business news in context, analysis with attitude

•  From The Information:

"Zume, a startup that raised $445 million from SoftBank and other investors to automate pizza-making with robots before switching to developing sustainable packaging, has shut down … The insolvent company has retained restructuring firm Sherwood Partners to liquidate the assets for the benefit of the creditors, an alternative to bankruptcy, according to Martin Pichinson, Sherwood Partners’ cofounder. It ceased operations late last month.

"Launched in 2015, the startup promised to remake traditional pizza delivery with an assembly line of pie-making robots and a customized van that finished cooking en route. SoftBank’s $375 million investment symbolized the huge checks investors were spending on startups attempting to reinvent conventional businesses with technology. But the business didn’t take off, and in 2020, Zume  shelved pizza-making altogether."

•  From the Boston Globe:

"The '15-minute' delivery service GoPuff was granted a preliminary injunction to deliver alcohol in Massachusetts again on Friday, just weeks after state regulators revoked its license for selling to customers under 21.

"A judge found that the Philadelphia company — with around a half dozen outposts in Greater Boston — had made significant changes to its policies, training curriculum, and ID scanning requirements to sell booze again … A years-long investigation that culminated in May had found that GoPuff made a string of sales to underage students near Boston College in 2021, including an instance where a delivery driver left Kavlana vodka and several 30-packs of beer with a quartet of 18-year-olds near a freshman dorm."

•  From Tasting Table:

"In July 2022, Amazon added a Grubhub deal for the ages, offering Prime members a free year of Grubhub+. Now, those who used this deal last year can enjoy another year as Amazon extends its original offer."

And, Prime members who opt in by July 5, 2023, can "get 24 more months of Grubhub+ for free … The Grubhub+ plan (usually $9.99 per month) offers free delivery on every order over $12. Available in over 4,000 cities, Grubhub+ users also get exclusive food deals and promotions. According to the press release sent to Tasting Table, this select deal has saved Prime members an average of $230 on meal delivery and coupon promotions in a year."

•  From the Houston Chronicle:

"Amazon founder and former CEO Jeff Bezos' tuition-free preschool nonprofit has opened three locations in Houston and is currently accepting applications for the 2023-2024 school year. The Bezos Academy Houston locations include the Denver Harbor Multi-Service Center at 6402 Market St., the Community Family Center Building in Magnolia Park at 7524 Ave. E., and in North Shore at the San Jacinto College North Campus at 5800 Uvalde Rd.

"Last year, the City of Houston and Bezos Academy announced a 10-year lease agreement for the Montessori-inspired preschools. All three schools will offer a full-day-year-round schedule for children 3-5 years old and will provide students with breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

"'We are happy to continue to work with Bezos Academy to fight for the future of all children, especially those within our Complete Communities,' Mayor Sylvester Turner said in a news release. 'When we invest in our children, we are investing in a brighter and more equitable future for our city.'

"Turner said the schools will help close childcare gaps and provide access to education for under-resourced communities."