Teforia, the $1,000 Juicero of Tea, Goes Under

The “smart” tea brewer attracted more than $ 17 million in venture funding.

Teforia, the maker of a $ 1,000 internet-connected tea brewing machine, announced on Friday that it was shutting down effective immediately. The company touted the quality of its award-winning product, but said that “we simply couldn’t raise the funds required” to “educate the market” about it.

In some ways, Teforia’s shutdown is reminiscent of Juicero, the maker of a $ 400 “smart” juicer which shuttered in September. Both companies’ core products were remarkably pricey – Juicero’s machine was originally $ 700 – making them convenient symbols of both widespread income inequality in the U.S., and of a strain of investor gullibility when it came to anything remotely techy.

Back in 2015, we wondered whether the $ 5.1 million in seed funding Teforia had accumulated at the time was a sign of investor over-enthusiasm for connected kitchen devices. Despite our skepticism, the company went on to raise another $ 12 million in a 2016 Series A round – thought that’s still nothing compared to the more than $ 118 million in bad bets placed on Juicero by the finest minds in venture capital.

There were big differences between the two products, though. Juicero, infamously, shut down after a Bloomberg report found that its juice packs could be squeezed almost as well by hand as by the Juicero machine. In other words, the thing wasn’t really a “juicer” at all.

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Teforia’s device, by contrast, 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.

It seems plausible, then, that Teforia’s problems raising further capital could actually be blamed on Juicero. Negative coverage of the juicer in recent months has likely left investors skittish over high-end connected beverage devices, even though Juicero’s problems were very much of its own unique making.

That’s a rough ending for Teforia, but there’s a short-term upside for tea drinkers: the last few Teforia machines are now on sale for the downright reasonable closeout price of $ 199.

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Tidemark delivers enterprise performance management (EPM) software. What that esoteric acronym means is that Tidemark helps organizations take internal data they already have and use it to plan the future steps they will take, but also to assess the historical performance of their organization. Tidemark was founded only a few short years ago (in 2009, to be precise) but has already raised close to $ 120 million from a host of investors over multiple rounds. Tidemark is a good example of a new breed of cloud vendor, those that were born into a world already comfortable with cloud-based enterprise tools such as Salesforce and NetSuite. Because of this fact, Tidemark hasn’t had to invent a category; rather it has the somewhat easier job of delivering an existing product category but in new and beneficial ways.

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Facebook goes down and Twitter lights up

Facebook crashed for at least 10 minutes today and then struggled to fully come back online.

When users tried to open or refresh their Facebook pages a little after 12:30 p.m. ET today, they were greeted not with their news feed but with a largely blank screen that simply said, “Sorry, something went wrong. We’re working on it and we’ll get it fixed as soon as we can.”

The site began to come back online around 12:50 p.m., though some users reported still having trouble loading the site until about 1 p.m.

Facebook did not return a request for information on what caused the problem.

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IDG Contributor Network: Tidemark goes verticals, machine learning and benchmarking

Tidemark delivers enterprise performance management (EPM) software. What that esoteric acronym means is that Tidemark helps organizations take internal data they already have and use it to plan the future steps they will take, but also to assess the historical performance of their organization. Tidemark was founded only a few short years ago (in 2009, to be precise) but has already raised close to $ 120 million from a host of investors over multiple rounds. Tidemark is a good example of a new breed of cloud vendor, those that were born into a world already comfortable with cloud-based enterprise tools such as Salesforce and NetSuite. Because of this fact, Tidemark hasn’t had to invent a category; rather it has the somewhat easier job of delivering an existing product category but in new and beneficial ways.

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