- Kiwibot, a US-based robotic delivery startup, announced a partnership with French giant Sodexo.
- The service, launched in October, will enable students and staff at the University of Denver to get food delivered from the campus’ restaurants for $2.50
- Sodexo already had a partnership with one of the other leading robotic delivery startups, Starship technologies. They operate on the George Mason University campus (Washington DC).
Why it matters – DigitalFoodLab’s opinion:
Robotic delivery startups have had a rough time during the COVID-19 lockdown and have had to take some hard measures such as layoffs or look for financing (Kiwibot launched a crowdfunding campaign). Even if they may seem natural beneficiaries of this situation, they could not expand their reach and faced many limitations on their experiments. The combination of campus closures and the ban on international travel (Starship Technologies is initially an Estonian company) made it complicated to redeploy the robots for other uses.
However, the very idea of robotic, drones and autonomous delivery has been reinforced and validated by the crisis, and we have observed a growing interest for it from many large companies and also delivery startups. This new partnership is maybe only the first step of many announcements in this field.