Silicon Valley Startup Chef Avenue Blows Up on Kickstarter
In less than five hours, cookware startup Chef Avenue blew past its fundraising goal of $10,000 on Kickstarter for the release of its first product — the Omnipan. Now, the business — based in San José, California — has amassed more than 10 times that amount and is still only eight days into its crowdsourcing campaign. Seemingly coming out of nowhere, the enthusiastic reception online has certainly turned new attention toward this startup.
What Is Chef Avenue?
The cookware startup was launched by entrepreneur Seema Shenoy in May 2019. According to the company website, the idea for Chef Avenue came from Shenoy’s experience growing up in rural India. She was inspired by the way her parents worked together in the kitchen. “Together my mom and dad formed a dynamic duo — the chef and the innovator,” Shenoy wrote. As a result, she wanted to start a business that would make cooking “more accessible and fun for everyone.”
That’s the story behind both the company and its first product, the Omnipan. This pan is specifically designed to streamline the entire cooking process by allowing users to prep, cook, eat, store, and reheat food all in the same container. This multi-functional pan was settled upon by the business after a year of product testing. "We combined the versatility of modern cookware with the demands of busy life and created something spectacular," Shenoy said in a recent news release.
Notably, this is not the first company Shenoy has founded. Prior to Chef Avenue, Shenoy was also involved in creating another startup, SaaS property tech cloud platform Trsoft Technologies. The tech business venture worked with customers like Berkshire Hathaway and Realogy and represented a sales volume of $500 billion.
Queen of Kickstarter
The Omnipan has already proven a major hit. The product debuted on crowdfunding site Kickstarter just over a week ago and has already raised over $107,400 (1,000% of its funding goal). This money comes from more than 1,140 individual backers who have all shown support for the cookware business. This is by all means a booming debut for the cookware company.
Kickstarter has been used to launch many successful products, including the charades spinoff Exploding Kittens, which became the most-backed Kickstarter of all time in 2015, with more than 219,380 backers. Another product that got its start off the crowdfunding platform is Tile, the Bluetooth-connected device that helps you find misplaced items. The company has since raised over $100 million from big names, including GGV Capital.
The Future of the Cookware Company
This unexpectedly large sum of money may catalyze a more high-profile debut for this business. After the end of the Kickstarter campaign — which is set to run through May — the startup will do the “final tooling” for its product in June, according to the campaign page. Chef Avenue will then begin production of the Omnipan in August, with an aim to begin shipping in October and November.
The startup company is already off to a strong start, with over 1,000 customers pre-ordering the product. With three weeks left to go of its Kickstarter campaign, Chef Avenue may continue on its fundraising tear.
About the Author
Jemima is a journalist who enjoys reporting on business, particularly small business and entrepreneurship.