Wednesday, June 12, 2024


Aniai Closes $12 Million Pre-Series A Funding to Accelerate Production of Its Robotic Kitchen Solution

credit : Aniai

Aniai, a fast-growing robotic company and global leader in innovative kitchen solutions, has successfully secured a $12 million pre-Series A funding round. Led by InterVest, one of the largest venture capital firms in South Korea, the round includes investments from new investors, such as SV Investment and UK-based Ignite Innovation, as well as from an existing investor, Capstone Partners. This most recent investment brings Aniai’s total funding to date to $15 million.

Founded in 2020, Aniai is a groundbreaking startup spearheading the innovation, development, and commercialization of a robotic solution for cooking hamburgers. Its flagship product, ‘Alpha Grill,’ leverages robotics for efficient hamburger cooking, boasting a double-sided grill that can cook up to eight patties simultaneously or 200 patties per hour. When Alpha Grill is deployed in a kitchen, restaurant brands can streamline operations by eliminating repetitive tasks associated with hamburger patty cooking tasks such as pressing and flipping. This not only reduces cooking time but also decreases labor intensity for employees.

“Aniai has successfully completed a round of funding from both domestic and international investors who have recognized our innovative solutions, future potential and remarkable progress within the foodservice industry to date,” said Gunpil Hwang, CEO and co-Founder of Aniai. “This capital infusion will help our mission to improve kitchen productivity through robotics and automation while helping us ramp-up production to meet current and future demand. Additionally, Aniai plans to augment its robotic solutions by adding advanced, cloud-based, AI software to further enhance the capabilities and performance of the Alpha Grill early this year, which will benefit new and existing Aniai customers.” 

The upcoming software release for Alpha Grill will include a feature that will employ AI to discern the color of the hamburger patties and assess their quality through real-time vision sensors during the cooking process. For instance, if a hamburger patty does not meet brand’s cooking specifications and requirements, the Alpha Grill promptly notifies the cooking staff, ensuring rigorous and enhanced quality control. The latest cloud-based, AI feature from Aniai will make its debut at the National Restaurant Association Show, an industry leading foodservice trade show, in May.

With its most recent funding round, Aniai will fast-track the launch of its first dedicated manufacturing facility called Factory One in South Korea to help ensure stable production and supply chain management for Alpha Grill, aligning with its ongoing North American and global expansion efforts. Aniai’s Factory One has the capacity to produce over 1,000 Alpha Grill units per year.  

“Aniai has demonstrated its market prowess by successfully commercializing its innovative cooking robots, thereby delivering industry-leading profitable impact to its customers,” said a representative from the lead investor, InterVest. “The company enhanced its value by pioneering a new market and securing substantial contracts within a brief timeframe. We look forward to seeing the positive impact that Aniai's cooking robots will make on the U.S. Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) industry.”

Aniai, headquartered in New York City, has been piloting Alpha Grill with several leading North American hamburger brands since Q3 of 2023, targeting multiple implementations and initial rollouts within the next twelve months. The company has already successfully deployed Alpha Grill to seven South Korean hamburger franchises, including DOWN TOWNER, BAS Burger, CJ Freshway, and Mom's Touch. Furthermore, Aniai has recently announced new partnership with Lotteria, Teisty Burger, and Fault Burger, securing 500 Alpha Grill pre-orders for delivery beginning early in Q1 of 2024.

In 2023, Aniai secured a $3 million seed round investment led by Capstone Partners and Lotte Ventures. The company was also awarded the 2023 Kitchen Innovations Award at the National Restaurant Association Show.

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