Nike FuelBand. Nielsen is a registered professional engineer who holds seven patents, with several more pending.
In June, the company added Mike McLaughlin (full bio) as Vice President of Product to develop and commercialize Picnic’s product vision and lead customer and partner development and engagement. Working for such prominent international food and beverage companies as BUNN, Concordia Beverage Systems and Starbucks, McLaughlin brings executive experience leading product management, product and technology innovation strategy and marketing. A registered professional engineer, McLaughlin holds 10 patents in food and beverage.
The company publicly launched its automated pizza assembly system, in October of this year, to positive market response and endorsements.
“Picnic has quickly established the differentiation and potential of our groundbreaking system and solutions that directly address the business challenges of a wide range of food service and hospitality customers,” said Clayton Wood, CEO of Picnic. “High-profile industry recognition in the form of new funding and leadership acquisition continues to underscore our value proposition in the marketplace, and allows us to successfully respond to and prepare for the growing interest in our offerings.”
The Picnic platform will initially focus on the production of high-volume, customizable pizzas, made with any kind of ingredients, consistently and sequentially, at a rate of up to 180 18” or 300 12” pizzas per hour.
The freestanding system integrates issued U.S. patent and other U.S. and international patent-pending modular, configurable equipment with its software, cloud and deep learning technology. Flexible and only requiring a small footprint, the system easily slips into a wide-array of stationary and mobile kitchen formats, and brings unrivaled capabilities in production customization and throughput; smart back-end data and cloud analytics; and its ability to continually learn and meet the changing needs of food service operators, protect their brands and elevate customers’ overall experience with food.
Founded in 2016, Vivid Robotics, Inc. (dba Picnic) (hellopicnic.com), has collected an experienced team of food and technology industry veterans to develop and provide specialized intelligent technology and exclusive solutions for the food service and hospitality industries. Restaurants, convenient and grocery stores, university and corporate campuses, casinos, hotels, cruise lines, sports venues, catering groups, healthcare cafeterias, small kiosks, ghost kitchen operators, mobile food operations, food trucks, delivery and military sites are among the many segments poised to benefit from the company’s automated food assembly platform integrating (RaaS), software, cloud and deep learning technology.
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