One of the most interesting and exciting trends in the connected home and in the smart kitchen is the emergence of big-company backed hardware incubators using crowdfunding to test market viability for new product concepts. GE has been the most visible with FirstBuild, which had successful campaigns for its Paragon induction cooking system and its Opal Nugget Ice Maker last year.
But it looks like GE's FirstBuild isn't done. The incubator has teed up an Indiegogo campaign for its Prisma cold brew coffee system this summer, its third crowdfunding effort for a new kitchen appliance category. The system doesn't yet have any pricing or specific timelines, but I am admit I'm pretty excited to see a consumer cold brew coffee system coming out of FirstBuild.
While FirstBuild has been the most visible of the corporate backed crowdfunding efforts, they aren't the only ones testing out new product concepts using this model. Whirlpool's hardware incubator, W Labs, is getting in on the crowdfunding game with a campaign for its Vessi beer fermenting system. The device - which isn't a home brewer such as PicoBrew's Pico or the Brewie - pretty much takes over and helps with everything after the brewing process. The category is an interesting one for Whirlpool, which doesn't have anything remotely even touching the home brew market, one that is decidedly not mass market compared with other traditional Whirlpool categories.