“Smart” kitchen and delivery startup raises $60M for US expansion

Kitopi provides staffing and space for delivery-only restaurants, and recently opened 2 New York spaces

A startup that provides kitchen and delivery services to restaurants has raised $60 million to expand its operations in the U.S.

Kitopi is among a growing suite of companies that provide “ghost kitchens” — or privately managed cooking spaces and staff — that can deliver on behalf of restaurants who are unable to keep up with the rising demands of food delivery.

The firm launched in Dubai in 2018 and opened a Brooklyn kitchen in November and a Manhattan location soon after. It now has 30 other kitchens in London and Dubai. It partners with about 100 restaurants, for which it cooks and delivers food on their behalf.

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It says the most recent series B funding round, led by Knollwood and Lumia Capital, will enable it to expand its platform to more than 100 locations by the end of the year.

The most recent funding round, which brings its total capital raised to $89 million, attracted investments from CE Ventures, GIC, Rise Capital, Reshape, Global Ventures and Wilshire Lane Partners. Commercial Observer first reported the funding round.

The firm is entering a sector where capital is abundant, though business models differ. SoftBank’s Vision Fund last year led a funding round into Reef Technology, which is repurposing parking lots across the country, including an on-demand delivery service for restaurants.

In 2018, Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick made a splash in the cloud kitchens space. Kalanick announced he was investing $150 million into City Storage Systems, the parent company of his CloudKitchens venture, which supplies the equipment, delivery services and marketing services to companies. In November, CloudKitchens hit a snag in Chicago when city officials prohibited it from opening a space because of a proposed zoning change. [CO] — David Jeans