Homes are getting smarter and kitchens are becoming more connected, creating new opportunities for retailers to participate in a highly disruptive lifestyle trend.
Evidence of the connected kitchen’s gathering momentum can be seen in recent developments involving Drop, a leading smart kitchen start-up platform that works closely with leading appliance manufacturers. The Dublin, Ireland-based company recently named Cynthia West as vice president of global sales one month after securing $13.2 million in Series A funding.
The company said West will be based in southern California to further Drop's mission of spreading the love of home cooking by making it effortless and rewarding, rallying all connected appliances around the Drop Kitchen OS platform to evolve the business in a scalable and sustainable way. She comes to Drop from PROS where she led and coached the AI-based solutions provider’s sales team. She also worked with startups Audio Highway and Project Insight.
"Cynthia joining our team, with her years of sales leadership, signals a real evolution in where Drop is going," said Ben Harris, CEO and co-founder of Drop. "With her guidance and support we are dramatically improving the product offering for our current appliance partners, and spreading that value to all the appliance manufacturers looking for support in getting their appliances connected. Her experience at a number of other startups with various exits, from acquisition to IPO, along with deep knowledge of SaaS, platform and hardware markets is the ideal ingredient to take the company to the next level."
Drop maintains that the appliance market is moving into an era of penetration around smart, connected appliances, expected to grow to $8.2 billion in the next four years. Founded in 2012 and with its recent funding raise, Drop contends it is poised for exponential growth and works with notable appliance manufacturers such as Instant Brands, GE Appliances, Electrolux, LG Electronics, Panasonic and Kenwood.
"Joining Drop is exciting, not only the opportunity to help grow the company further in the connected appliance space, but being able to leverage my technology startup experience, sales leadership, and process mindset," West said. “What's more, I get to contribute to making people's lives healthier by providing a platform that makes cooking effortless. In these tumultuous times, food can be a way to bridge across our various cultures, a way to learn about each other and what we have in common."
West’s appointment comes one month after Drop announced $13.3 million in Series A funding co-led by Alpha Edison and Morpheus Ventures with participation from Act Venture Capital. Steve Horowitz, partner at Alpha Edison, and Ray Musci, managing director at Morpheus Ventures, joined Drop's board of directors following the investment.
Horowitz led the engineering team that created Android and views Drop's technology as the foundation of the connected kitchen, providing an agnostic platform that allows every appliance in the kitchen to work seamlessly together.
"In the same way Android armed an industry to compete in the smartphone game, Drop is primed to be the platform that all brands operate on, fundamentally changing the way we use technology in the kitchen. The consumer experience will be enhanced dramatically to the benefit of everyone — people cooking at home and the appliance manufacturers,” according to Horowitz.
Drop's Kitchen OS connects all stages of the cooking journey, operating as a place where appliance manufacturers, recipe publishers and grocers can come together to inspire and guide everyday cooks at home, according to the company.
"Consumers are looking for ease of use, less friction, and security," said Musci with Morpheus Ventures. "The brands working with Drop drive engagement through a rich UX with data that informs better product development. Demonstrating value like that for both the consumer and manufacturer is how the connected kitchen will thrive."