Stellar Pizza, an upcoming food truck that houses a pizza-making robot, announced Monday a $16.5 million investment from music legend Jay-Z. The multi-million-dollar series A fundraising round was spearheaded by the rap icon's venture capital firm, Marcy Venture Partners.
From the guest perspective, the journey begins on the app. After ordering a pizza, a ball of dough is dispensed from an internal refrigerator and pressed into a 12-inch pie.
Sauce and toppings are added before the pizza is sent into a 900-degree oven.
Once the product is cooked, a conveyor belt retrieves it. The pizza is then cut, boxed, and stored for pickup.
The funding will help Stellar Pizza make key investments before its debut on the campus of USC this fall. Other colleges campuses will follow. The plan is to build a fleet of mobile trucks and go nationwide.
The concept was founded in 2019 by three former SpaceX engineers, Benson Tsai, Brian Langone, and James Wahawisan. The rest of the team includes 30-plus ex-SpaceX employees, including Ted Cizma, who previously worked as executive chef and director of culinary services. Non-SpaceX workers include CMO Debbie Goldberg, who cofounded pizzeria concept Fresh Brothers, and chief of staff Alexis Karadias, who previously helped a Los Angeles-based venture capitalist firm that invested in early stage ventures.
The company is assisted by well-known consultant Noel Brohner, who's helped the likes of Tom Hanks and former Disney CEO Bob Iger with their pizza-making skills.
One order takes fewer than five minutes to prepare, and the Stellar truck can hold 420 pizzas at one time. The cost ranges from $7-$10 depending on toppings, according to the L.A. Times, which covered the emerging company in June.
Previously unannounced fundraising rounds totaled $9 million, led by Root Ventures, with participation from Crosslink Capital and Collaborative Fund.