I spoke with Nomiku CEO and co-founder Lisa Q. Fetterman on the phone last week to catch up on company progress since the company raised on Wefunder in October 2015. This update is what she shared.
At first, Lisa Q. Fetterman thought there was no easier way to prepare food than sous vide. Put your food in a bag and drop it in a pot of hot water, then bam, dinner in 30 minutes.
But what she found after starting sous vide manufacturer Nomiku was that customers were finding the process too confusing. They’d get excited about the Nomiku sous vide machine, make a meal or two, and then go back to their old eating habits.
So Fetterman added RFID sensors to the cooker to make food trackable. She added Wi-Fi to connect that data to the cloud. She even wrote two cookbooks, the most recent one called Sous Vide Made Simple: 60 Everyday Recipes for Perfectly Cooked Meals.
It wasn’t until launching Nomiku Meals, though, that Fetterman felt like the company was on the cusp of something amazing — owning the entire process of eating at home.
Fetterman describes Meals as a Keurig for dinner. Customers receive pre-packaged food that’s been sous vide close to perfection and flash-frozen. They tap the food package to the RFID scanner on the sous vide, which then registers the food while heating water to the right temperature. It even has specific algorithms coded in that allow users to cook multiple meals at the same time.
Customers drop their package(s) in and 30 minutes later there’s a gourmet meal. That’s it. No prep, no recipe hunting, no work. Plus, there are specials like the one Nomiku is currently running — every meal is designed by a former contestant on Top Chef.
“Have you ever watched TV and just wanted to reach in and eat that food?” Fetterman said. “This is literally it. All a customer has to do is tap their meal and drop it in the sous vide. It's magic. Like the Jetsons.”
The goal for the Nomiku Meals program this year is $1M ARR, which Fetterman thinks is doable because they’re phasing out pure hardware sales. Instead of earning revenue from one-time purchases, Nomiku is selling the sous vide for $99 with a $100 food order (that order doesn’t come from a subscription – Nomiku automatically knows when a customer’s meal supply gets low and sends an email suggesting what to order next).
Fetterman sees a future where customers’ food data is seamlessly integrated with their exercise programs and doctor’s orders so that every food order from Nomiku Meals is not only delicious, but tailor-made to individual diets. No longer just a machine, Nomiku would then own the entire food-at-home ecosystem, from ordering to cooking to eating.
“Our motto has always been to eradicate every obstacle between you and a delicious plate of food,” Fetterman said. “When we first started, we thought that meant sous vide. It’s so easy. All you do is put your food inside a bag and put it in the water. We're billionaires, right? Actually, it's not fricking easy. That's what I found out through running this company.
“Nomiku Meals is product evolution, customer evolution, and technology evolution. We evolved at the pace of how technology was going and how consumers were reacting, and it all came together under our North Star of eradicating obstacles.”
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