YC-Backed Nomiku, Maker of An Affordable Sous Vide Machine, Gets Into Software With Tender App

As I’ve written before, the backstory behind YC-backed Nomiku will give you a sweet tooth.

Both literally and figuratively.

Girl meets boy. They fall in love. They start teaching DIY classes on building hardware for the kitchen. BOOM. Hardware startup. (Actually, it’s never that simple.)

But in any case, Nomiku has come a long way in a year. The company, which makes the formerly haute cooking technique of sous vide affordable to the masses, is getting into software with a new recipes app and more e-commerce with a pre-packaged food service.

For those of you who don’t know what sous vide is, it’s a way of cooking food in a water bath that’s precisely temperature controlled. Food gets evenly cooked all the way through instead of being charred and dry on the outside and raw on the inside. Nomiku’s immersion circulator has a knob that you rotate to the exact temperature that you want, then you drop your sealed ingredients into a bucket full of water and wait. Since launching the company, they have created some of the most successful food-related Kickstarters of all time by raising more than $1.3 million in two separate campaigns. The original version of the product is also in 7,000 homes.

Now they’ve joined Y Combinator and are bringing a sous vide recipe app to the market. Called Tender, it contains recipes from well-known chefs like Rene Redzepi, Kristen Kish and Mei Lin. It also lets you remotely control your Nomiku and share recipes with others.

“Google is the main source that people use for sous vide recipes,” said co-founder Lisa Fetterman. “But we think our own app and media can create a stronger community.”


The startup is also partnering with local San Francisco upscale grocery market Bi-Rite to create a delivery service, that will bring already vacuum-sealed and seasoned meats to customers’ doorsteps. It should run about $10 for two chicken thighs and about $6 for delivery. If customers order in bulk, the numbers will obviously work out better per piece of meat.

“The model is already tried and true,” Fetterman said, pointing to Pat LaFrieda, the meat wholesaler that was pulling in $40 million in revenue per year in the New York region and Omaha Steaks among others.

From there, Nomiku users can just plop those packets right into a bucket of water with the circulator going.

Oh, and they’re migrating their startup into a new factory in the Mission, where they expect to design and manufacture Nomiku products locally. They’ll expect to hire at least six local workers to build products once the factory is set up.

“We basically went into a black hole studying manufacturing in China,” said Fetterman of the time the pair and their third co-founder Wipop Bam Suppipat hustled together in China and Southeast Asia to build the first version of the Nomiku. “But we like living next to our factory and we like living here. This is the Maker movement. We’re makers and this is all about changing the economy from the bottom up.”