Chipotle invests in autonomous delivery company Nuro’s Series C round
Nuro’s occupantless vehicles leverage robotics, AI technology
Chipotle Mexican Grill has invested in Nuro, an autonomous delivery company leveraging robotics and AI technology. The Mexican-style fast casual backed Nuro’s Series C round of funding.
After building on early investments that provided strategic advantages in the way of digital kitchens and Chipotlanes, Chipotle’s interest in Nuro’s fleet of occupantless and autonomous vehicles is quite timely.
This is the first significant investment in a third-party technology venture since Brian Niccol became chairman and chief executive in 2018. Chipotle’s focus on digital ordering has propelled its digital business to grow over 174 percent in 2020 from the prior year. The Newport Beach, Calif.-based company’s executives expect investment in these “disruptive opportunities” to pay off.
“Nuro could change the traditional delivery model and we believe consumers are going to continue to seek options and additional access points for how and where they enjoy their food,” said Curt Garner, Chipotle chief technology officer.
Chipotle is coming off some solid, competitive moves, including the launch of a digital-order-only Hand-Crafted Quesadilla, and a ramp up of expansion in Canada, with 8 new openings planned between now and March 2022.
Dave Ferguson, Nuro co-founder and president, added, “With financial and strategic support from world-class companies like Chipotle, we can continue to advance our industry-leading autonomous technology, grow our team and expand our delivery service.”
Nuro was started in 2016. Its mission is to “accelerate the benefits of robotics for everyday life.”
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