Contxto – Investors are lean and hungry for dark kitchens in Latin America. Brazilian startup, Mimic can attest to that following its raising of R$37.2 million (around US$9 million) in a seed round. 

Monashees led the investment, with contributions by Canary, and Valor Capital Group following suit. They were also joined by individual investors with ample experience in running their own businesses in Brazil. 

Noteworthy names include Nubank’s David Velez, DogHero’s co-founder Fernando Gadotti. As well as the co-founder of 99 and Yellow, Renato Freitas, plus Gympass’s co-founder, Vinicius Ferriani.

Now those are just the angels linked to founding startups. José Galló chairman of the board of one of Brazil’s largest fashion retailers, Logas Renner, also contributed.

Thanks to these funds, the startup plans to expand its presence in São Paulo by the end of 2020. It will also improve its software and speed up the delivery process using predictive tech.

Related article: Rappi to close the year with 300 Dark Kitchens

Mimic’s rise and recent investment follow the emerging trend of dark—or cloud—kitchens in Latin America. That is, establishments that prepare food for delivery only. Diners don’t actually stay in the establishment to consume their meal.

In the dark kitchen with Mimic

Mimic emerged in early 2019 in response to restaurants’ needs for delivery applications but that found the idea of mixing food prep operations with tech unappetizing. 

“We seek to give automation and scale to the delivery operation,” explained Andrés Andrade, Mimic’s founder. “Entrepreneurs, consumers, and deliverers: none of them want to mix physical operations with online solutions.”

Essentially, Mimic is the Ecuadorian founder’s answer to areas with few restaurants, poor structuring, and the need for delivery applications. 

Its business model consists of a licensing system, whereas the startup gains the delivery operation of these restaurants. It pays these dark diners royalties while it rakes in the profits for getting the food to the consumer.

Nonetheless, the startup’s role in these dark kitchens is much ampler than that. 

In addition, it provides the kitchen infrastructure where the food is prepared. Mimic determines the production process and trains kitchen staff. Not to mention it outlines the customer communication channels as well as fixes the quality standards for food.

The intention is to ultimately assure consumers top-notch food, while also giving restaurants a fighting chance via efficient delivery operations.

For now, the startup runs a kitchen in the Brazilian neighborhood of Pinheiros, São Paulo focused on preparing burgers. By the first quarter of 2020, it will open three separate locales: a café, a pizzeria, and a pasta joint.

Dark kitchens in Latin America

Other startups that are developing their own concept of dark kitchens include Colombian Rappi and Muy. Like the latter, Mimic also seeks to implement automated learning into its software so as to better predict consumers’ decisions. 

Related article: MUY Tech lands US$4 million from Seaya Ventures

For example, let’s say a person normally orders sushi every Wednesday. The software will anticipate this behavior and have kitchen staff prepared to make the meal before the person even requests it. Neat, huh?

Bon appétit, peeps.