JD-backed kitchen robot supplier RobotX cooking up a recipe for success

RobotX is fixated on serving the corporate segment, which in recent years is struggling with issues like a shortage of experienced chefs and inconsistent tastes of dishes.

RobotX (橡鹭科技), a cooking robot startup, today announced that it had received tens of millions of yuan in equity financing from e-commerce giant JD Group (京东集团), the latest in a series of high-profile moves by the young venture.

Founded in July 2021 in Beijing, the company is committed to developing kitchen robots for restaurant owners and the catering industry as a whole.

The raise will be spent on product R&D, product portfolio upgrades and new market exploration, according to a statement on the company’s official WeChat account.

It didn’t disclose further details of the investment.

Public records from Tianyancha.com, a business registry information portal, indicate that the startup bagged around 100 million yuan (US$14 million) in an angel round in November 2021 and hundreds of millions of yuan in a pre-Series A raise in April 2022.

Both transactions were backed solely by SourceCode Capital.

Headed by Guo Qing, a former executive at Meituan, China’s largest food delivery platform, RobotX has set its sights on improving the efficiency of the catering sector through robotics and automation.

At certain points over the past two years, RobotX pivoted from commercial service robotics like delivery bot into cooking droids, lured by the prospects of a largely untapped market.

The industry is divided mainly into two categories, with corporate-oriented solutions on one side and consumer-facing applications on the other.

RobotX is fixated on serving the corporate segment, which in recent years is struggling with issues like a shortage of experienced chefs and inconsistent tastes of dishes.

To date, it has supplied cooking robots to upwards of 100 topnotch restaurant brands from about a dozen countries and regions across the globe.

With a focus on implementing a “robot + food” strategy, it looks to roll out a diverse suite of cooking robots to meet market demands.

Competition, however, is already heating up in the space.

According to a study released in 2022 by online shopping site Taobao, the market size of cooking robots in China is forecast to hit 100 billion yuan should user experience continue to improve and reach an inflection point.

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Ni Tao

Ni Tao is the founder and editor-in-chief of cnrobopedia. Prior to cnrobopedia, he had a full decade of experience with a major state-run English-language newspaper as a tech reporter and opinion writer. He is also a communications specialist, having provided consultancy services to established firms like Siemens, Philips, ABinBev, Diageo, Trip.com Group (Nasdaq: TCOM, HK: 9961), Jianpu Technology (NYSE: JT) and a handful of domestic startups. A graduate of Fudan University, he writes widely about China's business and tech scenes and other topics for global publications including South China Morning Post, SupChina, The Diplomat, CGTN, Banking Technology, among others, and tries to impart his experience to students at Fudan University Journalism School, where he is a part-time lecturer. When he's not writing about robotics, you can expect him to be on his beloved Yanagisawa saxophones, trying to play some jazz riffs, often in vain and occasionally against the protests of an angry neighbor. Get in touch with him by dropping a line at nitao0927@gmail.com.

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