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.