Retail

Investors Like What Brava Is Cooking Up

Venture capitalists just earmarked tens of millions of dollars for the stealth-mode startup Brava, an Internet of Things company with plans to build a suite of domestic hardware and software products to enhance the ease and enjoyment of home life.

What does that mean? No one’s really sure.

The company’s not telling, stating only that it plans to roll out its first product before the end of the year. Brava’s website simply says, “We are an IoT and domestic automation company that integrates technology and design to enable joyful experiences in the home — starting with the kitchen.”

Whatever it is, investors liked it enough to invest millions in its first round of funding last year. Brava raised $12 million in Series A funding led by Silicon Valley venture firm True Ventures, which was the first investor in FitBit in 2008.

A recent round of funding led by TPG Growth (Uber, Spotify, Airbnb) more than doubled that amount. Investors included The Rise Fund (TPG’s social impact fund), Lightspeed Venture Partners, Next Coast Ventures, Lead Edge Capital, DGNL Ventures, Chris Anderson (TED conference), Rob Reid (Rhapsody music service founder), and Aileen Lee (Cowboy Ventures founder).

“Sometimes what and who we invest in are no-brainers. This was our instinct when we first heard about John Pleasants’ latest venture, Brava,” wrote True Ventures founder Jon Callaghan after the firm decided to back Brava.

“The Brava team will be rethinking many of the machines we use on a daily basis that have yet to be revolutionized, starting with products for the kitchen,” wrote Callaghan. “The goal is to improve our lives, not just connect something.”

Brava CEO John Pleasants told TechCrunch last year that the first product is “not a luxury item; it’s for everyone. We’re aspiring to [produce something that is] well-regarded and high-quality but not for the superrich.”

Pleasants’ impressive resume could be part of the reason for investors’ confidence. Previously, he held positions as COO of Electronic Arts, CEO of Ticketmaster, and most recently as an EVP at Samsung.

He spent one year as CEO of social gaming company Playdom, which was where he met Brava co-founder and Chief Product Officer Dan Yue. (In 2010, Playdom was acquired for $563 million by Disney, where Pleasants became co-president of Disney Interactive Media Group.)

Brava’s third co-founder and Chief Technology Officer, Thomas Cheng, was a high school friend of Yue’s and co-founded the smart parking company Streetline.

Brava employs 46 people and is based in Redwood City, California.

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