Smart Kitchen Notes: Innit's Platform Strategy, Kellogg Foodtech Bet, Smart Kitchen Startups

This is Smart Kitchen Notes, a newsletter with news and analysis about the connected kitchen and the Smart Kitchen Summit.

In This Edition...

  • Analysis of Innit/Whirlpool partnership and Innit platform strategy
  • Kellogg's big bet on foodtech
  • The Smart Slab and farm to table cooking
  • Podcast: A discussion with the creator of the world's most hot-rodded coffee grinder
  • Announcing the Smart Kitchen Startup Showcase

Last week, smart kitchen platform company Innit announced a major deal to bring its technology to Whirlpool, the world's largest appliance maker. After heading out to NYC to hear the announcement and talk to both Innit and Whirpool execs about the deal, we have some thoughts on how Innit's platform strategy landed the world's biggest appliance maker. We also look at Kellogg's big bet on foodtech with a new $100 million investment fund and check out an interesting new smart kitchen table concept.  

You also don't want to miss our latest podcast where we talk to Sam Rose, creator of the Voltaire, the most technologically advanced portable coffee grinder we've ever seen. 

Lastly, we're really excited to announce the Smart Kitchen Summit Startup Showcase, an event which will feature the 15 coolest smart kitchen and food tech startups out there today. The Showcase will occur on October 5th at the opening reception for the Smart Kitchen Summit. Application is free and, if selected, the winners will get two complimentary tickets to the Smart Kitchen Summit and a Showcase table on the night of October 5th at the Startup Showcase. 

Analysis: Innit's Platform Strategy Meets A Clear Need In Appliance Industry

Last week, Innit, a company creating a smart kitchen platform, announced its first partner (and it's a big one): Whirlpool. The partnership was announced in conjunction with the Innit world premiere party at Pirch NYC last Thursday, where visitors walked the red carpet and got to mix with Innit and Whirlpool execs, press and lots of NY food insiders. 

Jenn-Air GM Steve Brown and Innit COO Joshua Sigel having cocktails after their first meeting at the Smart Kitchen Summit

Jenn-Air GM Steve Brown and Innit COO Joshua Sigel having cocktails after their first meeting at the Smart Kitchen Summit

This marks an impressive start for Innit, a startup that came out of stealth just eight months ago (at the Smart Kitchen Summit where, according to both the Innit and Whirlpool executive team, they first discussed working together). Coming out of the gate with the world's biggest home appliance maker as its first customer is an important validation of both the connected kitchen market and Innit's strategy.

So what exactly is Innit's strategy and how did it result in a partnership with Whirlpool to help transform the appliance giant's kitchen lineup to the era of the connected kitchen? A few thoughts. Read More

SmartSlab brings a new meaning to “farm to table” cooking

The evolution of technology in the kitchen has transformed some of our favorite appliances - but what about its furnishings? The open floor plan design of modern kitchens means the center point of convergence is often the kitchen table, which to date remains static. Enter SmartSlab, a table that heats up, cools down and perfectly prepares food all on the same surface. Designed by Swedish/German firm Kram/Weisshaar, the table has built in “place settings” based on temperature - a warm area to keep your plate of food hot and a cold area to keep beverages cool. SmartSlab even has areas for cooking - and the heat transfer technology means the bottom of your pans get hot, not the surface itself, making it a safe place even for kids.

Our Take:

The bulk of innovation we’re seeing in the smart kitchen to date has been around the tools we use to cook and store and in some cases, purchase our food. The SmartSlab concept adds a new dimension to the market, where the places we’re consuming our food are now smart enough to keep our food and drink at perfect temperatures. We can now even rethink the purpose of the kitchen table, as not just a place of consumption but a place to cook, which helps to make cooking an even more social activity. The SmartSlab is an early concept with the only units created already sold to museums and collectors, but stay tuned. The European firm has plans to bring the design to market, possibly for the kitchen countertop. Source.

Kellogg Pours Funds Into Food Innovation with 1894 Capital

Cereal giant Kellogg announced this week that it plans to invest up to $100 million in startups who are innovating in food, ingredients and related technologies. The company, as the largest producer of snacks and cereal in North America, will use the fund to support early stage startups who are creating “consumer-driven technologies” in the market. With a throwback to its founding year, Kellogg partnered with corporate VC specialist Touchdown Ventures to help manage the fund and its investments.

Our Take:

It makes sense for Kellogg to take a page from the playbooks of other food Goliaths like Campbell Soup and General Mills and dive into the startup investment space. With $5.7 billion raised by food tech startups in 2015, it’s clear that invention in the space is being driven by early stage entrepreneurs. In order to keep up and remain competitive, companies like Kellogg have to drive innovation internally or invest in it, the latter of which is faster and often easier for large corporations. It will be interesting to watch how these brands leverage their investments and what types of consumer facing products we’ll see in stores and kitchens across the country as a result. Kellogg Announcement

Hotrodding The World's Coolest Coffee Grinder with GIR's Sam Rose

Sam Rose started her business by making really great spatulas, but eventually she decided to make what she describes as the most "hot-rodded coffee grinder" she could possibly think of. With that, the Voltaire was born.

We talk about her journey on this episode of the Smart Kitchen Show.

Download podcast here. Find on iTunes here and find the Smart Kitchen Show archive on our website here

Calling All Food + Kitchen Tech Startups: Applications Open for Smart Kitchen Summit Showcase

With the 2016 Smart Kitchen Summit just months away, we’re excited to announce a new element to the summit this year that will put startups and entrepreneurs in the space front and center. The Smart Kitchen Summit Startup Showcase will take place during the October 5 opening reception on the Seattle waterfront and is an exclusive, invite-only chance to demo and show off your product to a room full of food, commerce, tech and design leaders hunting for the next best thing. 

The showcase will feature around a dozen startups in food tech or smart kitchen that have a compelling demonstration and want to reach hundreds of influencers in this rapidly growing market. Startups will receive demo space for the evening reception as well as 2 tickets to the reception event. 

To apply, visit here and tell us why you deserve one of the elite spots on October 5. Feel free to link to photos, videos or other assets that help show-off your awesomeness. We can’t wait to see you in October!

If you haven't subscribed to our newsletter, do so today to make sure you don't miss out on getting this analysis in your inbox every week. And while you're at it, make sure you get your tickets to the Smart Kitchen Summit soon to make sure you don't miss your opportunity to meet the leaders of the connected kitchen revolution in October.