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Coordinates: 37°23′56″N 122°05′02″W / 37.398925°N 122.083925°W / 37.398925; -122.083925
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Zume, Inc.
Company typePrivate
IndustryManufacturing, Food technology, Food delivery, Automation, Food packaging
Founded2015; 9 years ago (2015)
  • Alex Garden
  • Julia Collins
DefunctJune 2023; 12 months ago (June 2023)
HeadquartersCamarillo, California, United States[1]
Area served
Key people
Alex Garden
ProductsSustainable products, Packaging

Zume, Inc. was an American manufacturing-technology company headquartered in Camarillo, California.[2] Founded in 2015 as an automated pizza parlor, in 2020 the company shifted to food packaging and delivery logistics. In June 2023, the company was shut down.[3]


Zume was founded in 2015 as Zume Pizza[4] by Chairman and CEO Alex Garden[5] and Julia Collins.[6][7] In 2016, it raised $6 million in Series A investment funding from Jerry Yang[8] and SignalFire, a venture capital firm.[9]

Zume's initial business proposition was the automated production and delivery of pizza, which would largely be made by robots and cooked en route to customers.[10][9] In September 2016, it delivered its first pizzas. They were cooked in a van equipped with 56 GPS-equipped automated ovens, timed to be ready shortly before arrival at the address, and then sliced by a self-cleaning robot cutter.[6][7][11] The pizza preparation process was partly automated by November 2016.[12]

The company secured a patent on cooking during delivery,[8][13] which included algorithms to predict customer choices, and planned to partner with businesses to provide other robot-prepared meal components, such as salads and desserts.[13] In fall 2017, Zume raised $48 million in Series B funding.[14]

Baking pizzas in a moving vehicle proved to be impractical, and customers complained about quality problems with the robot-made pizzas; the idea was eventually shelved.[15]

Zume, Inc.[edit]

By 2018, the company announced that it would move away from pizza and make use of artificial intelligence and kitchen technology to become a platform for automated food trucks and would form a larger umbrella company, Zume, Inc.[16] In April 2018, the company announced that it would begin to license its automation technology.[16] It subsequently also began selling food packaging; it holds patents for sustainable food-delivery boxes.[17] It projected revenues of $250 million and $1 billion in the final quarters of 2020 and 2021, respectively.[15] In November 2018, the company raised $375 million from SoftBank, giving it a valuation of $2.25 billion.[18] It subsequently focused on automated production and packaging for other food companies,[17][19] and in 2019 it bought Pivot, a company which made plant-based packaging.[20][21]

The company sought a valuation of $4 billion in 2019 and generated significant public attention.[17][15] Its packaging could not legally hold food in some jurisdictions, including San Francisco, because it contained PFAS, which are chemicals considered harmful to humans by the EPA.[15] In 2020, the founders of Pivot, which Zume acquired, claimed the company was incorrectly valued at the time they were purchased for $20.5 million, which purportedly included $10 million in stock.[21] By May 2020, the company started manufacturing compostable food packaging.[15][22] In 2020, in a series of downsizing, they fired more than 500 employees including robots and delivery trucks.[23] In June 2023, the company was shut down.[3]


  1. ^ "Robotics Startup Zume Is Now Selling Masks". Business Insider. Retrieved 5 May 2021.
  2. ^ "Zume's pizza robots are now turning waste into compostable packaging". CNBC. Retrieved 2 August 2021.
  3. ^ a b McBride, Sarah. "Fallen Pizza Startup Zume Shuts Down After Raising Millions". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 2 June 2023.
  4. ^ "Zume Pizza: Tech start-up that uses robots to make pizza raises nearly $50mn". FDF World.com. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  5. ^ Maze, Jonathan (November 2, 2018). "Robotic pizza-maker Zume raises $375M". Restaurant Business. Retrieved December 20, 2018.
  6. ^ a b Kendall, Marissa (September 29, 2016). "Zume Pizza: Made by robots, baked in delivery truck". San Jose Mercury News. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
  7. ^ a b Entis, Laura; Baran, Jonathan (September 29, 2016). "This Robot-Made Pizza Is Baked in the Van on the Way to Your Door". Fortune. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
  8. ^ a b "Pie in the sky: Technology firms may struggle to disrupt the food business". The Economist. November 26, 2016. Retrieved January 3, 2017.
  9. ^ a b Mannes, John (September 1, 2016). "Robots and on-board ovens deliver on Zume's promise of better pizza". TechCrunch.
  10. ^ Zaleski, Olivia (June 24, 2016). "Inside Silicon Valley's Robot Pizzeria". Bloomberg. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  11. ^ Savvides, Lexxy (November 4, 2016). "See inside a robot pizza factory". CNET. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
  12. ^ Artisanal pizza — with a robot’s personal touch
  13. ^ a b Elgan, Mike (December 24, 2016). "Software is eating the food world". Computerworld (opinion). Retrieved January 2, 2017.
  14. ^ "A look at 42 women in tech who crushed it in 2017". TechCrunch. December 22, 2017. Retrieved January 11, 2018.
  15. ^ a b c d e McBride, Sarah (13 February 2020). "SoftBank's $375 Million Bet on Pizza Went Really Bad Really Fast". Bloomberg. Retrieved 10 July 2021.
  16. ^ a b Heater, Brian (April 25, 2018). "Zume looks to life beyond pizza". TechCrunch. Retrieved April 25, 2018.
  17. ^ a b c "Why a robot pizza startup could be worth $4 billion". Vox. Retrieved 5 May 2021.
  18. ^ "Robot pizza maker reportedly takes $375 million investment from SoftBank". CNBC. November 2, 2018. Retrieved November 5, 2018.
  19. ^ Takahashi, Dean (June 13, 2019). "Zume acquires Pivot Packaging to eliminate plastic in fresh food delivery". VentureBeat. Retrieved June 2, 2021.
  20. ^ "Zume buys packaging company, with eyes on plant-based plastic alternative". TechCrunch. Retrieved 5 May 2021.
  21. ^ a b Schubarth, Cromwell (2020-04-22). "Zume accused of fraud, non-payment by founders of company it bought". Silicon Valley Business Journal. Retrieved 2021-07-11.
  22. ^ Hernbroth, Megan (2020-05-18). "Former robotics startup Zume is now selling face masks and appears to have stopped producing the food packaging that it refocused its business on in January". Business Insider. Retrieved 2021-07-15.
  23. ^ Rennolds, Nathan. "The $500 million robot pizza startup you never heard of has shut down, report says". Business Insider.

External links[edit]

37°23′56″N 122°05′02″W / 37.398925°N 122.083925°W / 37.398925; -122.083925