Seattle startup Minnow is hoping to capture some of the increased demand for contactless technologies as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 3-year-old company just raised a $2.2 million seed round led by Portland, Ore.-based Elevate Capital. Portland Seed Fund and LPC Ventures, the VC arm of Lincoln Property Company, also invested. Total funding to date is $3.4 million.
Minnow makes IoT-enabled food pickup stations called pods which are installed in restaurants, cafeterias, food halls, office buildings, apartments, and more. It works with restaurant partners that supply the food. Users are sent a menu every weekday from which they can choose items and after the order is filled, they can grab their food from a secure pod by unlocking it with a smartphone link. There are no touchscreens or keypads.
“We have a hardware-as-a-service model, where we provide 1) the hardware; 2) the software needed to manage the network of pods, restaurant and foodservice providers, consumers, and delivery people; and 3) maintenance and customer service — all for a flat monthly fee,” Minnow CEO Steve Sperry told GeekWire earlier this year.
Sperry previously founded startups including Primus, Acadio, and Verdiem in Seattle.
RetailWire reported that contactless solutions for payment and other retail experiences were already on the rise prior to the pandemic, with adoption rates now increasing even more.
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