The creators of the Meld smart oven knob launched a successful Kickstarter campaign this year, but their company no longer needs crowdfunding to bring the cooking tool to home chefs. Instead, Meld will partner with an undisclosed "large kitchenware company" to produce the knob, co-founder and CEO Jon Jenkins announced Sept. 18 on Meld's Kickstarter page. In the next month, the company will refund the 1,550 backers who gave more than $209,000 to bring the project to life.
Meld debuted on Kickstarter in April as a product that would upgrade existing stovetops with a . The Meld Knob would replace one of the knobs on your existing cooktop and wirelessly communicate with the Meld Clip, a temperature sensor that would attach to your cookware. These two parts were designed to work with the Meld app to automatically adjust burner temperatures based on what you're cooking. Kickstarter backers surpassed Meld's initial $50,000 funding goal to raise $209,688 for the project. The company previously said it would deliver the knob to backers in October.
Jenkins wrote that a kitchenware company, which he didn't name, recently approached Meld about working together on precision cooking products, and it became clear that "this company shares our vision of helping home cooks create amazing meals by applying science to the art of cooking." Meld's creators decided to cancel the Kickstarter campaign and issue refund contributors so they could concentrate on a product line with the kitchenware company. Meld's Kickstarter backers will have "first access" and "preferential pricing" when Meld announces its new product, Jenkins wrote.
"The good news is that we will be working on a very similar product as part of the new company," Jenkins said in the announcement. "If you liked Meld enough to back us on Kickstarter, I'm confident you will really love what we have coming."
Jenkins called the news of Meld's partnership "bittersweet." But the announcement has made many backers just plain bitter.
"Any reasonably prudent person would expect that you would make a good faith effort to deliver, as promised," Kickstarter backer sdfleischaker commented. "Instead you used the money to fund development, promote yourselves and then jumped on an early opportunity to negotiate a better deal for yourselves."