[S1,E7] Raising over $1M on Kickstarter, graduating from Y Combinator and being married to a co-founder — Lisa Fetterman, CEO of Nomiku

I’m very happy to introduce Lisa Fetterman, co-founder and CEO of Nomiku — a sous vide cooking appliance that cooks food in a controlled low-temperature water bath. It had massively succeeded in two Kickstarter campaigns, it is one of the highest funded food category on Kickstarter and it got covered in press all over the world.

Lisa comes from China, she moved to New York with her parents when she was seven. The idea for Nomiku came from her great passion to sous vide cooking technique, and actually, everything started from a first date with her future husband! What was the story behind creating Nomiku? What were the first steps to produce and sell first Nomiku appliances? How did Lisa and her team triple their Kickstarter campaigns goals two times? Why do they manufacture in San Francisco? And finally, how it is to run a startup with a spouse? Watch the video and learn about the impressive story of Nomiku.

Time stamps:

[column size=one_half position=first ]– Product 0:30
– The beginnings 2:10
– Manufacturing in China 4:40
– First Kickstarter campaign 5:15
– Coming to San Francisco 8:57
– Raising money 10:03[/column]
[column size=one_half position=middle ]– Second Kickstarter campaign 10:50
– Manufacturing in SF 11:49
– Obstacles 14:14
– Hiring 18:22
– Y Combinator 19:57
– Running a startup with a spouse 27:35[/column]


Here are a couple highlights from the interview:

  • To produce the first line of products Lisa and her husband moved to China for two years:

    “We had to move to China. We joined accelerator program at that time, called Hackcelerator. They invite you to go to China, and we did. We lived there, knocked on doors of factories, found out how things were made.”

  • I asked Lisa how she felt when they learned that the first Kickstarter campaign was becoming so successful:

    “I was obviously thrilled. I’m still thrilled and very grateful, because that just doesn’t happen to everyone.”

  • Despite the fact that Lisa experienced a lot of challenges that she expected, it was not easy to accept them early on:

    “When we faced challenges, the first couple of them were like ‘Oh no, this is going to ruin us. We are not going to be able to ship.’ But from my perspective now, after shipping two products, I am so much more steeled towards it.”

  • For the second Kickstarter campaign, Lisa and her team decided to manufacture in San Francisco:

    “There is so much marketing and PR about ‘Make it at home, make it in the US.’ What I was really surprised about is that there is no government support, no state level support. People actually just don’t care.”

  • Although Nomiku had already had a big Kickstarter success, it was not that easy to get approved to Y Combinator:

    “It was very difficult because there are a lot successful people like me who apply to YC. I had to really prove my character (…) They go deep inside your psyche to see how you react to certain things that they say.”

  • Getting advice at YC from other founders is what Lisa considers extremely helpful and powerful:

    “You can hear advice all day long, scroll through Facebook or Instagram and see these inspirational quotes all day long. But it means so much more and it’s so much easier to internalize and understand a context behind advice, when it comes from a real person that’s lived it.”

  • The intensity of Y Combinator program makes founders forget about all the glory:

    “I’m not so sure you feel very confident when you to through YC program. It’s great to get in, but you feel good about that for a week (…) You have no time to feel freaking awesome.”

  • As to running a startup with her husband, Lisa feels very lucky in this situation:

    “We are really lucky that we started a company as soon as we started our relationship (…) We are together, because Nomiku happened, so it just feels very natural for me.”

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2 Responses

  1. Vidiot

    Nomiku 2 is over a year behind schedule and I am on track to get mine in anywhere from five months to a year from now. Communication has been frequent but vague. What lessons were learned from the first project that informed their second project? Why was design lock implied in the initial campaign when it was months and months away? Why should I be confident about their ability to support, repair, and provide cloud services (needed for their app to control the circulator) for their product?


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