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Pizza robot-maker Picnic raises another $16.3M

The events of the past year and a half could well mark the beginning of a sea change for the world of restaurant robotics. The essential industrial was slammed amid the pandemic, leaving many companies searching for a decent automated option that could both keep things running and potentially avoid transmission vectors.

Seattle-based Picnic is the latest to benefit from that interest, announcing a $16.3 raise this week. Led by Thursday Ventures — with participation from Creative Ventures, Flying Fish Partners and Vulcan Capital – the Series A includes a $3 million bridge filed last fall.

The company is one of a handful looking to automate the pizza-making process. It’s an obvious target for this technology, given both the food’s popularity and the relative uniformity, versus other meals. XRobotics debuted its own system late-late year, while Zume – possibly the best-known of the bunch – has long since exited the category.

Picnic, meanwhile, says interest in its own pizza system has ramped up of late, announcing a number of industry partnerships, including Orion Land Mark, Ethan Stowell Restaurants, National Service Cooperative  and Baseline Hardware Financing. The plan is to roll the technology out to both restaurants and other public gathering spaces, including schools, stadiums and hospitals. The company says this latest round will go toward headcount and expanding operations.