Founded in 2012, Nomiku became a plucky Silicon Valley darling by bringing affordable sous vide cooking to home kitchens. A Kickstarter project that same year generated $750,000, several times its $200,000 goal. The company scored a glowing TechCrunch profile the following year, as well, thanks in part to a great backstory.
Today, however, the company noted on its site and various social media channels that it is winding down operations:
Well, I am sorry to say that we have reached the end of the road. It is with a heavy heart (and deep-felt gratitude for your patronage) that we are writing to let you know that we are discontinuing the Nomiku Smart Cooker and Nomiku Meals effective immediately, and suspending operations. While we still believe in the concept, we simply were not able to get to a place of sustainability to keep the business going. Thank you very much for your support, it has meant a lot to myself and everyone here at Nomiku.
“The total climate for food tech is different than it used to be,” Lisa Fetterman said in a call to TechCrunch. “There was a time when food tech and hardware were much more hot and viable. I think a company can survive a few hurdles, and a few challenges [ …] For me, it was the perfect storm of all these things.”
In total, the company raised more than $1.3 million over two Kickstarter campaigns, putting it in the upper echelons of food crowdfunding. In 2015, the startup joined Y Combinator and launched a cooking app called Tender, featuring recipes from prominent chefs.
In some ways, Nomiku appears to be a victim of its own popularity. The company was able to bring a cost-prohibitive cooking technology down to an affordable price point, only to see the market flooded by competitors. Fetterman highlighted some of those issues in a recent Extra Crunch interview.
In 2017, Samsung Ventures invested in the company, with plans to integrate it into its SmartThings connected platform. That same year, Nomiku began to pivot into subscription meal plans, but had difficulty getting the word out. Fetterman says the company was seeking funding toward the end, but ultimately couldn’t make things work.
Even with a buzzy company and a great product, the startup world can still be unforgiving.