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Challenge Cup

Winner Spotlight: Miito Introduces a Cutting-Edge Kettle to Save Time and Energy

Dena Levitz Headshot

Dena Levitz

Challenge Cup Reporting Fellow, 1776

Taken at face value, Miito is like an electric kettle. According to its creators, though, it is so much improved over the old model that it classifies as an entirely new product. Instead of guessing about how much liquid to heat up, Miito makes it possible to just heat up what’s needed, saving energy and time in the process. The cutting-edge kettle also has thousands of Europeans and Americans who have committed to buying it—even though the device is not fully developed.

The three-person team behind Miito recently won the Berlin Challenge Cup’s energy competition with an unconventional set of pitches: Nils Chudy and Jasmina Grase, the cofounders, switched off speaking during both their one-minute and five-minute pitches. It marks the first time during this year’s Challenge Cup that a two-person pitch has fared so well.  

Not surprisingly, Chudy and Grase switched off speaking again post-win to explain how their kettle came to be and came to be so coveted.

For someone who hasn’t seen it, what does your kettle look like and do?

Chudy: We are fixing a huge problem. Electrical kettles are completely wrongly designed, and we figured that out. The key thing is people always overfill them. We always put too much water inside and heat excess water. That’s exactly what Miito is targeting. We want to only heat the amount of water or liquid we actually need. We have the base on the bottom and a separate stick to it. The stick has a disc on the bottom so it can stand freely.

The way it works is you put a vessel with a liquid on top of the Miito base, and then you put the stick inside and Miito is almost like an induction hub. It sends out an electromagnetic field. The stick is made from iron, so as soon as the stick is placed inside the vessel and sits at the bottom of the vessel. It starts to heat up and, of course, the water touches it and also starts to heat up.

You called Miito an entirely new product, unlike anything else out there. What is so much better about it than a microwave or existing electric kettles?

Chudy: It all focuses on the user interaction; that’s the key thing. We wanted Miito to be extremely intuitive and extremely easy to use. The only thing you have to do is fill your vessel, pick up the stick, put the vessel into the Miito.

With a microwave, you need to know how long you have to set the time. Will it blow over? Will your microwave look like something exploded inside? Will the water be cold? And on top of that, it’s only 50 to 60 percent efficient.

Grase: And then there’s the cleaning aspect. Miito is unbeatable on that. How many people actually clean their electrical kettles? With Miitto, no matter the liquid—if it’s milk or whatever—you can throw it inside a dishwasher because there’s no electronics inside the stick itself. The top of the base, you just wipe it off with a cloth. It’s incomparable.

At this point you’ve verified the concept and are working toward a prototype. How close are you to getting one out?

Chudy: Right now what we have is a visual mockup like what we have presented on the website, video and photos. Next to that, we have a proof of concept. We’re working on the final prototype right now, meaning we want to scale it down to the actual size that we want.

Grase: We’re also being as efficient as possible because it’s important to us that Miito is more efficient than anything else out there. It has to heat very fast. We’re aiming to heat one cup of water in less than a minute—maybe 45 seconds.

Chudy: That’s the dream.

You’re in a rare situation because you have 4,000 fans and counting clamoring for this and nothing to give them yet. How did you get to this point of having a fan base before the completed product?

Chudy: I think it’s really interesting with us. It started sort of backwards and now we’re working through the front of it. It started with, “This is our idea, what do you think about it?” And so many people said, “We love it, we want to have it.” And we could only say, “Wait a sec, we have to quickly make it before you can get it.”

We’ve done the market analysis. We know people are out there that want this and want to support us. Now we just have to develop the actual thing so they can support us.

Grase: Basically the market came to us instead of us coming to the market, so obviously there’s a crucial need. It’s one of those lucky things. It was just one of the projects we were working on that grew bigger and bigger and almost got out of our hands. We had to pause everything else we were doing to jump full time on Miito to make it happen, which we are trying to do now.

How old, as a company, are you?

Grase: Young as babies.

What was your background before Miito?

Grase: Originally we were both designers. I started as a graphic designer and then product designer. But then we have very different approaches to design even though we have the same education. Nils is more the manager keeping the whole Miito thing together, and I’m more the communications and practical design person. And Rebekka [Mueller] is joining us because we have no clue about numbers, so she takes care of all the business and finance parts.

I’m originally Latvian. [Nils and I] met in the Netherlands and both moved to Denmark, and now because of Miito we have just moved to Berlin.

Chudy: Miito is “Europe based,” let’s put it that way.

Between now and May, when Challenge Festival takes place, what are Miito’s priorities?

Chudy:  Wow, how it’s going to grow! The one key thing we have to do is develop the prototype and get it out there as soon as possible. We need to have a working prototype with roughly the same power that we’re looking for. We want to prepare everything for the Kickstarter campaign and launch that as soon as possible.

Dena Levitz Headshot

Dena Levitz

Challenge Cup Reporting Fellow, 1776

Dena Levitz is traveling to almost all of the Challenge Cup cities to cover the competition and analyze startup ecosystems around the globe. Dena joins 1776 after finishing the first…