Blog: Avokado Lab Brings Robotics and Artificial Intelligence to Restaurant Business – BusinessKorea
Avokado Lab aims to disrupt the restaurant industry by using robotics and artificial intelligence. To resolve the difficulty of having a quality meal at an affordable price, Seoul National University and Carnegie Mellon University alumni, including CEO Benjin Kim, HW lead Robert Baek, SW lead Raphael Kim, have come together to start their venture.
The founders have always been dissatisfied with meals currently offered. When they had to eat out most of their meals during their college and early working years, there were no good restaurants that offered a tasty, healthy and well-balanced meal at an affordable price. The founders tried to “meal-prep” their weekly meals in zip-lock boxes in advance but the process was time-consuming and unsustainable. As the number of people eating in restaurants is increasing while the number of people cooking at home is decreasing, they realized it is critical to introduce a scalable solution enhancing the quality of restaurants.
Among all varieties of tasks done inside the kitchen, Avokado Lab focuses on building automation around core processes, such as preparing, storing, dispensing, and cooking. Initially, their target is on dispensing and cooking, which will be adopted in their first fast-casual restaurant planned to open in the near future. CEO Benjin Kim says, “Our vision is to create a better eating experience with technology. Our current focus is on automating processes within a restaurant, but we envision to innovate the whole end-to-end process from growing ingredients to user consumption. Avokado Lab strives to provide people with eating experience at a much higher level than what is now.”
Avokado Lab is not their first startup together. The team has gone through five projects in the past three years and continued to challenge the norm. “Since the problem we are trying to solve at Avokado Lab is what we experience every day, we are deeply immersed in finding the solution. The need is what drives us, keeping us motivated to build and validate iterations of prototypes at a very fast pace,” Kim said.
Currently, Seoul National University alumni, engineer Bliss Jeong, designer Ian Jeong, and designer Louise Kim have joined the team to fulfill the mission.
Avokado Lab has been developing a business plan and core technology with the help of its seed investor Springcamp, a venture capital subsidiary of Naver Corp. Now with the follow-on investment from venture capital Springcamp and FuturePlay, Avokado Lab plans to accelerate the development and evolve their solution to be market ready.