Chipotle Unveils New $50 Million Food Tech Venture Fund

Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

​Chipotle's latest digital innovation, Chippy, is an autonomous kitchen assistant that makes tortilla chips.
Courtesy of Chipotle

Mexican fast food chain Chipotle has launched a new $50 million venture fund aimed at early-stage restaurant technology startups.

The Cultivate Next fund will focus on startups that “will enhance our employee and guest experience, and quite possibly revolutionize the restaurant industry," Curt Garner, Chipotle's chief technology officer, said in a statement Tuesday.

Chipotle, which is based in Newport Beach, has been active in the food tech space recently. The company partnered with Pasadena-based Miso Robotics to create an automated machine designed to cook and season Chipotle’s signature tortilla chips. The robot, named “Chippy,” is currently being tested at the Chipotle Cultivate Center innovation hub in Irvine.

“Investing in forward-thinking ventures that are looking to drive meaningful change at scale will help accelerate Chipotle's aggressive growth plans,” Garner said.

Los Angeles is home to a growing scene of startups active in food tech, a sector that received $39.3 billion of venture capital funding last year, according to PitchBook data. Many startups have looked to assist a restaurant industry that is grappling with supply chain issues and labor shortages; Wavemaker Labs, a food tech incubator based in Santa Monica, has backed several startups that aim to automate food assembly processes—including "Chippy" designer Miso Robotics and robotic pizza vending machine Piestro.

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Snap Mandates Employees Work From the Office Four Days a Week

Nat Rubio-Licht
Nat Rubio-Licht is a freelance reporter with dot.LA. They previously worked at Protocol writing the Source Code newsletter and at the L.A. Business Journal covering tech and aerospace. They can be reached at
Snap logo and hq
Photo by rblfmr/ Shutterstock

Snap is the latest major tech company to bring the hammer down on remote work: CEO Evan Spiegel told employees this week that they will be expected to work from the office 80% of the time starting in February.

Per the announcement, the Santa Monica-based company’s full-time workers will be required to work from the office four or more days per week, though off-site client meetings would count towards their in-office time. This policy, which Spiegel dubbed “default together,” applies to employees in all 30 of the company's global offices, and the company is working on an exceptions process for those that wish to continue working remotely. Snap’s abrupt change follows other major tech firms, including Apple, which began its hybrid policy requiring employees to be in the office at least three days per week in September, and Twitter, which axed remote work completely after Elon Musk’s takeover (though he did temporarily close offices amid a slew of resignations in mid-November).

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