It doesn’t matter whether you’re looking for a new oven or a new kitchen knife (read about our top kitchen knife picks here, you want something that’s high-quality, affordable, and fits in your current kitchen space. New technology, if it exists, is usually an afterthought…but there’s one important area where this is changing, and it’s the smart oven.
Smart ovens have gone quickly from an oddity into devices that bring real benefits to kitchen lovers – and the latest example is from a startup called Tovala.
Tovala is taking the crowdfunding route in developing its $400 smart ovens. That’s a risky proposal, because smart electronics have a poor track record in places like Kickstarter, where exuberant investment has given way to doubt as a majority of “smart” claims about inventions have turned out to be more or less made up entirely.
But Tovala seems to be legitimate, and that’s what investors are waiting for. The company recently brought in $9.2 million in its latest funding round, a strong result that will bring the company’s Tovala Steam Oven to more consumers.
But let’s talk about that smart oven.
It’s a countertop oven that pulls cooking information from a wireless internet connection and cooks the meal the way experts advise, so you don’t have to think about it. Baking, boiling, and steaming are offered up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit.
Currently, however, it’s designed primarily to be used with Tovala prepackaged meals (around $12 per meal), which are shipped directly to you. Scan a barcode with the Steam Oven, pop the packages in the oven compartment, and the smart device will take care of the rest.
You can see the advantages and disadvantages with this approach. Shipping meals ready-to-cook must be a local service, so it’s hard to expand, but it also gives Tovala a chance to earn more revenue. Prepackaged meals are great for diets, but most chefs prefer to experiment with their own meals and are less likely to be impressed with this option.
In other words, it will be interesting to see how Tovala expands with its new capital…and where it shows up next.