AI / Food and drink / Funding / Hiring / Investing

Agot AI delivered a seed funding extension and new food industry partnerships

The startup developing tech for quick service restaurants closed on an additional $2 million in SAFE notes to complete its seed round, with support from Yum! Brands.

Agot AI is bringing tech to the kitchen at quick service restaurants. (Photo by Flickr user Jim G, used via a Creative Commons license)
It’s yet another promising sign that local VC deal activity will pick up in 2022.

Food service tech startup Agot AI announced a $2 million SAFE note extension to its Series A round, along with updates on pilot programs it’s operated with industry partners such as bigwig Yum! Brands.

The additional funding follows a $10 million SAFE note round the Pittsburgh company closed in September to support product deployment for its clients. The latest updates from Agot also come after the company was named as a RealLIST Startup in Pittsburgh on the city’s first-ever list.

The investors on the full Series A round now include Conti Ventures (the VC investment arm of the Continental Grain Company), the Kitchen Fund, Grain Ventures and Yum!, which operates quick service restaurant — aka QSR — chains such as KFC, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. In addition to the funding news, Agot also shared that it has been partnering with Yum! for pilot programs in around 20 of the corporation’s restaurants across various regions.

A software solution to food prep errors and systems at QSRs, Agot’s trademarked Kitchen Awareness platform uses cameras, computer vision and artificial intelligence to collect data from in-store, drive-through and online orders and find ways of improving business practices in operations, staffing and kitchen protocols. The platform also has the capability to identify order errors before food is delivered to the customer, a feature that’s become more important with the popularity of order delivery companies like DoorDash, which make it hard for a customer to correct an order after receipt.

Cofounder and CEO Evan DeSantola told that Agot has been operating its pilot programs for over a year, and has plans to expand its computer vision platform into about 100 restaurants under Yum! depending on the pilots’ success.

CEO Evan DeSantola. (via LinkedIn)

“We are seeking to improve order accuracy and drive improvements in operations and customer experience in our pilot deployments,” he said of Agot’s 2022 goals. Now that the team has established some key proofs of concept, DeSantola said it will focus on scaling deployments of the Kitchen Awareness platform.

“When we came across Agot we knew that it had the power to transform the industry, particularly with the new dynamics we see in QSR since the start of COVID,” said Adrian Reiter, senior associate at Conti Ventures, in a press release. “The need for consistency in order accuracy has surged since curbside pick-ups and drive-thru ordering has become the norm. We continue to be impressed with the work the team is doing and the innovation they are inserting into every piece of the food service experience.”

DeSantola wasn’t able to share exact plans for the startup’s next round of funding, but he has hope that continued success for the company could lead to another announcement later this year.

“We think that the data that we get from the next deployments over the course of 2022 will allow us to continue this tremendous traction and commercial validation that we’ve had and technical validation in order to do to continue to expand our business,” he said.

Agot also has big hiring plans for the new year. Across remote and optional in-person positions at one of its three physical offices in Pittsburgh, Chicago and Argentina, DeSantola said the startup will be looking to build out its full-stack engineering team to support the computer vision, AI and other software needs of its platform. Right now, Agot has around 55 employees working across seven countries.

DeSantola noted that Agot’s hiring process will be agnostic of location given the remote nature of its current business structure, but that employees based in Pittsburgh would have the benefit of a chance to work in person at its Wilkinsburg office. Current openings include roles for a senior computer vision engineer, a senior DevOps engineer, a senior backend software engineer and a technical project manager.

Agot’s funding news comes on the heels of the announcements of Mindstate Design Labs’ $11.5 million seed round and Metafy’s $25 million Series A.

Sophie Burkholder is a 2021-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Heinz Endowments.
Companies: Agot.AI

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