Smart kitchen startup Ztove has raised funding, The Spoon has learned, as the company rolls out in retail in its home country of Denmark and eyes further European expansion.
The Odense, Denmark-based company has raised an undisclosed amount from robotics pioneer Niels Jul Jacobsen, the founder of Mobile Industrial Robots, or MIR. MIR, which was acquired by industrial equipment giant Teradyne last year, is also based in Odense.
“Odense has a long tradition in robotics, especially the kind that collaborates closely with humans,” Ztove CEO Peter Favrholdt told me when I caught up with him last week. “I see Ztove in this sense.”
Ztove makes a smart pan and connected cooktops (similar to the Hestan Cue). And while it may not be a cooking robot, apparently Jacobsen saw enough potential to invest in the company as it looks to expand across Europe. With the new funding, the company has moved to a larger office, invested in inventory and has recently gone on a hiring spree.
“We’ve been able to hire new employees both marketing, engineering and software developers,” said Favrholdt.
Ztove recently started shipping its product through retail with Danish national white goods retailer Skousen and also through Denmark’s largest online retailer WhiteAway according to Favrholdt. This was after the company started shipping its product earlier this year to early backers.
Ztove’s growth and international expansion plans are a long way from the company’s early days when Favrholdt was just an inventor tinkering around trying to make a cooking system to help make food for his family. I first met Favrholdt back in 2016 when he flew to San Francisco to attend an event we were hosting on the future of cooking. Ztove later entered his company in the Smart Kitchen Summit startup showcase and won.
According to Favrholdt, that win at SKS helped the company gain momentum that continues to this day (ed. note: I realize we’re tooting our own horn here, but you should totally attend SKS 2019).
“Bringing home the SKS trophy also had a significance,” he told me earlier this year. “Ztove won a couple of grants in Denmark, and in 2017 we were enrolled in the Odense Robotics Startup Hub – an accelerator program for early startups in the field of robotics. In 2018 we got a small investment allowing us to increase the pace and building the company bringing the Ztove products to market.”
And now, with additional funding from their Odense neighbor, the company hopes to pour more gas on the fire as it looks towards the future. And who knows, with their Odense heritage and new investor, maybe that future just may include a cooking robot.