The recent recapitalization of Wroclaw startup Poley.me by Unfold.vc is in line with the strategy of the fund, which after the rebranding announced in March this year, intensifies its investment activities. In addition to the active search for new projects, the fund is heavily involved in the companies it already has in its portfolio. In Poley.me, which automates the process of selling, preparing and serving drinks, it has just increased its capital engagement.
Unfold.vc believed in the company as early as 2021, thus expanding its investment categories to include the RaaS (Robot as a Service) model, pointed out as an upcoming trend in service automation. The acquisition of further shares in Poley.me is the result of the successful implementation of the company’s plans, which include the development of technology and implementation of first deployments.
– Poley.me shows a great potential for development and growth, among others due to the presence in the industry, which especially now needs innovative solutions. We see that progressive automation is entering new areas, not so much replacing human work, but making it easier. We pay special attention to companies that respond to the changes happening around us. As an investor we see the global potential of Poley.me, which is why we are once again investing in this experienced team with high engineering, managerial and business competences – says Magdalena Surowiec, managing partner at Unfold.vc.
First thousand in a week
Poley.me was founded in 2019 on the initiative of a group of engineering friends: Dawid Kościółek, Daniel Wieczorek, Michał Szarek and Kamil Paśko. Within a few months of the business idea, they set up a company and then built a prototype machine, which Unfold.vc appreciated, already investing a total of PLN 1 million in the project.
The machine has just stood at the first customer’s place, thus starting the official sale of drinks. During the first seven days after the launch it served over a thousand of them.
– Our robot has aroused great interest, both from clients, who literally thank us for this solution, and from the bartenders themselves, whose work is really relieved by the machine and allows them to focus on creative cocktails and building relationships with guests. People come up to us and say: finally, this is what we needed. We also get feedback from the market – more and more calls from owners of bars and other catering outlets. We are happy that step by step we are realizing our plan. We have built a prototype, which investors believed in. Now we’ve shown that our solution makes sense from a business point of view, increasing efficiency and turnover of establishments – says Dawid Kościółek, partner in Poley.me.
Proprietary, fully autonomous robot can prepare up to 120 beers or drinks per hour, multiplying the throughput and eliminating long queues at bars – it takes tens of seconds to serve one customer. Poley.me plans to use artificial intelligence, allowing the machine to combine flavors based on customer preferences, as well as verify that the person is of legal age. The machine is able to take the order and payment, and then dispense the drink along with a receipt.
The startup promises to continue working on the technology so that the robot becomes more reliable and efficient while meeting the growing expectations of customers. With funding from Unfold.vc, Poley.me will pursue an ambitious plan to further improve the product and expand its sales network.
Next round on the way
– In our plans for the near future we have to improve the product, so that after the next round, planned for the fourth quarter, we can start production on a larger scale and be able to distribute up to a dozen machines per month, gaining new customers in different locations. Seeing the interest of funds in our company, we plan to raise another EUR 1 million this year. Financing will be used to scale the business – announces Dawid Kościółek, a partner in Poley.me.
Representatives of Poley.me plan a broad expansion, first locally in Wroclaw and Warsaw, and then abroad in major European cities.
The Covid-19 pandemic has helped innovative machines enter new industries. Already 2 years ago, the International Federation of Robotics reported in “World Robotics Reports 2020” that there are nearly 2.7 million robots in the world. They work mainly in factories, laboratories, light industry, agriculture or medical care. More and more often they are used in gastronomy, supporting waiters in serving dishes or cooks in creating dishes. The pandemic has clearly exposed the key role of robots and accelerated the automation trend in the industry.
– Until now, most of the processes in food service were done manually, but such a rapidly changing industry needs support from automation. Covid-19 has given foodservice owners the impetus to make bold changes in the face of, among other things, employees moving to other sectors, but also the fact that customers expect high standards of hygiene. The demand for innovative, safe solutions in this area has increased exponentially,” emphasizes Daniel Wieczorek, partner and CEO of Poley.me.
Originators of Poley.me emphasize that the machine is not meant to replace bartenders, but to be their partner in their daily work, contributing to generating even more profits. – We feel that this is a good moment to develop our business. Just 10 years ago, building a machine like this and getting it to market would have cost a lot more and taken a lot more time. We are able to go through this process within a few months. Robotization of gastronomy is the present time and we have been preparing for this moment for several years – emphasize representatives of the company.