Bobacino offers PopID face-to-pay at robotic boba machines

Sept. 14, 2021

Boba startup Bobacino today announced it is partnering with PopID, a facial recognition payment company, to offer consumers a faster, easier and safer way to pay. As the demand for contactless solutions and low-touch beverage options remains high, the partnership will offer consumers the ability to pay with their face at Bobacino’s automated boba locations and on mobile devices.  

Demand for automation and low-touch solutions is being fueled by an ongoing labor shortage and health safety attitudes brought on by pandemic. Bobacino’s standalone, fully integrated beverage system creates an automated bubble tea experience that combines futuristic technology with a range of flavors and customizable ingredients to bring the novel drink to a larger audience.  

The company said that PopID’s facial-recognition technology complements its low-touch automation, speed and access expectations for consumers. 


  • Onsite contactless ordering and payment: PopID-compatible Bobacino machines will feature full software and hardware integration, allowing customers to select and utilize PopID’s PopPay solution as a payment method on the same screen they viewed Bobacino’s menu and placed their order. Customers can still pay via traditional credit/debit cards if they do not have a PopID account. 
  • App ordering and payment: Bobacino customers will be able to use PopID as a payment method on PopID’s app for placing preorders for pickup. 
  • Customer confirmation: Customers will also have the option of verifying their identity with PopID to retrieve their order. Through an opt-in only system, the customer’s face will be scanned and authenticated to dispense the drink. No customer data will be saved on Bobacino machines. 
  • ‘Powered by Bobacino’ integration: For operators that choose to deploy their own branded Bobacino machines, they will have the option to integrate PopID into their automated boba tea bars.  

“By integrating PopID into our system, Bobacino customers will have a safe and reliable way to pay for their favorite boba tea beverage and have a better overall experience,” said Bobacino chief executive Darian Ahler.

Bobacino is backed by experts in the food automation space. Its lead investor, Wavemaker Partners, is a global venture capital fund with over $550 million assets under management, and its studio, Wavemaker Labs, focuses directly on automation.  

PopID PopID is a cloud-based platform that enables merchants to offer consumers the option of authenticating their identity using facial recognition. After registering for the service once, consumers can choose to use PopID for various purposes.


[Credit: Bobacino]
Stacey Kwong cofounded MILK+T, a female-run LGBTQ+ food truck concept, and first self-serve boba bar on wheels, in Los Angeles in 2015. MILK+T moved into its flagship store in LA’s Little Tokyo neighborhood in 2017 and has since expanded.

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