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Serving you soon – robots that steam up fluffy idlis

Venkatesha Babu Bengaluru | Updated on November 26, 2021

Freshot Robotics creates an automated idlibot to serve idlis with chutney

What does a computer science engineer do when he is unable to fulfill his child’s craving for fresh idlis at midnight? In Bengaluru, the start-up capital of India, he pulls in a product designer friend and starts up a idli manufacturing robot company that will ensure those savoury rice cakes are available, anytime and anywhere.

That is the genesis of Freshot Robotics, which claims to have put together the world’s first fully-automated idli-making robot or a Idlibot.

Suresh Chandrashekaran and Sharan Hiremath are the friends who have launched the start-up to realise their dream of robots serving fluffy idlis with tangy chutney and hot rasam.

The initial trigger

While Chandrashekaran, the co-founder and Chief Product Officer has studied product designing at IIT-Mumbai and counts the likes of Wipro and Skanray Technologies as his clients, Hiremath is a computer science engineer who has worked with large technology corporations such as Cisco in the US before returning to India to set up his own tech company.

 

“It was the incident with Sharan’s child craving, which was the initial trigger, but it was sealed when on a road trip together when we were served stale, rock-hard idlis,” says Chandrashekaran.

Initially, what started as a side-project in January 2019 for the friends, took on a life of its own as they studied the market gap and how to address it. From structurally designing it with food grade, rust-proof steel, with an emphasis of ease of use, Suresh says the plan from day one was on ensuring that the “idlis had nice texture, would be fresh and hot, as well as taste awesome”.

Given his product design expertise, Suresh decided that the idlibots must cook, pack, dispense and self-maintain to a very large extent with very minimal human intervention.

Currently the idlibots can churn out 72 idlis in 10 minutes and the batter in the first drum can hold 5.5 litres for making 350 idlis. There are two such drums in each idlibot before the batter needs to be filled in again. Also, currently each idlibot can make four types of idlis, from podi, piri piri, Italian herbs to chocolate. Realising that idlis are not eaten alone, an accompanying bot dispenses hot rasam or sambar and chutney.

Customisation

Freshot says a lot of product engineering and customisation has gone into manufacturing these idlibots. Each idlibot costs between ₹18 lakh and ₹20 lakh. They also intend to franchise rather than sell these bots.

“We will have them at airports, train stations, offices, highways, large apartment complexes, wherever there is a substantial number of people. We will franchise out based on revenue sharing. Since we have the basic tech now ironed out, we will eventually launch Dosabot, Panipuribot, Juicebot and Ricebot,” says Chandrashekaran.

The first three locations with idlibots will go live in Bengaluru on April 2 next year. The co-founders say they have invested ₹2 crore till now and are looking to raise $2 million to scale up.

 

Published on November 25, 2021

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