David Rabie is the Founder of Tovala which is a Smart Oven that is paired with a meal delivery service. Essentially you get a fresh healthy packaged meal delivered and you scan the package and pop it in the Smart Oven and it knows the precise time and method to cook the meal to perfection whether it be broiling, baking, steaming or convection. They sold 250K worth of Tovala ovens on Kickstarter and 100K of that in one day. They also won the University of Chicago New Venture Challenge in 2015. To date they have raised over 700K.
In this episode…
How an innovator meets and overcomes challenges on their journey says a lot about their character and internal fortitude. One of the many obstacles entrepreneurs like David Robie face is tackling critical feedback. David and his company Tovala have been gearing up for the product introduction of their new Smart Oven. Using his business savvy, David has sought out and embraced critiques and tough feedback for his product. A huge part of this process is incorporating the use of focus groups and beta testing before product launch. It can be tempting for innovators to take this kind of feedback personally. Only the most driven and wise leaders rise above and push through criticism and even embrace it to see their products thrive in the marketplace.
Assembling a stellar team can make or break a successful product introduction. A quality team is so vital to the success of today’s startups that small business accelerator, Y Combinator largely rejects innovators that don’t have a solid team built around them. Entrepreneur David Rabie credits much of his products success and popularity to his all-star team. He has high caliber individuals that have brought key advice, feedback, and contributions to the development of Tovala’s Smart Oven. They are poised now for a smooth and successful product launch in Spring 2017 because of the essential contributions and collaboration fostered by this amazing team. To hear more about the necessity of building a quality team and more from David’s story - listen to this episode of Inspired Insider.
The digital age has brought about many changes in the realm of startups and product introduction. An amazing tool for innovators and entrepreneurs in this new digital age is the crowdsourcing website Kickstarter. Kickstarter has facilitated thousands of product launches over the years as it has gained notoriety. Tovala founder David Rabie has enjoyed using this platform to gather a tribe around his innovative product, a Smart Oven. Listen to Jeremy's conversation with David that centers around his great success and even some challenges on this episode of Inspired Insider.
The age old question - what did you want to be when you were a child? It makes for a great icebreaker question but it’s also a fun question to ask an entrepreneur like David Rabie. From childhood, David has dreamed of owning his own business. David attributes this largely to the influence of growing up as a child of immigrants. His parents immigrated from Iran to America in the late 1970’s. For the majority of his life, all David knew was his father working as his own boss. So fast-forward to today and David is a successful business leader who is poised to launch his company’s first product; the Tovala Smart Oven in Spring 2017. Hear more about David’s road to success on this episode of Inspired Insider.
A product launch date for founders of new startups can be like anticipating the arrival of a new child in many ways. The whole range of emotions are there; nervousness, jitters, joy, pride, anxiety, and much more! Like a proud new father, David Rabie of Tovala is fired up about his company’s upcoming product launch. He should be! The Tovala Smart Oven is an amazing product. David’s enthusiasm is around the great service his product will bring to people of all backgrounds - he’s even excited to use it in his own home! Learn from David’s fascinating journey on this episode of Inspired Insider.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- [0:50] Jeremy’s introduction of David Rabie and this episode.
- [1:50] David talks about developing his first prototype oven.
- [3:10] What caused David to pivot and make changes to his product?
- [6:00] David talks about innovation his team engaged in.
- [7:00] Where is all this happening?
- [8:30] David talks about one of the pivotal moments in his company’s success.
- [9:30] What is some of the best advice and input David has received from his co-founder?
- [10:20] What was the reason David and his team chose to incorporate steam?
- [11:30] David talks about building a great team.
- [17:30] How did David recruit his team to get on board with his vision?
- [19:30] What are some of the common objections David receives to his product?
- [23:00] What’s been one of the hardest questions David has received from investors?
- [24:00] What are some of the challenges to developing the physical product?
- [26:20] David talks about food challenges.
- [28:30] Working with focus groups and beta testing.
- [32:30] David talks about applying to and getting involved with Y Combinator.
- [38:30] Critical feedback and advice from the folks at Y Combinator.
- [40:30] David talks about Kickstarter success.
- [43:00] David talks about the Tovala launch.
- [44:20] Lessons from David’s experience in PR and in the food industry.
- [47:30] Growing up as the son of immigrants.
- [51:30] David talks about traveling around the world and his time in China.
- [53:30] What excites David about the product launch?
- [54:30] How can people get a Tovala oven? How do they order food?
- [56:04] What has been the lowest moment on this journey for David? How did he push through? What was the proudest moment?
Resources Mentioned on this episode
Sponsor for this episode
One of our sponsor today is www.Rise25.com where entrepreneurs of 6,7, and 8 figure businesses come together live and in person every few months to solve their biggest business challenges through this high-level Mastermind group. Each member leaves each week with lifelong friendships and actionable steps to take their business to the next level. Check out Rise25.com - a group run by myself and cofounder John Corcoran. Rise 25 is application only.