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RealTech Holdings invests in Crown Digital’s ELLA robot barista concept

The new funding will enable Crown Digital to scale ELLA in Japan while boosting its manufacturing, marketing and research capabilities

The ELLA robot barista had a three-month trial at Tokyo and Yokohama stations from December 2021 | Photo credit: Crown Digital


Venture capital firm RealTech Holdings has announced a new investment in Crown Digital’s robot barista, ELLA.

Tokyo-based RealTech Holdings said it was the lead investor in a new funding round which will drive Crown Digital’s business expansion, primarily in Japan, and enhance ELLA’s manufacturing operations. The investment sum was not disclosed. 

Crown Digital has set a goal of ELLA serving more than 400 million cups of coffee per year by 2027. According to a RealTech Holdings press release, the funding will also boost the Singaporean tech firm’s marketing, sales and research capabilities. 

Utilising Eversys Cameo super automatic machines, artificial intelligence learning and an app-based user interface, ELLA can prepare up to 200 customised beverages every hour.  

Crown Digital launched ELLA in October 2020 with a commercial standalone model next to an outlet of its smart IoT café Crown Coffee.  

The ELLA robot barista also had a three-month trial at Tokyo and Yokohama stations from December 2021. 

As of the end of December 2022, Crown Digital had five ELLA units in operation in Singapore. The first of three units at Singapore’s Changi Airport opened in June 2023. 

In June 2022, Crown Digital CEO Keith Tan announced that ELLA would be mass-manufactured to meet growing demand for the concept. 

Scott Martin, the former Managing Director of Costa Express, joined the company in an advisory capacity in April 2023 to help scale ELLA in new markets. 

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