Zume Inc: The Food Industry, Sophisticated
There’s nothing better than a juicy, hot, and rich slice of pizza, fresh out of the oven. Add a cold beer into the mix and you got yourself a Saturday evening. As sweet as the combo sounds, ordering food online can make or break your experience, and one of the culprits to point a finger at are plastics.
Single-use plastic packaging has long been the trend within the food delivery industry, and it has forever spoiled the way food tastes and looks. Putting an end to this toxic practice are Alex Garden and Julia Collins and their modern, innovative, and unique platform - Zume Inc.
When Alex and Julia first created Zume Inc, they had a single idea in mind - to rid the world of plastic packaging and introduce a line of sustainable and eco-friendly food packaging alternatives instead.
Whilst Zume Inc has become a leader in conscious food packaging and automated delivery, Alex and Julia’s road to sustainable glory was anything but bumpless.
Curious about their story?
The Infused Duo
The capability of a great entrepreneur can be seen in what they do but more importantly, the way they do it. A superb entrepreneur knows his next move, and the one after that, and spots a promising opportunity from a distance. Now, combine these traits and multiply them by two, and you get Alex and Julia, two brainiacs who know a thing or two about smart sustainable business.
Whilst two different experts in their respective fields, Alex and Julia recognized the benefits of working together and creating a common platform that does uncommon things which contribute to the betterment of society, with a special accent on the food industry.
A Childhood Inspiration
Julia is a San Francisco native, whose road to success was anything but smooth. To begin with, she was an African American woman in a world of men who wanted to be the only ones to rule and govern the world of entrepreneurship. When Julia was a little girl, she always enjoyed the vibe at her grandparents’ house, where food was a major deal and family dining gatherings were a must.
When the time came for Julia to choose her career path, it was obvious she would gladly stick to the food industry, but her parents wanted her to attend Harvard and become a biomedical engineer.
Julia agreed to the proposal in order to make her family proud and graduated from Harvard, but it was far from enough. She next enrolled at Stanford Business School where she would learn the thing she loved the most - the food business.
Alex, on the other hand, loved electronics and the technological world and dreamt of becoming a video game developer and a producer since the age of fifteen. While he had the talent to do great things, the Vancouver-born preferred to gain experience first and get accustomed to the tech world. With a flair for inventing, creating, and constructing ideas, Alex learned and observed and made his way into the infamous circle of tech entrepreneurs.
Success, Here They Come
Driven by her childhood passion, Julia always knew she would become a serial entrepreneur in the food industry and worked hard to fulfill her young girl ambitions, turning herself into a versed, capable, and vision-oriented businesswoman.
Julia was fortunate to pair up with a few renowned chefs, food innovators, and businessmen, who helped her put her best foot forward in the business. A few years of successful collaborations later, with brands such as NYC’s Murray’s Cheese Bar, Harlem Jazz Enterprises, Mexicue, and the award-winning spot, The Cecil, Julia was ready to go home in San Francisco and start her own business.
Still residing in Vancouver, Alex founded Relic Entertainment - a game developing platform, as well as iVALET Systems - an advanced parking system platform. Later on, Alex ran Nexon’s North American developing games studio and then joined Microsoft Game Studios, to work in their game development division, whilst also serving as the president of Zynga Studios at one point. Alex was already deeply immersed in the world of technology, industrial robotics, online gaming, and advertising, but still felt something is missing.
Living and working in the heart of all business happenings, Silicon Valley, Alex and Julia met a couple of times, and the more they talked each time, the more common grounds they had.
This ultimately led to Alex and Julia combining their knowledge and professional experience into a platform that would renovate the world of food and add meaning to the entire process of packing and delivering pizza.
Thus, the idea for Zume Pizza was born!
The two determined friends started their adventurous journey together with the goal of transforming the outdated ways in which pizza was made and delivered. Among other things, the duo considered introducing a sophisticated robotic method that would work ideally for both customers and the platform’s mission.
In a nutshell, the idea of Zume Inc was to deliver fresh and hot pizza, that would be healthy, taste great, and be delivered to everyone’s doors.
Alex and Julia founded Zume Pizza in 2015. Whilst Julia managed all things food, Alex took care of the tech aspects. Zume Pizza uses extraordinary and high-level robotic chefs to prepare pizzas right out of the platform’s home kitchen, and then transport them to equipped and specialized trucks which use revolutionized ovens and the Ratio concept.
This concept is capable of calculating and sending a signal after a route is done. It alerts all ovens to begin baking the pizza at a specific time, depending on the order’s destination.
With Zume Pizza’s methodology, ‘Baking on the way’, Julia and Alex changed the perception of robotics in the food industry and helped facilitate the delivery of hot, tasty, and ready-to-serve pizza just about anywhere. After five years of advancing Zume Pizza, in 2020, the platform announced that the concept is no longer pizza-oriented only.
Following the rebranding, the platform would focus on packaging foods whilst using sustainable and eco-optimized techniques, as well as smart delivery systems and it would ultimately become known as Zume Inc!
As a robotic style company, Zume Inc enforced significant changes in all aspects of the food industry and entrepreneurship in general. It also helped raise the bar of quality for competitors, all due to its unique performance and contemporary methods.
Over the years, Zume pizza has raised a total funding amount of $423 million over 7 rounds and with the help of 10 investors, all of whom quickly recognized the platform’s potential. The most recent investors include SoftBank Vision Fund and SignalFire. According to PrivCo, Zume Inc is having a post-money valuation from November 2018, ranging between $1 billion and $10 billion.
Zume Inc has its HQ in Mountain View, with over 250 employees making up for tasks robots are still unable to fulfill. The whole system is not fully automated yet, but there are lots of scientists who are recognizing the power of robotics in mimicking the human workforce.
Nevertheless, what Julia and Alex managed to accomplish was nothing short of genius. Their revolutionary baby, Zume Inc, introduces a promising wind of change within the food market, changes the tides of meal preparation, packaging, and delivery - and downright emphasizes sustainability as a crucial factor in business!