Serve Robotics, the sidewalk delivery robot startup that began life as a research project within Postmates called X, is going public via reverse merger, The Spoon has learned. The news, first reported in Techcrunch, marks one of the first exits for a food automation startup and the first known exit for a sidewalk delivery automation startup.
According to Techcrunch, Serve is going public via a reverse merger with blank check company Patricia Acquisition Corp. Ahead of the reverse merger, which was completed earlier this month according to filings with the SEC, raised $30 million from existing Uber, Nvidia, and Wavemaker Partners.
The news is a rare bright spot in a tough stretch for food automation startups. Companies shutting down or laying off employees has become commonplace over the past 12 months as venture capital funding dries up, with hard-tech sectors like robotics getting hit especially hard. Basil Street Pizza, Pazzi, Chowbotics, and Creator have called it quits over the past year, while others like Picnic have had to lay off employees as they struggle to raise additional capital.
The journey from a skunkworks project to a publicly traded company has been quite the journey for Serve. Initially debuted in pretty much the same form factor as today’s big-eyed delivery bot in 2018, the Serve robot has gone from a Postmates project to a division within Uber to spinout to a SPAC-fueled public company in the space of five years.
Company CEO Ali Kashani has been along for the entire ride, first serving as Postmates head of special projects in 2017 when Serve was first incubated within X, then serving as head of robotics at Uber, and later becoming CEO of the Uber spinout. And as of this month, Kashani is becoming CEO of a publicly traded company delivery automation startup.
This post originally appeared on TechToday.