SEATTLE – Picnic, which is using technology and a robotics-as-a-service business model to help automate food preparation, today announced raising an additional $5 million. In addition, the company said it has added Kennard Nielsen, formerly of Amazon and Microsoft, to its executive team.
The funding round was led by Creative Ventures, with participation from Flying Fish Partners, and Vulcan Capital. Picnic said it would use the new funding to support product development, staffing, and marketing efforts.
High-volume pizza prep
In October, Picnic launched its intelligent, end-to-end automated assembly platform, a small footprint and freestanding system. The initial focus for the system is on the production of high-volume, customizable pizzas, at a rate of up to 180 18-inch pizzas or 300 12-inch pizzas per hour.
“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.”
Nielsen joined Picnic as its vice president of engineering, and will focus on product development, specifically associated with hardware evolution, the company said. Nielsen’s track record includes driving the development and market introductions for hardware such as the first four Kindle Fire tablets for Amazon; the first Microsoft Xbox Kinect; and Nike’s FuelBand.
In June, the company added Mike McLaughlin as vice president of product to help develop and commercialize Picnic’s product vision, and lead customer and partner development and engagement. McLaughlin, who holds 10 patents in the food and beverage space, has worked for companies such as BUNN, Concordia Beverage Systems, and Starbucks.