Crown Digital, the Singapore-based, full-stack hardware and software tech start-up behind ELLA the robot barista, has raised S$5 million (about $3.7 million) in a pre-Series A round from Temasek’s Heliconia Capital Management, Momentum Ventures (SMRT), ParticleX, Leave a Nest, Gloca Link, and M4ever.
In addition to this most recent round of investment, East Japan Railway Company (JR East) participated in Crown Digital’s Seed round and recently completed a joint test marketing exercise at Tokyo and Yokohama stations in Japan.
This latest capital raise provides Crown Digital the funds to grow its team, accelerate deployment across Asia, and develop new capabilities and concepts.
In March 2022, Crown Digital launched new automated sandwich café Bytes Station at Raffles Place MRT station. Together with ELLA and other new tech applications, Bytes Station demonstrates the potential of robotics and AI to re-invent the commuter lifestyle experience and energize urban retail. Crown Digital will be launching similar robotic coffee and automated café concepts across 29 MRT stations in Singapore.
“Crown Digital’s innovative, AI-based ecosystem for F&B solutions is more relevant than ever in today’s post-Covid world. We are pleased that Heliconia Capital is joining us on our journey as we scale up production and resources to expand across Asia,” Crown Digital CEO and founder Keith Tan said.
Looking ahead, Crown Digital is looking to close a Series A investment round in June, the funds from which will be used to enhance ELLA’s design and technology, and scale up manufacturing to meet demand.
“We believe there are strong opportunities for new retail businesses like ELLA as they provide automated, contactless and cashless solutions for the post-pandemic market, while delivering good customer experiences. We are excited to support this next phase of Crown Digital’s growth,” said Heliconia Capital CEO Derek Lau.
Full-stack startup Crown Digital began with the goal of delivering a contactless artisanal coffee experience to the world’s growing community of grab-and-go commuters. Its creation, ELLA, one of the world’s first successful robot baristas, humanised technology and demonstrated the potential of robotics and AI to re-invent the commuter lifestyle experience and energize urban retail.
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