Key Deal Facts
With an addressable market of over $300B, Blendid has launched its first product, a robotic kiosk that crafts fresh smoothies using only the healthiest fruits, vegetables, juices, and superfoods
Blendid has a signed partnership with Jamba and has deployed its commercial product in multiple locations, including select Walmart locations in California, with plans to expand aggressively
Blendid's proprietary contactless, food-safe, and NSF-certified technology is poised for increased market adoption in the post-COVID world. Their AI-driven platform has 10 patents granted or in-process
Management Team / Advisory Board Bios
Venki Ayalur, CTO & Co-Founder
Venki Ayalur’s deep technology expertise spans a career of 25 years and involves being at the forefront of market defining, innovative technologies. Prior to co-founding Blendid in 2015, Venki conceptualized and oversaw the creation of software and hardware products for companies such as Barnes & Noble Nook and Motorola Mobile. A few of his notable accomplishments are the color-based e-reader, evolution of Motorola phones from StarTacs to Razrs to Android, and being awarded multiple patents in the machine learning and location discovery space.
VIPIN JAIN, CEO & Co-Founder
Vipin Jain brings more than 28 years of experience in engineering, consumer product development, and successful serial entrepreneurship to the Blendid team. Prior to co-founding Blendid in 2015, Vipin was the CEO of Retrevo before it was acquired by Barnes & Noble. The eCommerce company was recognized by Time Magazine as the Best Shopping Website of 2011. Additionally, Vipin also co-founded Telseon, a metro broadband service provider that was acquired by OnFiber/Qwest Communications. Apart from heading successful startups, Vipin served in a variety of leadership roles at 3com, Extreme Networks, and Barnes & Noble Nook Media. His current goal and passion is to realize his dream with Blendid and use robotics & AI to revolutionize contactless food prep.
Vijay Dodd, Co-Founder
With over 28 years of experience in hardware and software product life cycles under his belt, Vijay Dodd brings a wealth of knowledge and engineering leadership to the Blendid executive team. Prior to co-founding Blendid in 2015, Vijay’s career notably spanned AT&T, Palm, and Barnes & Noble Nook as he acquired his specialty in Industrial & Product Design and innovative ME materials.
Our Leadership Team
Covahne Michaels, VP of Marketing
brings more than 20 years of marketing experience across consumer tech and food and across fortune 500 and startup organizations. Prior to joining Blendid, Covahne was the head of eCommerce marketing and strategy for the J.M. Smucker Co, where she guided the migration from brick and mortar store sales to the transition to the online world.
Richard O'Brien, VP of retail operations
Richard O’Brien brings over 25 years of experience in supply chain and operational excellence to Blendid’s executive team. Prior to joining Blendid, Richard served as the director of supply chain management at Specialty’s Cafe & Bakery and the director of purchasing for The Melt. His expertise lies in cost optimization across supply chains and building and managing strong supplier relationships.
Shawn LaPean, VP of Sales,
Shawn is at the center of award-winning, leading edge innovations in high volume hospitality and dining programs in a food service career spanning over 40 years. He is an industry leader in operational, administrative and financial management of diverse food service and hospitality programs, as well successful marketing strategies and sustainability initiatives. Shawn’s journey includes San Diego State University, University of Minnesota, Vanderbilt University and most recently University of California, Berkeley, where he was Executive Director of Cal Dining and Conference Services. Cal Dining was given the Ivy Award in 2007 and Shawn was an International Food Services Manufacturers Association Silver Plate Award winner in 2008.
Kristen Rasmussen, Chef & Nutritionist
Kristen is a culinary nutrition and food sustainability expert with passions that have led her many places – from implementing plant-forward, stem-to-root menu revamps at restaurants to teaching about and exploring food science at UC Berkeley and the Nordic Food Lab. She is an adjunct faculty member at UC Berkeley, past adjunct faculty at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, and owner of Rooted Food, Inc., a culinary nutrition and food sustainability consulting company. Being a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, she enjoys attracting people to better eating through deliciousness and believes Blendid will serve that need through technology and customization.
Ram Nagarajan, VP of Business Operations
Ram Nagarajan brings more than 23 years of experience in technology, consumer products, and B2B services to Blendid. He’s launched numerous high profile consumer products for universally recognizable brands such as Nook, Samsung, Netflix, and DirecTV. His success in delivering critical, complex, and cross-functional programs from concept to market is what drives him to do the same at Blendid.
Shirish Joshi, VP of Manufacturing
Shirish Joshi has over 25 years of experience in leading business improvements across retail, peripherals, networking, computing and telecommunications industries. He prides himself on his ability to develop strategic sourcing partnerships with OEM, ODM, and EMS companies globally while exercising his broad knowledge of KPI and metrics implementation.