One of the largest labour automation technology providers in the American hospitality industry, the brainchild of a Waterloo Engineering alumnus, is now a publicly traded company with an initial public offering of US $120 million.
Presto Automation Inc., a restaurant technology company that provides automation solutions for large enterprise customers, was founded in 2008 by Rajat Suri (BASc ’07, chemical engineering) to address growing labor shortages in the hospitality industry.
“This move provides us with greater access to capital that will be used to accelerate technology development and market adoption,” Suri, the company’s CEO, said in a company memo. “As a result, restaurants across the world can have access to today’s best technology, receive a continuous stream of ongoing innovation, and be assured of getting a variety of complementary technologies to support their future needs.”
Presto’s technology uses highly advanced artificial intelligence (AI) to combine its Voice AI, Computer Vision and Touch products into a unified platform that delivers a seamless and personalized restaurant experience for guests.
Drive-thru, counter or table orders are taken by Presto’s tech instead of humans which improves order accuracy and speeds up service delivery. Restaurants are thus more labour efficient and able to generate more revenue per guest.
“As the next step of our evolution and maturity, going public seemed like the right step, because a lot of our customers are public companies,” Suri said in an article. “When you’re making the decision to have tech implemented at each of your thousand-plus stores, it helps to know that your counterpart is also well-capitalized, well-governed and not a fly-by-night startup.”
The public listing was made possible by a merger with special acquisition company Ventoux CCM Acquisition Corp.