Maine-based startup closes on $1.2M seed funding

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Minnow, a Portland-based startup that sells automated “smart” kiosks for managing restaurant takeout orders, has closed on a $1.2 million round of venture capital.

The company said Monday in a news release that the round of seed capital funding was led by Portland, Oregon-based Elevate Capital. The funds will be used to accelerate product development, marketing and sales efforts, as well as to open an office in Portland, Oregon, it said.

Elevate Capital made a $500,000 investment, while individual investors provided the remaining $700,000, the company said. Because Minnow is in one of the “opportunity zones” created under the recently passed Republican-led tax reform law, qualifying investments in Minnow are subject to lower capital gains taxes and other tax benefits, it said.

Minnow produces self-service “pickup pods” that look like high-tech storage lockers for restaurant takeout orders. Customers are notified via a free mobile app when their order is ready, and each internet-connected pod stores one order securely until the customer arrives to pick it up. 

The system is designed to reduce the cost of managing order pickups, eliminate losses caused by theft and pickup mistakes, and offer customers a more convenient pickup experience, the company said. Minnow’s pods take up less than 5 square feet of restaurant floor space and require only a standard 120-volt electrical outlet, it said.

“The Minnow pod was developed to help restaurants manage the growth in online and delivery ordering, and to help them meet customers’ demand for more convenience,” company CEO Steven Sperry said.

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