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Published on May 20, 2024
Austin's Pipedream Labs Raises $13M to Pioneer Underground Food Delivery RevolutionSource: X / Pipedream Labs

An Austin-based company is charting new territory in food delivery, swapping the roads for underground tunnels. Pipedream Labs' subterranean approach, modeled after utility networks, could potentially revolutionize the way we get our takeout while reducing the carbon footprint associated with traditional delivery methods.

Here's how it pans out: customers place orders via an app, and restaurant staff load the meals on robotic vehicles through a hatch. These bots zip through tunnels to deliver the chow directly to customers, according to a KVUE report. Brian Johnson, city manager of Peachtree Corners, praised the system for its potential to cut down on road traffic and emissions, "Every single delivery that is happening is potentially taking a car trip and removing it, and you know, that's congestion, that's emissions," he said.

Fueling its aspirations, Pipedream recently raised $13 million. Its Instant Pickup system—a robotic cart that shortens wait times for takeaway food—is gaining traction, with more than 100 preorders, including from Wendy’s. Restaurant Business reports that Pipedream's founder, Garrett McCurrach, aims to swiftly meet this demand thanks to the new influx of cash.

This isn't just a local venture, Pipedream has high-flying plans to weave its underground networks through entire cities. It's chosen Peachtree Corners for preliminary testing, where it successfully connected an office to a retail destination via a 0.7-mile tunnel. If all goes according to plan, next spring, one city will play host to a more extensive network, as stated in the company's vision of "hyperlogistics," which promises deliveries in under ten minutes for less than a dollar. Investors like Starship Ventures and Myelin Ventures are on board, signaling confidence in Pipedream's bold objectives. the company has its sights on transforming urban delivery infrastructure within the next few years.

Apart from their environmental pitch, Pipedream's ventures stand poised to possibly reshape the urban landscape, by bringing efficiency to the delivery sector unseen until now. With significant funding now under their belt, and key restaurant partnerships in the pipeline, Pipedream's underground delivery system may soon emerge as a frontrunner in the logistics field.

Austin-Science, Tech & Medicine