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Friday, September 5, 2014

Chat with Lisa Fetterman, Founder of Nomiku

Posted By on Fri, Sep 5, 2014 at 2:00 PM

click to enlarge The Nomiku 2.
  • The Nomiku 2.
Lisa Q. Fetterman is the founder of Nomiku, a San Francisco-based hardware startup aiming to make sous-vide technology affordable and accessible to the home cook.

In 2012, they successfully raised $586,000 via Kickstarter to help fund version 1.0, and just this Tuesday they raised another $620,000 to fund their new updated Nomiku 2. The kicker to this Kickstarter: they still have five days to go. We sat down with Lisa to chat:

SF Weekly: First of all, how’d you come up with the name “Nomiku”?
Fetterman: We really liked the word “nom” and wanted to include it the name. We came upon the Japanese word “nomikuii,” which means “to eat and drink” — so it just seemed like a natural fit. But none of us are Japanese; we’re just really into nomming.

What made you decide to do a second version?
What I really enjoyed when I did the first version was personally showing my friends how to set up and cook with the Nomiku — they had to sort of be taught since it was a new thing. I enjoyed that, but wished I could do it with everyone. The new app and wi-fi connectivity sort of allows me to do this remotely by helping guide people through recipes and share ones of my own.

Why did you choose Kickstarter over other crowdfunding sites?
That’s just what I knew. The first time we did it was in 2012, and that’s when I saw projects gaining lots of traction and attention. I knew it was right.

You’ve raised over $1 million between both projects. Why do you think you’ve been so successful?
Community is why — that’s the main reason. We started as makers, we taught at hacker spaces and amassed emails, keeping in touch with people. We sold kits for a year, and tapped into that community for the first Kickstarter, and again for the second.

Do you plan to do a Nomiku 3?
I definitely plan to do more kitchen appliances — I definitely see that in my future, but not so sure about a Nomiku 3 at the moment.

Where do you see room for improvement in kitchen technology?
There’s two places. One is the oven. Most ovens right now are closest to the ground. Why? Because a hundred years ago it was safest to keep fire closest to a ground — design hasn’t changed. It’s hazardous to children and pets. And it’s not very efficient, and it’s weird and it’s uneven for baking. I also think there should be more temperature control in the refrigerator. It should be specialized with different temperature control for different compartments.

What’s your favorite thing to sous vide?
Definitely fish. It blows people’s minds that fish can be smooth and silky and jewel-toned.

What advice can you offer to other people starting their own business?
Every day do something towards starting your own business, whether it’s small or big. Whether it’s making a Facebook page or making a kit. It’s like exercise — if you can just spend 15 minutes a day, it’s going to snowball. Nomiku started as a project, and now we’re doing it full-time. 
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