A new start-up called Bobacino plans to bring the unique boba tea experience to a growing audience of boba aficionados and enthusiasts through advanced artificial intelligence, automation and robotics. The company launched on StartEngine to target a market set to hit US$8.4 billion by 2024 (data per Market Growth Reports).
Darian Ahler, CEO of Bobacino, said, “I wanted to fuse AI, robotics and a range of diverse flavors, to create fresh, new memories for customers. Robots are something that already attract and fascinate people, and it just helps to open up the idea of trying something new because a robot is making it right in front of you. Boba is truly a unique drink that more people need to try. And, in today’s world, contactless solutions/creations are certain to make this that much more appealing – consumers want to know they are drinking something that has gone through minimal exposure to containments before it gets to them.”
Bobacino’s boba teas are made with fresh ingredients and offer customizable and flavorful options. The company expects to bring the AI tea experience to public spaces, including college campuses, airports, office buildings, apartment complexes and other local spaces. Boba tea chains can also add Bobacino machines to their current locations.
“We are seeing robots and automation offer a path for operators facing pandemic challenges and the ordering concerns customers have today,” said Ahler. “Through Bobacino's fully automated boba tea bar, consumers are able to enjoy a beverage prepared by an entirely touchless and AI-powered robot – minimizing exposure to pathogens, while providing them with a drink designed to taste the way they want it to taste. It’s fresh, it’s flavorful and a unique experience. Boba is unlike any other drink out there, and the future of beverage automation is upon us.”
Bobacino’s goal is to make boba more accessible to those who regularly enjoy the boba experience, and to open the door for more consumers to give boba a try, without concerns of contamination.
“It’s an untapped opportunity to leverage the power of robotics and automation to bring a freshly made product to customers who are looking for innovative and customizable options that offer a one-of-a-kind experience,” explained Ahler. “And that’s exactly what Bobacino does with every trip and every sip.”
Ahler noted that the future of AI in foodservice – especially in the tea, coffee and specialty beverage industry – is strong and more automated solutions will be entering the field soon. “These solutions bring three main benefits to the future of the foodservice and beverage industries – the ability to improve and streamline preparation processes, the power to customize and personalize customer experiences, and an added layer of health and safety,” he said.
According to Ahler, this type of solution can help restaurant operators to recover from the effects of the pandemic, allowing them to cut costs and tackle labor shortages, all while increasing production speeds and improving overall profitability. Long term, he said we’ll see more Bobacino-type of standalone machines, capable of automating growing categories within the food and beverage market.
"I am certainly looking forward to seeing what the power of AI, robotics and automation will bring to the future of the food industry,” said Ahler. “It’s definitely exciting to be on the ground floor of these new technological developments, building for the future.”
Bobacino is backed by lead investors Wavemaker Partners, a global venture capital fund, and Wavemaker Labs, an automation-focused venture studio, as well as Embark Ventures, a venture capital firm in Los Angeles with a strong focus on AI and Robotics.
Bobacino also boasts a seasoned team of robotics and food experts made up of executives and founders from Miso Robotics, SpaceX and Microsoft. The company is launching its seed capital raise on equity crowdfunding site StartEngine. Through equity crowdfunding, any individual can invest in the company without large upfront costs.
To learn more, visit Bobacino.co.