Tea Trailblazer Teforia Hopes to Mimic Success of Keurig

Tracey Lien reported in today’s Los Angeles Times that, “Monica Shih has a pasta maker, an air fryer, a deep fryer, an ice-cream machine and a popcorn maker in her kitchen. But her most expensive culinary gadget by far is her Teforia tea infuser, which retails for $1,499. She considers it an ‘investment.’

“‘I’m a huge tea drinker,’ said the 42-year-old stay-at-home mom from Seattle. ‘I felt like it was something I would use every day.'”

The article also noted that, “Jordan Peimer, 57, an arts administrator from San Diego, decided a Teforia was worth the cost considering how serious he is about tea.

“‘I like the idea of being able to get the most out of the actual tea itself,’ Peimer said.”

Ms. Lien explained that, “It’s not crazy, Shih and Peimer insist: Look at how much people spend on coffee.

“That’s the case that Teforia is trying to make for its pricey machine. The Mountain View, Calif., start-up, founded by former Xbox, Amazon and Nokia industrial designer Allen Han, has 18 employees. Backed with $17 million in venture capital funding, Teforia hopes to be a trailblazer in the tea world, doing for tea what Keurig and Nespresso did for coffee.”

Today’s article indicated that, “‘When Keurig was [bought by a private equity firm this year], it was privatized at a value of $15 billion,’ said Jay Eum, managing director of venture capital firm Translink, which led Teforia’s $12-million Series A funding round. ‘Tea is a more consumed beverage than coffee is, so we’re excited to find a company and product that could be the Keurig of the tea market.'”

However, Ms. Lien pointed out that, “There’s an elephant in the room, though. As any Starbucks barista will tell you, people are fussy about coffee. And if the proliferation of high-end coffee shops such as Blue Bottle is anything to go by, people can be outright snobs about it.

But tea? At $3 for 100 teabags, most tea-drinking Americans seem content with dunking a bag into boiling water and calling it a day.”

The article noted that, “Teforia is selling its own tea, available in Keurig-style capsules, but owners of the machine also can use their own loose-leaf teas. The device connects to a mobile app in which users can tell the Teforia what kind of tea they’re using and what flavors they’d like to enhance.

“The Teforia is Wi-Fi enabled and downloads lab-tested tea recipes, allowing it to modulate the flavor, aroma, caffeine and anti-oxidant levels of each cup by changing steep time, water temperature and aeration. Water passes though the vacuum-sealed infuser, which is made of hand-blown borosilicate glass, sloshing the tea leaves around before releasing the brew into a bulbous carafe.

“Teforia executives and investors espouse the therapeutic qualities of watching the machine prepare tea. [Alessandra Ghini, Teforia’s chief marketing officer] calls it a ‘tea theater.'”

The Los Angele Times article also stated that, “Teforia’s investors see opportunity in the $40-billion global tea market, especially in Asia, where tea culture is huge. The growing middle class in emerging markets could be a way in for the tea infuser.”

This entry was posted in Start-up Company Law. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.