Funding of $16.5 million goes to company using robots to make pizzas

Funding of $16.5 million goes to company using robots to make pizzas

HAWTHORNE, CALIF. — Stellar Pizza, which uses robots to make pizzas on a mobile pizza restaurant truck, has received a $16.5 million Series A financing round led by Marcy Venture Partners, a venture capital firm founded by music producer Shawn Carter (Jay-Z), Jay Brown and Larry Marcus.

The funding comes before Stellar Pizza launches this fall at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. The company plans to build a fleet of pizza restaurant trucks and expand to other college campuses.

After customers order a pizza through a Stellar Pizza app, a ball of dough is dispensed from the refrigerator and pressed into a 12-inch pie. Robots add sauce and toppings before the pizza is placed automatically in an oven set at 900° F. After the pizza is done, a conveyor retrieves it from the oven. A Stellar Pizza employee cuts and boxes the pizza. Another employee drives the truck, which has the capacity to make 420 pizzas. A single pizza takes 5 minutes to prepare.

Three former SpaceX engineers — Benson Tsai, Brian Langone and James Wahawisan — founded Stellar Pizza in 2019. Mr. Tsai is now chief executive officer while Mr. Langone is chief technology officer and Mr. Wahawisan is chief operating officer. Ted Cizma, former executive chef and director of foodservice at SpaceX, is Stellar Pizza’s director of culinary operations.

Previously announced fund-raising rounds for Stellar Pizza added up to $9 million and were led by Root Ventures with participation from Crosslink Capital and Collaborative Fund.