Failed Startup: Teforia, Internet of Things enabled tea-maker shuts down. 1

We recently ran a feature about Juicero, a Silicon Valley juicer startup that raised $120m from investors. The venture was widely ridiculed after the $400 machines were revealed to be the equivalent of two hands squeezing a juice box, and shut operations. This week came news that Teforia, maker of $1,000 internet-connected tea brewing machine (aka ‘tea infuser’) is shutting down.

Allen Han, Founder, CEO of Teforia blogged about the shutdown:

We believe our customers are deserving of the best. Most of you agree with us. In fact, the prestigious World Tea Expo awarded Teforia with the 2016 Best Tea Industry Innovation Award and designated Teforia as the 2017 Best Tea Brewing Device.

We achieved all of this with a most amazing team of 15 highly passionate and highly skilled professionals, with the common belief that the tea experience should be simpler, more elegant and more rewarding.

However, 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.

Therefore, it is with heavy hearts that we are announcing that all business operations, for Teforia Company, will cease effective today. 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. Hopefully you will see Teforia technology in future products.

Teforia’s main product was an internet-connected tea infuser that could brew the pre-packaged teas from the startup, which it called “Sips.”  Even with a cool Internet of Things (IoT) based technology the market for high-end teamaker isn’t there.

The media seems to highlight the technology breakthrough while highlighting failure of the business model. Forbes said

Teforia’s device appears to have done a sterling job of brewing drinks, in part thanks to an algorithm that tracked brewing temperatures and times for different types of tea. A few negative reviews focused on the machine’s price, but it was named Best Tea Brewing Device (Electric) at the June 2017 World Tea Expo. And aficionados aren’t shy about shelling out for high-end tea or coffee machines: one commercial “smart” coffee and tea infuser, the Bkon Craft Brewer, sells for a reported $13,000.

A TechCrunch article agreed: “There are a lot of products beyond just Juicero that want to target this higher-income bracket with smarter or slicker devices that might require some precise measurements and mixtures in the same way that the Keurig originally tried to simplify brewing a single cup of coffee. (The Keurig costs under $100).”

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