Robomart Debuts Fully Autonomous Mobile Grocery Store Concept As It Announces $2M Seed Round

Robomart, the company that introduced the store-hailing concept at CES in 2019 and started rolling out its first pilot store last year, announced a new model for its mobile store concept this week with the Robomart Haven. The Haven, which will join the first-generation Robotmart (now named Oasis), will be available for retail partners starting in 2025.

Unlike the Oasis, which targets ice cream purveyors, restaurants, and cafes, the Haven resembles a convenience store on wheels. According to CEO Ali Ahmed, the Haven can stock over 300 separate SKUs and hold thousands of individual products for sale. The Haven will also act as a small walk-in mobile store, allowing customers to walk inside and shop.

And unlike the Oasis – which are retrofitted vans with drivers to pilot them – Ahmed says that the Havens will be fully autonomous. Spoon readers might remember that the Oasis (then just called Robotmart) was initially intended to be a fully autonomous vehicle, but at some point, the company realized building a fully autonomous vehicle to carry its retail storefront was a lot to bite off for a first product. So instead, they chose to use drivers for their first version of the mobile store and create a fully app-controlled shopping experience (the drivers don’t interact with the customers, according to Ahmed).

But with the Haven, the plan is to make it fully autonomous, according to Ahmed.

“The Haven will not be a retrofitted van with a driver cabin,” Ahmed told The Spoon. “It will be a fully driverless offering that gives us the ability to retrofit the entire space inside to serve our customers.

Ahmed says that the company still doesn’t plan to be “an automobile company,” – meaning they still have no plans to make their own car – but instead plan to work with various automakers to convert an automobile into a Robomart Haven.

With a bigger footprint, Ahmed says future partners will be able to entirely white label and customize their Haven and will be able to have multiple types of food storage (ambient temperature, frozen, cold, or heated) within the vehicle. This differs from the Oasis, which only offers one kind of food storage (such as frozen for its ice cream partner Ben & Jerry’s).

The news of the Haven comes alongside the announcement of the company’s seed funding round of $2 million led by W Ventures with Wasabi Ventures, SOSV, HAX, and Hustle Fund, among others participating. The funding is a vote of confidence for a company that has shown significant traction over the past year, inking deals with seven partners and having a total commitment as of this week for 106 Oasis mobile storefronts.

So far, those storefronts have only been pilots, but Ahmed says they will soon be fully commercial rollouts. While he wouldn’t commit to giving a specific date, Ahmend says that the post-pilot Oasis machines will be out this year, and they will start taking orders for new ones next year. The Haven, which will roll out sometime in 2025, is also open for orders.

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This post originally appeared on TechToday.