Smoodi wants to see its smoothies in the hands of, well, everyone, and a new infusion of capital and distribution partnership has the startup well on its way.
Born out of Harvard’s Innovation Lab in 2018, CEO Pascal Kriesche and Morgan Abraham call their company a “healthy smoothie shop-in-a-box” that’s essentially a robot that makes fruits, veggies, and add-ins like protein in a smoothie.
Robotic food and cooking machines are not new… remember Chowbotics and Miso? However, Kriesche praises in an email interview that smoodi’s drink machine not only cleans itself, but is also not the traditional “black box” but is transparent so customers can see the frozen ingredients go through the mixing process and even clean the machine herself.
Smoodis range in price from $5.99 to $7.99 and come in flavors such as Brain Boost, which is banana and berry; Green Energizer, made from spinach, banana, matcha and mango; and Tropical Vibes, including pineapple, mango, and coconut.
Since launching in the commercial market in 2021, smoodi’s sales grew 25% monthly and had zero churn, with some convenience store chains requesting additional implementations after the initial pilot, Kriesche said. He predicts 5x growth for 2023.
“This is a testament to our valued customer base that has recognized the changing market trend in consumer demand for a healthy and delicious product,” he said. “The smoothie market has doubled in the last five years and trends for fresh, healthy and vegan are only accelerating.”
Spearheading the new $5 million Series A investment is a group formed by Keith Canning, a former distributor. He was joined by FCP Ventures, UnderscoreVC, Allston Venture Fund, WSPR Fund, Phoenix Club and a group of investors including former Nespresso president Frédéric Levy and Blue Rhino founder Billy Prim.
Kriesche and Abraham are using the new capital to scale up smoodi nationwide. So far that has included adding the executive team with a chief revenue officer and chief operating officer, as well as regional managers, and scaling production capacity across equipment as well as consumables and go-to-market. The company’s production capacity is already at 200 units per month, and Kriesche expects consumables to grow 10-fold over the next six to nine months.
Smoodi is already in convenience stores, offices, restaurants and other retailers, but in addition to the investment, the company has a new partnership with food distribution giant Dot Foods.
Not only will this move help smoodi expand beyond convenience stores, but Dot Foods will eventually take over distribution of smoodi’s equipment and allow the company to launch in new locations in North America in two days instead of the three weeks that are currently needed, Kriesche said.
In 2023, the company plans to introduce new flavors, continue R&D on its machine to automate drink booster dispensing, and test smoodi in Europe.
“We plan to get to thousands of locations through Dot Foods over the next 24 months and many more after that,” Kriesche added. “The biggest challenge in scaling a business like ours has always been the frozen supply chain. With Dot Foods we have a partner that excels in this and has the best coverage in the food industry.”