Mountain View maker of $1,000 ‘smart’ teapot goes to graveyard of tech gadgetry

Three years and $12 million were simply not enough time and money to teach the world about the benefits of owning a $1,000 teapot.

That’s the word from Teforia, a Mountain View startup that has just announced it’s pivoting to the graveyard of technological gadgetry.

“The reality of our business is that it would take a lot more financing and time to educate the market and we simply couldn’t raise the funds required in what is a very difficult time for hardware companies in the smart kitchen space,” Teforia CEO Allen Han wrote in a note posted on the company’s website.

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“It is with heavy hearts that we are announcing that all business operations for Teforia Company will cease effective today.”

The Teforia ‘infuser’ (courtesy of Teforia)

The company, founded in 2014, sold a “smart” tea maker featuring “advanced algorithms” and a hand-blown glass “infusion globe” for brewing up the proprietary tea satchels it called “Sips.”

“By using the best in modern science, we have captured the knowledge of the world’s most-renowned tea masters and pre-programmed the Teforia with thousands of their hand-crafted recipes,” company promotional material said.

“The Teforia understands that tea is an incredibly complex ingredient, with more than 200 major chemical compounds that impart flavor, aroma, and texture to the palate.

“It masterfully accelerates and extracts desired sets of flavor compounds while suppressing the extraction of undesired compounds. The result is the ability to unlock 100 percent of the flavor potential within each tea.”

Teforia is following San Francisco’s Juicero, which raised more than $100 million and sold a $700 juice maker that used proprietary juicing packs. Juicero was undone — even with a price cut to $400 — after Bloomberg journalists found that the juice packs could be squeezed by hand.

The tea startup had raked in $12 million a year ago in a Series A funding round led by Translink Capital and including Upfront Ventures, Lemnos Labs, Correlation Ventures and Mousse Partners, according to TechCrunch.

Teforia CEO Han — who according to TechCrunch designed the XBox gaming console and Kindle Fire tablet — indicated that his company hoped to squeeze some money out of the failed enterprise.

“We will continue to seek a partner that can leverage Teforia technology and/or provide Sips tea sales to continue our mission of elevating the tea experience,” Han said in the note.

“Hopefully you will see Teforia technology in future products.”

The good news is that for folks coveting a piece of Silicon Valley history, the Teforia machine and the tea “Sips” are still available, with the device marked down to $200 from $1,000.

“Buy a second infuser for your home or office or buy one as a gift for friends or family,” Han recommended.

But time is of the essence: the sales close after Nov. 3, and according to Han, “We expect to sell out quickly.”


Photo: A woman pours tea from defunct Mountain View startup Teforia’s tea carafe. (courtesy of Teforia)


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  • Mike Sullivan

    Uh oh. This doesn’t bode well for my idea to add an arduino to a ginsu knife and hook it up to the internet (so that it will fail to cut my patented wastefully packaged single serving food items (which cost 700 times what you would pay in the store) that it deems unsuitable — because algorithms).

    Those consumers are so uneducated, they can’t see the brilliance of this idea. How will we educate them? HOW??!!1?

    What will become of the “smart kitchen space” if consumers are too uneducated to purchase any of our brilliant ideas???!!?

  • Jim

    It’s still less stupid than self-driving cars.
    “Did you ever want to glorify Allah from your computer but didn’t know how?”
    “Now introducing hackable deadly weapons on every American street!”