Today Sansaire, one of the first consumer sous vide hardware startups, announced it is shutting down.
Acting company CEO Lukas Svec shared the bad news in an update on the company’s Kickstarter campaign page for the new generation product, the Delta:
“We regret to share that Sansaire will be ceasing development of the Delta and the company will ultimately be closing its doors. In short, our relationship with the new production facility broke down and has exhausted available funding and manufacturing routes. As we wind down over the next 12 months, Sansaire will be supporting warranties and customer service issues. Kickstarter Backers will be contacted individually regarding next steps.“
Sansaire was one of a handful of companies building sous vide circulators to launch in the 2013 time frame. However, unlike Anova and Nomiku, the company struggled to build its brand in an increasingly competitive consumer sous vide market and was never able to ship its second generation product despite a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2016.
The company was cofounded by Scott Heimendinger, a well known food hacker who tapped into his following to help launch company’s first Kickstarter campaign. However Heimendinger left the company before the launch of Sansaire’s second Kickstarter campaign in 2016 and the company has seen a number of executive departures ever since.
The company’s former COO Valerie Trask left in the middle of the crowdfunding campaign for the Delta. The company named a new CEO in Johnna Hobgood soon afterwards, but she soon left to go work for Amazon in their Amazon Go group. Another executive named Lilac Muller joined as acting CEO last fall, but has since departed the company.
The company raised over $250 thousand for the Delta, its second generation sous vide appliance, in fall of 2016 with a promised spring 2017 ship date. However, as time went on and the executive team turned over, it became increasingly obvious the company was having difficulties.
In one way, Sansaire’s troubles shows the perils of relying on crowdfunded money to bring a hardware product to market. Unless a campaign is wildly successful, the funds raised usually aren’t nearly enough to design, build and bring a product to manufacturing. More often than not, a company requires external investment or a really successful first-gen product (or both) to fund the development of a new product.
With today’s news, it’s apparent that Sansaire didn’t have either.
Update: I caught up with Scott Heimendinger via email to ask him for a comment. He had this to say:
“I’m disappointed, of course, but I processed my grief over Sansaire when I walked away from involvement two years ago. The saddest part is what could have been. Today, the outcomes of Sansaire vs. Anova could not be more stark.
I’m disappointed most for the people who backed the Sansaire Delta on Kickstarter. We built the company originally on the trust and generosity of the Kickstarter community and moved heaven and earth to do right by them throughout. So it’s crushing that the contributors to the Delta campaign in 2016 will be left with their promises unfulfilled.
Although founding and leaving a failed startup leaves some scars, I’m proud to have contributed in some small way to the overall movement of sous vide. I rooted for Sansaire to succeed after I departed, and I’m sure it was a difficult and humbling decision for them to announce the shutdown.”