DLR (Deep Learning Robotics) is a startup featured in The Kitchen, a Food Tech incubator which is a joint venture of the Israel Innovation Authority (IIA) and Strauss Group. It provides a way of coping with the vast variability of food industry production lines and products.
“The food industry lags far behind in automation, and particularly in robotics,” explains Amir Zaidman, VP of Business Development at “The Kitchen”. “We recognized that the problem is in production processes that change over between small batches. When you live in a very uninventive environment, and when the factory is staffed not by engineers, but by simple laborers, then the robot needs to be very simple too.
“DLR is developing a smart robot that can observe what a production line worker is doing, learn the task, and then perform the same task on its own. Within a few hours the robot can master a new task – inserting cookies into a package, for example – and there’s no need for someone to reprogram the robot each time the product or the task changes. The result can be higher industrial output and lower food prices.”
So, does Food Tech look promising for investors? “In 2015, nearly $6 Billion of venture capital was invested in Food Tech worldwide,” says Zaidman. “That’s almost double the amount of investment in 2014, and 2014 was almost a twofold increase from 2013. Food Tech in Israel is still in its infancy, with a limited number of investors. At present, we are Israel’s first and only Food Tech incubator.
“I want Food Tech to be recognized as a sector where things happen, an industry with money, one where you can change the world and where you can make a lucrative Exit. I want to see a vibrant and fruitful Food Tech community here, not only for the sake of The Kitchen or Strauss Group but for everyone. We’re not about competition, only about collaboration.”