Tea Making Robot Teforia Brews Up $5.1 Million In Seed Funding

Teforia, the startup that promises its machine makes the perfect cup of tea every time has pulled in $5.1 million in a deal to help it take on the brewed beverage technology space.

The company launched a rather successful pre-order campaign for what some would deem a pricey device. Teforia pulled in roughly $300,000 total for an initial price of $649 per machine during that campaign. Compare that to similar devices like the Breville one-touch tea maker for $242 on Amazon.

Teforia founder Allen Han says his model is not like the others. “First of all we take a very scientific approach and also a very artistic approach,” Han, who also helped design products such as the XBOX 360 and Kindle Fire before striking out on his own, told TechCrunch. “We celebrate the infusion process so you are able to see what’s going on with the tea. And beyond that there is the SIP property which we use to pull different elements from the tea.”

SIP, or Selective Infusion Profile System, is a proprietary technology Han developed for the Teforia. He says this special system allows the machine to intuitively guess the right brew for different leaves in order to get the most out of each varietal.

Teforia quickly sold out of its initial 500 available machines, largely due to a successful media campaign as well as marketing the devices to executives at tech companies around Silicon Valley, according to Han. The company now plans to unleash batch number two of the device. Teforia plans to initially sell 250 machines at a $699 price and then increase to a retail price nearly double the initial offering at $1299, ready for delivery in spring, 2016.

None of the pre-order money will go into the manufacturing process for the second batch. Instead, the new round will help in building out those machines, for research and development endeavors and to growing the team.

Upfront Ventures led the seed round, with additional participation from Lemnos Labs, PreAngel and InnoSpring, among others.

Is it a good bet? The machine is probably not something the average tea drinker is willing to fork over $700-$1300 for. However, tea drinking is a $37 billion industry at present and slated to grow to $44 billion by 2021, according to numbers from Statista. The U.S. is also finding a new love for tea, thanks to a new focus on healthy beverages. There are sure to be devoted consumers willing to pay the higher price for what promises to be a better infusion.

Upfront Ventures partner Yves Sisteron, a self-proclaimed “avid tea drinker” himself mentioned this is why he made the investment. “When I saw what the Teforia devices was capable of, and considered the massive size of the global tea-drinking market, I knew immediately that this was a company I wanted to back.”