The current state of the smart kitchen is still, well, kind of expensive. And that’s ok -- markets in their early days often produce products with high price tags as demand is still being developed and solutions still being realized. Intelligent ovens, smart fridges, connected tea infusers -- it all sounds like an amazing eutopia of high tech deliciousness. But these solutions aren’t making cooking easier for the masses -- at least not yet. But some areas of the smart kitchen are starting to produce at mainstream prices -- most specifically in the sous vide space with sub $100 machines available at big box retailers like Target.
And then there are startups like Klove. The concept behind the Klove stove top knob is pretty cool -- it’s a retrofit device that replaces your dumb stove knobs and adds a pretty crazy amount of intelligence into a little form factor.
The Klove smart knob acts as an entry-level guided cooking system -- assessing the state of heat on whatever dish you’re preparing and letting you know when to adjust and when you can walk away. Klove comes with a host of recipes to start with, so you don’t have to guess what to cook when you get started.
With a companion app (because of course) and Google Home / Amazon Echo compatibility, the Klove smart knob also has some machine learning baked in and will adjust recipes based on your preferences over time. Sure it might say to scramble eggs for 5-7 minutes, but maybe you like yours runny. The knob will learn that over time and adjust its alerts accordingly. Like a little digital sous chef who remembers your favorite type of pancake. (Chocolate chip. It’s always chocolate chip.)
There’s even a safety feature built into the device. Try to leave home with your stove on -- the Klove app will alert you before you get out the door, ending the days of wondering “did I leave my stove on?” when you get to work. It will also alert you if you walk away from the stove for a minute or two and are needed to turn something up or down. If you’ve ever cooked something too long -- or had boiled water overflow and spill onto the stove top, you’ll probably find this feature helpful.
The best part is that Klove is only $29. Well, for now -- it’s available for pre-order on Indiegogo for $29 which is technically a price drop from the company’s first unsuccessful crowd funding campaign. But there seems to be some momentum this time around and the sub $40 price point is pretty attractive. If voice control is driving more interest in connected tech in the home, retrofit devices like Klove can help consumers see the value of technology to assist them in cooking better and easier at home.
Klove has had some momentum recently, having raised $250k from investors in a SEED round of funding and being named “The Next Big Thing” in food tech via the Nestle “Next Big Thing” startup competition in London. Klove isn’t the first company to create a retrofit smart knob for stoves -- Meld introduced its smart knob in 2015 and went a step further than Klove to be able to automatically control the temperature during cooking as opposed to notifying someone to turn the dial up or down when ready. Meld ended up cancelling its Kickstarter when it was acquired by Meyer Corp (owner of guided cooking brand Hestan Cue) after the campaign was successfully funded. Hestan took the learning and knowledge behind the Meld knob and used it to build its current guided cooking platform -- though the actual knob form factor never resurfaced.
Klove has about 4 weeks left to raise the initial $20k to get started on development -- and with a few smart knob competitors in the space, it will be interesting to see how they do. For now, you can grab a Klove for $29 as an early bird backer and expect to see the smart knob right around Christmas.