LA's Delivery Robot Race Is On. Here's How Coco Pink Robots Hope To Stand Out – dot.LA





  Get in the KNOW  
  on LA Startups & Tech  
Equipped with GPS tracking, two-way microphones and a human pilot controlling it from far away, Coco's 50-pound pink robots rolling around San Pedro, Santa Monica and other parts of Southern California are hoping to become a local mainstay.
Welcome to the delivery robot race.
As delivery bots take to the streets, Southern California has become a testing ground for companies like Coco that are trying to distinguish themselves.
The Los Angeles-based startup announced Wednesday that it raised $36 million in a Series A round led by Silicon Valley Bank, Founders Fund and the former president of Silicon Valley incubator Y Combinator and CEO of OpenAI Sam Altman.
Coco, previously known as Cyan Robotics, operates a fleet of semi-automated robots that deliver food across neighborhoods in Los Angeles. It's one of several semi-automated robot delivery services that have popped up in California over the years including Kiwibot, Starship and Nuro.
The bots are piloted by remote drivers. According to the company, hundreds of stores and restaurants have signed up to use Coco's bots, which fulfill orders within up to a two mile radius of the store.
Colapasta, an Italian restaurant in Santa Monica started using Coco several months ago after being approached by the company.
Owner Stefano de Lorenzo said fulfilling orders through Coco is slightly less convenient than working with drivers from delivery apps — staff has to manually load the food into the robot instead of just leaving the order on the table — but customer reception to the robots has been overwhelmingly positive.
"When we started using the service, I noticed that there were three, four or five different orders the same day to the same address," he said. "So I guess people were just loving (the robot) going to the house."
Rash said the company is aiming to shift how people think of food delivery: using small, lightweight electric vehicles instead of large, gas-powered vehicles transporting "a couple pounds of soup a couple blocks all day."
Rash declined to say exactly how many robots the company has in its fleet, but claimed that Coco has the largest fleet out of all the robotic delivery services in Los Angeles, where the city is weighing regulations that could limit how many robots operate in certain neighborhoods.
The proposed legislation would cap the number of delivery robots a company could place in a city council district to 75 and require machines to yield to pedestrians and obey traffic signals and signs.
Some cities have implemented measures to help robot delivery companies. Santa Monica, for example, implemented a "Zero Emissions Delivery Zone," where deliveries can only be made by robotic carts or Electric Vehicles.
This raise brings Coco's total funding to around $42 million. The company is hoping to continue to expand, and is planning to continue increasing its fleet.
Launched in 2020 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the company has expanded operations from one Santa Monica neighborhood to six other neighborhoods in little over a year. In February, the company rolled out their robots in San Pedro, working with Councilman and mayoral hopeful Joe Busciano and the Chamber of Commerce. Several local restaurants including San Pedro Brewing Co. and Whale & Ale signed on.
Even as stores and restaurants continue to reopen after the pandemic, Rash said he's seen delivery sales numbers continue to increase and believes that delivery is here to stay.
"The pandemic gave it a huge boost," he said. "But I think what that really did is it changed consumers' behaviors and let them understand the convenience that they can have by ordering delivery."
Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to [email protected] and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.
Hurricane Ian made a devastating landfall in Florida in late September and as the category four storm ripped through the state an unexpected problem surfaced – a rise in electric vehicle battery fires.

In one case, a Tesla submerged by hurricane floodwaters saw its lithium-ion battery corrode and go up in flames, causing firefighters to dump a staggering 1,500 gallons of water on it to put out the blaze.
Our own intrepid electric vehicle reporter David Shultz recently broke down the issue with these batteries. Here are a few highlights to put this crisis in perspective.
Almost every EV uses lithium-ion batteries, including Teslas. But there are alternatives. “Solid state batteries, for example, are often touted as being more stable and less likely to ignite, though some research suggests the question may be a bit more complex than that,” writes Shultz. “Other companies, like Battery Streak, in Camarillo, CA, are adding exotic materials to more traditional lithium-ion battery formulations in an effort to improve the thermal characteristics and performance.”

As such, Schultz adds, “If any of these companies can find a way to reliably mass produce these batteries and get them into EVs, the cars of tomorrow may prove considerably safer than anything on the road today, at least in terms of fire risk.”
It’s not uncommon for Lithium-Ion batteries to explode, but typically that only happens under extreme heat conditions. The fires that do ignite are often difficult to mitigate since the battery can repeatedly burst into flames, making the issue even more difficult for emergency responders.
“The thing that makes lithium-ion battery fires so serious is that they create a feedback loop known as thermal runaway: Once the battery overheats the electrolytes in the cell catch on fire, which creates more heat, which ignites more electrolytes, etc., etc.” writes Shultz.
In addition, Shultz writes, “Traditional means of stopping the fire, like dousing it in water, are often insufficient to put out the flames because the battery packs are hard to reach and retain enough heat to reignite over and over again as soon as the water stops flowing. In 2019, Firefighters in the Netherlands were forced to submerge a BMW i8 in a tank of water for 24 hours due to a particularly persistent battery fire.”
While it's easy to seize on any bad news about EVs to serve larger political goals of sandbagging the industry in favor of backing up Big Oil, it’s not just EVs at risk of spontaneous ignition.
“While lithium-ion battery fires are nasty and dangerous, calculating the risk they pose to drivers presents a somewhat different picture,” writes Shultz. “A 2017 report [PDF] from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, concluded that…’the propensity and severity of fires and explosions from the accidental ignition of flammable electrolytic solvents used in Lithium-ion battery systems are anticipated to be somewhat comparable to or perhaps slightly less than those for gasoline or diesel vehicular fuels. The overall consequences for Lithium-ion batteries are expected to be less because of the much smaller amounts of flammable solvent released and burning in a catastrophic failure situation.’”
TL;DR gasoline is also flammable. Not to mention, internal combustion engines also have batteries.
Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to [email protected] and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.
Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.
San Diego-based Kneron, a developer of application-specific integrated circuits designed to offer AI-based tools raised fresh capital to create the next generation of innovative edge AI chips, while Loop Global will allocate its new funding to continue expanding operations across the U.S.
Kneron, a San Diego-based AI company, raised $48 million in a Series B funding round led by Horizons Ventures.
Loop Global Inc., an El-Segundo-based provider of EV charging stations raised a $40 million Series A-1 funding round co-led by Fifth Wall Climate and Agility Ventures.
San Diego-based developer of voice analytics Clearspeed raised a $27 million Series C financing round co-led by Ian McKinnon, founder of Sandia Holdings, LLC and Thomas O’Malley Jr., founder of PilotRock Investments.
Los Angeles-based health care startup that helps patients get cost-effective medical assistance, Renee, raised an $8.2 million seed round. Investors include AARP, Quiet Capital, Tau Ventures, Mucker Capital, Fika Ventures, SaaS Ventures, Global Founders Capital and Citylight Ventures.
Yummers, a San Diego-based pet food startup, raised a $6.3 million seed round led by L Catterton.
Los Angeles-based augmented reality platform Fabric, raised $4 million in fresh funding led by Sapir Venture Partners.
Raises is dot.LA’s weekly feature highlighting venture capital funding news across Southern California’s tech and startup ecosystem. Please send fundraising news to Decerry Donato ([email protected]).
Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.
Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.
“Moves,” our roundup of job changes in L.A. tech, is presented by Interchange.LA, dot.LA's recruiting and career platform connecting Southern California's most exciting companies with top tech talent. Create a free Interchange.LA profile here—and if you're looking for ways to supercharge your recruiting efforts, find out more about Interchange.LA's white-glove recruiting service by emailing Sharmineh O’Farrill Lewis ([email protected]). Please send job changes and personnel moves to [email protected].
Electric vehicle manufacturer Rivian tapped Capital One executive Diane Lye as chief information officer.
Rick Hulford joined the maker of the temperature control mug Ember Technologies, Inc. as president of Ember’s consumer business. Prior to joining, Hulford served as VP and general manager at Sonos.
Disney added former Instacart president and former Facebook executive Carolyn Everson to its board.
Frances Townsend stepped down as Activision Blizzard’s compliance chief and will become a senior adviser to the gaming company’s board and CEO.
Juno Diagnostics, a health care technology that is designed to offer in-home genetic testing, hired Todd Whitson as external vice president of global business development and commercial operations. Whitson previously served as chief commercial and strategy officer of NephroSant.
Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.
© dot.LA All rights reserved

source



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.