Singapore-based venture capital firm Sirius Venture Capital has backed an $8-million Series A funding round in Israeli foodtech firm Genie Enterprise, which has invented an automated computer-controlled cooking device.
In a statement, Sirius said the latest funding round for Genie was led by Carl Marks, a merchant banking firm in the US. The funds, it added, will provide Genie Enterprise with additional resources to bolster its infrastructure in Israel.
Funding will also boost its R&D activities and enable it to expand to new geographies, according to the statement.
“This investment will serve as a gateway for us to access Sirius’ well-established network in the broader Asian market, as we navigate new business cultures and culinary preferences within the region,” said Doran Marco, Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Genie Enterprise.
Genie, the company’s computer-controlled cooking device, is capable of producing affordable, tasty and preservative-free dishes from pre-sealed pods within minutes, the startup said. The cooking device uses proprietary technology and algorithms to cook freeze-dried and dry ingredients in a patented cooking system.
Ingredients of restaurant-quality meals are contained in a pre-sealed pod with unique barcodes. The barcode provides the cooking system an indication of how it should cook the meal, as each meal is cooked using various cooking processes specially designed for the ingredients in it.
When a pre-sealed pod is inserted in the cooking device, the meal will be prepared using a pre-programmed proprietary sequence. Genie is currently available in Israel and Australia.
“With this round of financing, Sirius is the only venture capital firm in Asia to join a group of co-investors in reinventing traditional food preparation practices in the home and cooking sector using smart kitchen systems,” said Sirius’ founder and managing director Eugene Wong,
Wong noted that the global food industry is garnering more attention than before, especially agrifood technology, which experienced new record level of venture investment in 2017.
“New technologies and ingredients will shape how food is prepared and placed on our table. Increasingly, food trends will embrace the notion of sustainability, convenience, and health,” he added.
Sirius Venture has been investing in biotech and foodtech startups recently. In February, it made a strategic investment in Israel foodtech startup SuperMeat, which raised $3 million. Wong said the global food revolution is imminent and that food-tech holds the answer to the future of food.
“Our plan is to invest in a high-growth startup that will shift the food industry and reinvent dietary habits in the near future,” Wong said.