Art of the possible: Chapatis made by robots
SINGAPORE, Aug 22 — The humble Indian flatbread, chapati accompanying lentils, vegetables or meat, now has broader international reach and appeal thanks to Singaporean entrepreneur Pranoti Nagarkar, a National University of Singapore graduate in mechanical engineering and her software engineer husband Rishi Israni.
The duo are the founders of kitchen robotics start-up Zimplistic, the company behind the Rotimatic flatbread-making robot, which uses artificial intelligence and machine-learning algorithms to roll out fresh rotis and wraps in minutes.
Within five days of launching pre-orders in Singapore and the United States in June 2014, the first batch of Rotimatic orders worth US$5 million (RM20.052 million) was snapped up.
The order book for Rotimatic has kept growing despite its price rising to US$999 each from the launch price of US$599.
With a wait list of orders worth close to US$115 million, Rotimatic is scaling up production as it plans to take another round of orders in Singapore and expand worldwide.
In July last year, to support Rotimatic’s technological research and growth plans, Zimplistic raised US$11.5 million in Series B funding from NSI Ventures and the venture investing arm of global engineering giant Robert Bosch.
Israni, CEO of Zimplistic, said: “We are working on software upgrades that will unlock ways of customising flatbreads, enable users to control Rotimatic through the app and download different recipes from the cloud.
“We are committed to making the kitchen not just the heart but also the brain of a home.”
Zimplistic, highlighted by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong yesterday, is one of many successful start-ups incubated at Block 71 Ayer Rajah — the thriving entrepreneurial hotbed supported by government agencies not only with funding but also other services like go-to-market strategies.
Entrepreneurship is key to growing the economy and building society, he said.
“Entrepreneurs play an important role in our society, not just by creating jobs and prosperity but also with their resourcefulness and optimism. They give our society the confidence that anything is possible. We need that mindset in Singapore. We may fail and fail again, but if we refuse to give up and keep on trying, one day we will succeed,” he said. — TODAY