Appkettle heads to Kickstarter to generate some heat

(L-R) AppKettle founders Richard and Robert Hill
(L-R) AppKettle founders Richard and Robert Hill
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As any tea drinker knows, a cuppa can soothe tempers, calm nerves and settle - or, at times, start - arguments.

For many, there’s not much that can be done to improve a good brew.

But two Yorkshire investors are ready to revolutionise tea making with the launch of “the world’s smartest kettle”, Appkettle.

Founders Richard and Robert Hill hope to crowdfund production of the gadget with a Kickstarter campaign, set to go live on March 31.

The kettle, which is controlled by a phone app, has a range of functions, including scheduling of boils, cooling cycles, volume and temperature sensors and multi-user information.

The founders, who met at Loughborough University, came up with the idea in 2011 when talking about connecting to items around the home.

Robert said: “Although we’re not related, we spend time with our families together. We had a family event and were sat in the front room and quite a few of us wanted a brew, and all wanted different drinks.

“We were discussing connecting to appliances in the kitchen. Although these appliances are getting more prevalent in the home, they weren’t really smart.

“They became an app that turned it on, but you never had the connection to the device you were controlling.

“You couldn’t see what was in it, what was going on, if somebody else was connected to it, or did someone else use it recently.”

Appkettle provides users with information on volume, temperature and usage, as well as providing scheduling tools that help a range of users.

For new parents, Appkettle can be set to boil the water and cool it to 70C to prepare infant formula. This can be done four times daily, to fit in with the routine of a young baby, removing some of the steps for time-starved parents, Robert said.

It also means people who have mobility issues do not have to wait around for a kettle to boil, while users with hearing difficulties can see when the water has boiled via the app and on a colour-coded display on the unit.

The app allows multiple users to order “brew rounds”, bringing a social element for people around the home or in small businesses.

The kettle’s features also have energy-efficient and safety benefits.

Robert said: “It’ll tell you when you’re wasting energy unnecessarily and it’ll give you tips and advice for that.

“According to Which?, kettles are the third most energy-munching thing in the home. It costs about 2.5p a boil.

“If you imagine you do that over 1,300 times a year, it’s quite an efficiency if you’re able to see and not have to reboil.”

The kettle also uses the information provided to stop it from being turned on if it is unsafe to do so, due to under or over-filling.

“It is smart, it’s not just thinking about turning it on, it’s trying to act as a connection between you, your family, the people who use it and it’s providing many benefits,” Robert said.

The technology that sets it apart from other smart kettles is patented, he added.

“We don’t care if everybody tries to copy - we’ve got a patent granted for the scheduling and volumetrics and timing features within our kettle. We feel very well positioned in the market.”

Appkettle initially raised around £250,000 first-round funding in 2014, which was used for the development.

The Kickstarter campaign is targeting upwards of £200,000 in fundraising, with 250 backers able to get their hands on an Appkettle for £79.99.

Pricing will rise following the early bird offer, but remain below the retail price.

The first production runs are expected to deliver from December this year.

For those that want to back the product but don’t want to contribute the discounted price of a kettle, special bundles will be available - including some tea packages.