Back in 2016, I received a short message from an inventor in Denmark asking if he could make me pancakes.
While it’s not every day someone reaches out and asks to make pancakes, it wasn’t all that surprising given the inventor, Peter Favrholdt, had created a prototype for a smart cooking system and I was one of the few people writing about the technology at the time.
As it turned out, Favrholdt had learned we were holding a meetup in San Francisco and decided to travel from Denmark to attend the event. While I didn’t get to taste Favrholdt’s pancakes on that trip, I got a chance to hear his story and encouraged him to apply for the Smart Kitchen Summit’s startup showcase.
Long story short: he did, and he won. His system, which features a Bluetooth connected pan, an induction cooktop, and an app to orchestrate the cooking process was picked by a panel of experts and Favrholdt and Ztove were crowned the winner of the 2016 Startup Showcase alongside 3D food printer nufood (in 2016 we had a tie).
Longer story short? A week ago I saw on Linkedin that Ztove had started shipping its smart cooking system to customers.
When I asked Favrholdt for more details, he told me the Ztove was now available in Denmark through the company’s website and would soon be available in physical retail. He also told me they’d managed to create a product line that included two intelligent pans and a large saucepan, as well as three different cooktops.
“On the smart cooktop side we offer a table top dual burner called “DUO,” which sells as a bundle including a frying pan and a saucepan (USD 1599),” said Favrholdt in an email.
More intriguing is that two of the cooktops are built-ins.
“For home use, most people want built-in smart induction cooktops,” he wrote. “Ztove currently has two models – a “normal” 24 inches (USD 1049) and a “wide” 31 inches model (USD 1599) both with four cooking zones but having different width and arrangement of the burners.”
When I asked Favrholdt about how he was able to fund development of the product, he pointed to winning the Startup Showcase at SKS.
“Bringing home the SKS trophy also had a significance,” he said. “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.”
With their funding, they were able to find manufacturers for the components of the Ztove systems and start a small factory in Denmark where the final units are assembled by hand.
By finally shipping, Ztove joins Hestan as one of the few companies delivering smart cooking systems that focus on surface cooking, including intelligent cookware, cooktops, and an app. But that’s not the only connection between these two companies; As it turns out, Favrholdt connected with the Hestan team back on that 2016 trip to San Francisco.
“I brought Ztove’s first prototype and was thrilled to get to meet the Hestan Cue team,” said Favrholdt. “It was terrific talking to someone as passionate about smart cooking as myself.”