Walla Walla / WA. (wbb) Wilkinson Baking Company (WBC), creator of the world’s first fully-automated commercial bread baking robot, announced the close of its fully subscribed USD 3.0 million seed round. The round was led by prominent Washington investor Ken Peterson of Columbia Ventures Corporation (CVC), along with Rich Product Ventures (RPV). Several angel investors also participated. Funds will primarily be used to build and deploy additional BreadBots.
«In an era of high transportation costs and staffing constraints, I immediately recognized the potential for the BreadBot,» said Ken Peterson, CEO of CVC. «The company required capital to unlock its next phase of growth and I was excited to partner with WBC and the Wilkinson family to build more BreadBots and see them deployed in grocery stores.»
In July 2022, Wilkinson Baking Company deployed their first commercial-ready BreadBot™ into Andy’s Market in College Place, Wash. This is the company’s first permanent deployment, moving beyond initial test deployments. The company is manufacturing and assembling additional BreadBots™ and expects to have 20 units deployed by early 2023.
«We are having engaging conversations with grocers who see our vision for changing the way bread is manufactured and distributed,» said Paul Rhynard, WBC CEO. «This is just the beginning of our journey with a highly disruptive solution that brings truly fresh bread to consumers, thanks in part to our incredible new partners.»
RPV, the corporate venture arm of Rich’s, a $4.5bn family-owned food company, also took an equity position in WBC. Dinsh Guzdar, Managing Director of RPV, stated «Wilkinson is uniquely positioned to meet the many needs of grocers, bringing better bread margins, fresher product, and an improved in-store experience all through automation that does not require additional labor.»
Prior to the series seed raise, WBC funded the company through founder contributions, angel investors, and convertible debt, which was converted into preferred equity at the close of the round.