There’s good news/bad news for those awaiting the Yomee connected countertop automatic yogurt maker (we count ourselves among them). The good news? Lecker Labs, the company behind Yomee, closed a $400,000 round of funding last month! The bad news? If you’re one of the more than one thousand people who crowdfunded the project, you won’t get your Yomee until next year. Maybe.
The funding news flew under our radar, and we came across it when checking in on Yomee’s progress on Indiegogo. An update there posted on September 16, 2018 from the company read:
We have finally closed a funding round of $400,000 to get Yomee into manufacturing! Since most of the funds came from our existing investors, so [sic.] please join Yomee team to thank our investors for their continued support. Of course, we also genuinely appreciate all the efforts and patience from all of you amidst manufacturing and shipping delays, we are expressing our greatest gratitude to your everlasting support and understanding!
In October of last year, Lecker Labs Founder Ashok Jaiswal told us he had already raised $350,000 in angel funding (Crunchbase says Lecker has raised $325,000). Jaiswal had also launched a Kickstarter campaign towards the end of 2017 to, as we wrote at the time, raise additional money needed for tooling production parts and as a test to gauge market interest. Yomee actually ran both Kickstarter and Indiegogo campaigns, raising an additional $186,109.
Adding those numbers up, it looks like more than $930,000 in total has been poured into the Yomee. Raising a lot of money, however, does not guarantee a hardware product will ever reach market. And it looks like Yomee has gotten tangled up in the production issues that snag so many crowdfunding projects.
Kickstarter backers could pledge $99 for a Yomee kit with an initial ship date of April 2018. The ship date on Indiegogo was listed as August 2018. In an update dated July 8, 2018, Lecker said it was pushing delivery into next year, writing:
As per our original commitment to you, we were expecting to start shipping in August. However we found some critical issues in testing pre-production units, mainly how cool can we keep the yogurt. Our goal is to achieve cooling to as low as 12-15 deg Celsius (53-59 deg Fahrenheit). We have discovered in testing with production materials that we may not reach these low temperatures under certain ambient conditions. The performance of Yomee right now is ‘good enough’ for an MVP but we expect to do better and ship a product we can be proud of. Another cycle of iteration in refining the design and testing is unfortunately going to delay shipping. Our engineers and factory partners expect this process to be complete by end of the year and shipping in first quarter of 2019. We will be strongly focussed on this for the rest of the year and will send monthly updates on our progress.
We are fans of the concept of Yomee here at The Spoon. The idea of a small countertop machine that makes and chills our own customizeable yogurt is enticing, and hopefully delicious. We even selected Lecker as one of our startup showcase companies at our Smart Kitchen Summit: Europe this past June. But all the hope in the world can’t overcome production and manufacturing issues (See: the Cinder smart grill, HOPii, Smart Plate, iGulu, BrewBot).
Ideally, this new round of funding will power the company through whatever troubles they might be having so it can fulfill its promise to backers and get its product into the world. But we’ll have to wait and see. We reached out to Jaswail for comment and clarification and will update this post as we hear back.