This Week in Smart Kitchen: Google, Nom, iDevices, SmartyPans
We're about to announce the date for Smart Kitchen Summit 2016, and as part of our effort to ramp things up for this year, we'll be putting together a weekly snapshot of what's happening in the smart kitchen (if you have news or thoughts, email us). Below are the headlines we saw this week and a quick take on what it means. Subscribe to our newsletter if you want to get this in your inbox.
The Gist: Google is rolling out a fresh grocery service in some early test markets (SF and LA) via Google Express. It's different from Amazon Fresh in that they're partnering with Costco and Whole Foods among others.
Our Take: Leveraging partners rather than being the entire value chain is smart, but you have to wonder how invested Google is in this. At the same time, for those companies watching Amazon's entry into grocery delivery, Google might represent an opportunity to fight back. For Google, you also have to wonder if they'll also look towards doing a replenishables order engine similar to Dash at some point.
The Gist: We stumbled upon this description of a SXSW panel being led by Steve Chen, the cofounder of YouTube. He is about to launch a new interactive video platform focused on the food community.
Our Take: Cooking education and culture has been an incredibly important genre for YouTube (something Chen is obviously familiar with), and companies like ChefSteps have built fast-growing businesses on top of YouTube to share their knowledge of cooking and food. However, my guess is with Nom we'll see something more interactive than YouTube, something possibly akin to Twitch (Twitch is a livestream video game platform where gamers watch other gamers play live), only instead of games Nom will enable cooking enthusiasts to share and watch others in the act of making food. Here's what we know for sure: we'll know more in March as that's when Chen will be talking at SXSW about Nom.
The Gist: iDevices has announced they have sold of their Bluetooth powered cooking thermometers, the iGrill and the Kitchen Thermometer, to Weber. The company will work with Weber to develop the next-gen cooking app, after which that point the app and future connected thermometers will begin to carry the Weber brand.
Our Take: Since they were announced as one of the early HomeKit partners, iDevices has made no secret of their intention to transition the company into a HomeKit focused product and platform company. To that end, they've not only announced a growing list of their own branded products, but they've also become a turnkey smart home platform company that helps others build smart home products using their HomeKit development platform. While the company has long been a white label product development company (they helped Viking, for example, enter the connected kitchen market), from this point forward the company will largely focus on HomeKit development.
The Gist: Smart Kitchen Summit Startup Cookoff Alumnus Smartypans hit their fundraising goal on Indiegogo this week, eclipsing $30 thousand just a day before the campaign ended.
Our Take: The brother and sister team of Prachi and Rahul Baxi are expecting to ship to backers in August. This campaign comes on the heels of the company getting some early seed funding through both accelerators and an Angel List syndicate. We're rooting for the team, knowing bringing a hardware product to market can be tough. The MAID Oven is an example of one team hitting roadblocks. If the team hits their target, they'll be the first to ship a sensor-aware cooking pan.