May 26, 2023

SJW Robotics Raises $2M as It Eyes Launch of Autonomous Robotic Restaurants This Spring

SJW Robotics, a maker of autonomous robotic restaurants, has raised a $2 million seed funding round, according to an announcement sent to The Spoon. The Canadian startup’s newest round includes investments from Alley Robotic Ventures and celebrity chef Tom Colicchio.

Company CEO and cofounder Nipun Sharma told The Spoon the new investment would be used to fund the rollout of the company’s robotic kitchen system with partner Compass Canada. The two announced their partnership last summer, with Compass disclosing that they had plans to pilot three RJW robotic restaurant kitchens in select markets. According to Sharma, the first Compass autonomous kitchen pilot will launch at a hospital in the Toronto market under Compass’s Bok Choy brand this spring.

Sharma told The Spoon that the Compass deal is indicative of the company’s business model: SJW provides the robotics and AI technology via a robotics-as-a-service mode, and brand partners focus on culinary, menu development, and marketing.

During a walkthrough of the RoWok system last year, we watched as the system dropped pre-cut ingredients such as chicken cubes, green onions, and julienne carrots from segmented storage siloes in customized proportions onto a perforated steel tray. From there, the tray shuttled through a steam tunnel via a conveyor belt (“like a car in a carwash”), and the warmed food was dropped into an oiled wok for cooking. Finally, the cooked food was dropped into a bowl where sauces were added, and the meal was prepped for serving.

The new self-contained includes refrigerated storage for up to 350 meals, including all proteins, vegetables, sauces, and starches, and can make up to 60 meals per hour. According to Sharma, the units are ‘real estate agnostic’ and can be set up anywhere with proper space and utility connections.

You can watch Sharma give a tour of SJW’s RoWok system below.

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