Moley introduces its disruptive robotic kitchen
Mark Oleynik founded Moley in January 2014. His concept: to bring a fully robotic and automated robotic kitchen to the user’s home. The really cool thing about this system is that it will be engineered to learn recipes by monitoring the user’s activity and even download recipes from famous chefs or friends. It is being dubbed as the “robotic chef that cooks world class chef-inspired dishes in your own home”.
The first patent was filed in February 2014, the month after Oleynik came up with the idea of the robot kitchen, so patenting was integral to the project right from the outset. It's something that a lot of startups don't think is worth allocating any of their limited financial resource to, however it can be one of the most astute things a brand new company can do. By patenting ideas early, a small organization can avoid being infringed upon by other companies. Another reason why startups might consider patenting early on will relate to their end goals. It's good to keep the house in order as a clear IP strategy can help persuade investors to invest and demonstrates diligent management. If the intent is to sell the business then having a solid IP portfolio will make the company more valuable.
As you can see from the graph above, a PatSnap query to return patents related to 'Robotics' and 'Kitchens' brought back only a limited number of results. It indicates that the competitive space is very small and the technology is largely untouched. We know that Moley is only three years old, yet it ranks third out of the top ten patentees in the space. What could this tell us? Well firstly it is quite impressive that a new startup with a specific technology is at the top of the competitive space. It also indicates that Moley’s product is addressing a consumer need that hasn't been successfully tackled so far.
There is a lot of potential for the future within this technology. In the wider technological world, for example, think about its use in the art world to replicate famous sculptors or in the beauty world where hairdressers could no longer be needed. Negotiations are still in the early stages, but Moley claims it is in talks with one of the biggest property developers in China, an international airline that’s looking at how they execute their in-flight meals, and one of the largest fast-food chains in the world. These three potential avenues are extremely exciting and the use of the Moley's technology in any one of these three could change the space as we know it.
We will see this technology available to the public in 2018 for a price of $75,000. This may seem a little on the pricey side but if you calculate the cost of a new kitchen including appliances you will find this seems comparatively cheap. Moley also isn’t worried as it already has a large number of names on its waiting list. Will we see this small startup turn into something much bigger over the next few years? More importantly, how much will Moley’s patent portfolio increase in value as other companies enter the market and license its intellectual property?