Today BSH Appliances announced the 2020 class for its ‘Future Home’ accelerator, a program co-produced between the Munich based appliance conglomerate and accelerator specialist Techstars. The new cohort is the second one in the accelerator, which the company launched in 2018 and plans to run through 2021.
This year, BSH and Techstars continued to broaden the focus of the accelerator across the entire home (the original focus when the program was launched in 2018 was the kitchen) as it welcomed a founder class that spanned ten nationalities with startups based across seven countries.
According to the announcement, the program this year had an expanded focus on the “future of home living and included B2B business models” and had startups focused on themes such as “future of co-living, sleep management, cooking, personalized skincare, and artificial intelligence as a service.”
As with every accelerator managed by Techstars, each startup that participates in the program will each receive an investment of $20,000 in exchange for 6 percent of their equity and will have access to a $100,000 convertible note.
The companies include:
Ask Winston (UK): A Whatsapp-based messaging channel for requesting home services.
Curie London (UK): A home appliance for personalized skin care.
Lullaai (Spain): an app focused on tracking a baby’s sleep and helping the baby sleep better.
Magicho (Israel): an app-based smart home gesture controller for smartwatches and smartphones.
Nise Tech (Canada): a cooking automation startup starting with an app-controlled sous vide circulator.
Pepper (USA): a nutrition-focused, Alexa-powered smart kitchen scale for tracking and planning meals.
Quant-Co (Turkey): an AI-as-a-service platform.
Serendipia Life (USA): A startup that manages co-living & co-working spaces.
The Porch Pod (USA): a smart package container for securing home package deliveries.
Zelish – a kitchen assistant app that features personalized food recommendations, grocery shopping and guided cooking.
I asked Tibor Kramer, who leads the accelerator for BSH, about how this year’s accelerator differs from their inaugural class and what themes they focused on for the 2020 cohort. You can see his answers below:
What lessons did you learn from the first cohort that impacted your thinking in selecting this next group of startups?
One key takeaway from our first program was that companies get the most out of this future home accelerator if they have at least an MVP ready. So we selected companies accordingly this year.
Our second learning can be summarized by the common saying “Hardware is hard” – especially for a startup; software is easier not only in terms of progress during the accelerator but also for PoCs with BSH.
Last but not least, as the smart kitchen consumer space is quite narrow, we decided to open up the scope towards “the future of living at home.” We also accepted two B2B startups and are proud to have a startup from one of the biggest emerging economies, India.
What themes did you focus on and/or problems for the consumer were you trying to solve when building your cohort?
We kept last year’s focus on the smart kitchen and personalized digital services around it. We extended it this year to the problem of rising housing costs, leading to smaller apartments and shared flats. With living constraints increasing, the space we live in has to become smarter.
In the consumers smart cooking journey, last mile delivery often causes problems, that can be solved. How about going a step further and ask your voice assistant to have your fridge filled by a service provider?
Besides these topics a lot is happening in the startup scene in the area of healthy living, with health-data-driven apps allowing consumers to become the CEOs of their own body. We addressed this last year with personalized nutrition coaching and extended it this year to the area of sleep improvement.
The BSH Future Home accelerator is part of a multi-pronged effort from one of Europe’s biggest appliance brands to incubate potential new partners that could help them prepare for a more digital and tech-powered future in the home. The other effort is BSH Startup Kitchen, a group that works with startups the company believes could help power new services from its appliance product group.
Both efforts are a part of the BSH digital business unit, which is overseen by BSH’s Chief Digital Office Mario Pieper (you can see an interview I conducted with Pieper at Smart Kitchen Summit last October here).