Mitte, the German startup behind a countertop appliance that turns plain water into mineral water, today announced it has secured $10.6 million in seed funding. The round was led by DanoneManifesto Ventures, the New York-based venture arm of Danone, VisVires New Protein Capital and Kärcher New Venture.
Mitte’s sleek, eponymous countertop machine lets you create your own mineral water at home using a two-step process. First, water is purified using a patented distillation system that the company says is four times more efficient than other water distillers on the market. Once purified, Mitte then re-mineralizes the water using special cartridges, which will mineralize 400 liters of water.
You can even purchase specific types of mineral cartridges that add varying levels of different minerals (magnesium, potassium, zinc, and more), depending on what you want. The machine is connected to the Internet and can automatically re-order cartridges when its time.
Mitte had been taking pre-orders for the machine at €329, and was going to ship units to Kickstarter backers by the end of this year. As of now, the company is no longer taking pre-orders (you can only join the waitlist), and early backers have been informed that they will receive their units in June of 2019. Final retail pricing for the machine and the replacement cartridges has not been finalized. And retail units won’t be available until after backers get their machines first.
Mitte won a €5,000 prize from our Startup Showcase and had previously raised €272,781 in a Kickstarter campaign last fall. The company had also raised an undisclosed “small seed round” by that point and to date has raised roughly $12 million. According to the funding announcement, Mitte will use the new money to support expansion into the U.S. and elsewhere.
We spoke to Mitte CEO, Moritz Waldstein this morning by phone about the announcement, and he told us that the company’s go to market strategy will be selling direct to consumers. Mitte will focus on five cities, most likely in the U.S., the U.K., China and also in their home, Berlin. The company will open pop-up stores in these locations to educate consumers about the technology as well as get an on-the-ground view of what those markets want.
“What we want to do is make a beautiful experience to users,” said Waldstein.
While Mitte holds a number of European patents for its distillation, re-mineralization and cartridges, it sounds like Mitte is getting some strategic help from its investors, including water machine manufacturing and mineral lab expertise.
While the Mitte is currently a countertop machine, Waldstein told us that the company has much bigger plans to expand its mineralization technology. He said the company has had conversations with big appliance manufacturers like Whirlpool, LG and Samsung about incorporating Mitte’s tech into refrigerators, or building out units directly into kitchen sinks. Additionally, sees itself also expanding its hydration personalization, offering a variety of mineral cartridges customized for pregnant women, the elderly, and other demographics.