Company name: Teplo
The gist: Teplo is a smart bottle that lets you track and control the brewing temperature and time of your tea via a mobile app.
Who will love the product? Tea lovers who quest for that ideal cup of tea.
Who should not buy the product? People who, when asked if they want coffee or tea, choose coffee 99 percent of the time.
Three Babson College MBA candidates want to help you “brew the perfect cup of tea, each and every time.” More than 1,000 customers have already taken them up on the offer.
Kazunori Kawanobe, Abhinav Sureka, and Mayuresh Soni have raised more than $66,000 on Kickstarter for their smart bottle. Called Teplo, the product features a hidden rechargeable battery in the base of the glass bottle that keeps the beverage at your preferred temperature for up to four hours.
“The Kickstarter experience has been helpful in improving our product,” says Kawanobe, just over 24 hours after the team surpassed its initial $60,000 crowdfunding goal. “The project has been very valuable financially, but also in terms of building community.”
The founders traveled to Babson from Japan and India, where tea is an integral part of their countries’ culture. And here in the U.S., tea is generating an estimated $2.58 billion in total retail sales. The three recognized an opportunity to introduce technology into the market in a way that would be unique to each user.
With Teplo’s app—available for iPhone and Android—users can order tea based on the flavor they’re craving and health benefits they want. When the tea is delivered, they can select the type of tea they want to make, such as green, hibiscus, or black, and pour hot water into their Teplo. The app then notifies them when it’s the right time to add their tea, based on their preferred brewing temperature, as well as when the tea is ready to drink.
Although tea can be purchased from the app, Teplo is still compatible with any brand users pluck off the shelf of their neighborhood convenience store. In the future, the team wants to partner with smaller tea companies who are struggling to build their customer base.
“Right now, it’s expensive to personalize the food experience,” Kawanobe says. “We realized that by using software and technology, we could [lower] the price and provide a better experience.”
The founding trio developed their first prototype in February 2015, focusing on creating a glass bottle so customers could appreciate the color of their tea while drinking it. They then selected a manufacturer in China and, one year later, used Kickstarter as a means of jumpstarting mass production.
The bottle can still be pre-ordered on Kickstarter, for the next three days, for $34. How much are you willing to pay for the perfect cup of tea?
Source URL: https://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/2016/03/22/teplo/
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