Harbottle & Lewis has advised food technology innovator, Karakuri Ltd, on a £7m seed round, led by Ocado. Other investors include Hoxton Ventures, FirstMinute Capital and Taylor Brothers.
With a growing demand for personalised nutrition as part of a healthy lifestyle, Karakuri uses the latest innovation in robotics, machine learning, optics and sensors to allow restaurants and food retailers to offer personalised, freshly prepared, high-quality meals, which maximise nutritional benefits and minimise food waste.
Karakuri’s system personalises any meal using its robots to dispense the exact ingredients and quantities into that dish.
Tim Steiner, CEO of Ocado said: “Ocado is constantly striving to identify the best and most innovative solutions to provide consumers with the greatest possible value, choice and convenience.
“Our investment in Karakuri, potentially a game-changer in the preparation of food-to-go, gives us the opportunity to bring the best innovation to the benefit of our own customers as well as our partners.”
Ocado expects to take delivery of the first of Karakuri’s machines in late 2019.
Brent Hoberman, Karakuri’s founding chairman, co-founder of Founders Factory and General Partner at FirstMinute Capital said: “The time is now for robotics and AI to drive change in the restaurant and food services business. Barney and Simon have assembled a world-class team to go after one of the next large markets to be enhanced by this technology.
“We are delighted that Ocado, a global leader in robotics and distribution, has chosen to invest in Karakuri to lead the innovation in this sector.”
On working with Harbottle & Lewis, Barney Wragg, co-founder and CEO of Karakuri, commented: “The team at Harbottle & Lewis were excellent. They understood our business, what we wanted to achieve and worked hard to achieve a great result.
“Their depth of knowledge and experience meant that the process was smooth throughout. It was great to work with such a responsive and pragmatic team.”
Corporate partner Charles Leveque led the team that advised Karakuri on the transaction with support from corporate associates Tom Macleod, Michael Finch and Employment senior associate Charlie Thompson.