Miso scores $10 million to bring its hamburger-flipping robot to more restaurants

Pasadena-based hardware startup Miso Robotics just got a big vote of confidence from investors, in the form of a $10 million Series B. This latest windfall led by Acacia Research Corporation brings the company’s total disclosed funding to $14 million and arrives as it ramps up production and gets ready to deliver its hamburger-cooking robot Flippy to 50 CaliBurger locations.

“We’re super stoked to use this funding to develop and scale our capabilities of our kitchen assistants and AI platform,” CEO/co-founder Dave Zito said on a call with TechCrunch ahead of the announcement. “Our current investors saw an early look at our progress, and they were so blown away that they doubled-down.”

A robot’s view of the grill

The round also includes new investors, including, notably, Levy, a Chicago-based hospitality company that runs restaurants and vending machines in entertainment and sporting venues in the U.S. and U.K. The company’s investment is clearly a strategic one, as it looks toward staffing solutions in its heavily trafficked locations.

“The Levy participation is really centered around their looking at this future world where people are increasingly wanting prepared foods,” says Zito. “People really like the idea of a kitchen assistant that can really come in and be that third hand for the overworked staff. They’re all reporting high turnover rate and increasing customer demand for fresh ingredients prepared quickly. Trying to keep that at accessible prices is hard.”

We’ve already seen a number of demos of Flippy in earlier iterations, including a peek inside the robot’s AI-based vision system back at Disrupt in September. The company promises a more public debut of the robot at the Pasadena CaliBurger location is set to arrive in “the coming weeks.”