Crown Digital: From Coffee Beans to Robot Barista

Posted on 16 May, 2023
By IPOS International

Crown Digital is a Singapore smart Internet of Things (IoT) start-up with a mission to make consistent and quality coffee experiences accessible to its customers—all day, every day. To achieve this, the start-up had to tackle major challenges in the food and beverage (F&B) industry including manpower shortages. By harnessing the power of robotics and artificial intelligence, Crown Digital has reimagined the way grab-and go commuters experience coffee, one steaming cup at a time.

Key Outcomes

  • Conducted a comprehensive review of underlying key intangible assets (IA) and intellectual property (IP) that contribute significantly to the business’s competitive advantages

  • Identified IA-related gaps and opportunities that impact the company’s growth, expansion plans and long-term success 

  • Developed a business-oriented IA strategy focused on protecting the company’s core technologies and brands as it enters the digital and tech landscape 

The Innovation

First established as a gourmet coffee joint in 2015, Crown Digital has transformed its business model from a traditional food and beverage (F&B) to a tech-driven enterprise. Leveraging robotics, IoT, data analytics, and smart technologies, the company has successfully redefined the F&B retail industry. Its innovative solutions include Ella, Singapore’s first fully autonomous robot barista, and Bytes Station™, a fully automated café. The café is equipped with a self-service, fully contactless sandwich and smooth kiosk complete with digital locker. 

The Challenge

To compete effectively in the crowded digital and tech space, Crown Digital had to quickly capture its target markets. This meant working with partners and protecting its core business drivers. The company had to decide which aspects of the innovation to build or acquire as part of its long-term business goal. Crown Digital also recognised the need to build, consolidate, and protect its brands and trade marks to support its business and market expansion plans cost-effectively.  

The Solution

IP Strategists at IPOS International first sought to understand Crown Digital’s business, its products and services, and underlying core technologies. It then considered the company’s business model, value chain partners, markets, and overseas expansion plans. Focusing on Crown Digital’s research and development and commercialisation roadmap for Ella, the team helped the company uncover its key IA. Based on these, it formulated an IA strategy focused on protecting and managing the company’s valuable resources. Given how partnerships with local and overseas partners play a key role in growing the company, the recommendations included specific advice on navigating IP in partnerships. Crown Digital also received practical guidance on building a sustainable branding and trade mark strategy.


Besides relying on patent protection, Crown Digital now employs a combination of IP protection measures to protect the technologies underlying Ella and the key IA driving its business. Following the recommendations in the report, the company has initiated steps to implement its branding and trade mark strategy to support the business’s growth and expansion plans.

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