Food robotics startup Karakuri shutting down

Karakuri, a startup that uses robots to assemble ready meals for food industry clients, is closing down. Founder and CEO Barney Wragg made the announcement in a LinkedIn post. The company offers its FRYR family of automated fry lines that control time, temperature, and quantity when frying foods. It also offers SEMBLR, an automated meal assembly system that can serve a wide variety of ingredients and cuisines.

Karakuri spent the last several months trying to secure additional funding, according to a report from Sky News. It had most recently been in talks with Henny Penny, a food-service equipment manufacturer.

After the negotiations with Henny Penny fell apart, Karakuri appointed administrators. News Sky reported that RSM, which has a history of working with Karakuri, likely is the administrator. Although a spokesperson from the company told UK Tech that a “rescue deal is unlikely.”

In a statement, Karakuri said: “After extensive negotiations with potential investors and acquirers to explore all possible options for the business, we’re sorry to report that Karakuri has been unable to secure the funding required to continue our developments and bring our products to market.

“As a result, as of today, we will begin to wind down our operations and are working with external advisors on the next steps.

“We’d like to thank all of those who have supported us on our journey, our investors, customers, suppliers, and most importantly our incredible team.

“Our priority is now to help the team members find new roles. We’ll publish a list of the talented people who make up Karakuri and their skills via LinkedIn shortly.

“Thank you again for your support.”

Karakuri was founded in 2018 by Wragg. Ocado bought a nearly 20% stake in the company in 2019 for around £4.75 million ($6 million). At the time of the investment, Ocado saw Karakuri’s technology as a potential game changer for food preparation.

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