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Back in August, we flagged a filing for you that we’d found interesting, one for a now 2.5-year-old, 40-person Redwood City, Calif.,-based startup called Bear Robotics that’s been developing robots that deliver food to restaurant customers. The filing listed a $35.8 million target; Bear Robotics founder and CEO John Ha now tells us the final close, being announced today, was $32 million in Series A funding.
The round was led by SoftBank Group, whose other recent robotics bets include the currently beleaguered food truck company Zume and, as we reported yesterday, Berkshire Grey, a seven-year-old, Lexington, Ma.-based company that makes pick, pack and sorting robots for fulfillment centers and that just raised a whopping $263 million in Series B funding led by SoftBank.
Course - Bear - Robotics - Funding - Picture
But of course, we know you’re interested in much more than Bear Robotics’ funding picture, so we asked Ha — a former Intel research scientist turned technical lead at Google who in recent years opened and closed his own restaurant — to share more about the company and its robot servers.
TC: You were an engineer at Google. Why then start your own restaurant?
JH - Dream - Restaurant - Investment - Fun
JH: It’s not like I had a dream of having a restaurant; it was more of an investment. It sounded fun, but it didn’t turn out to be fun. What I was really shocked by was how much hard work is involved and how low [employees’] income is. I felt [as I was forced to close it] that this was going to be my life’s work — to transform the restaurant industry with the skills I have. I wanted to remove the hard work and the repetitive tasks so that humans can focus on the truly human side, the hospitality. At restaurants, you’re selling food and service, but most of your time is spent dealing with hiring...
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