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Meld Smart Knobs. Image via KickStarter.
Meld Smart Knobs. Image via Kickstarter.

Meld, the Seattle-based maker of smart knobs for the stove, was acquired last September, but declined to name the buyer at that time. However, based on a message to its former Kickstarter backers this week, the acquirer has now been identified as Meyer Corp., the Hong Kong-based manufacturer that is the largest distributer of cookware in the United States.

Meld co-founder Darren Vengroff accepts the award for “Hardware/Gadget of the Year” at the 2015 GeekWire Awards.
Meld co-founder Darren Vengroff accepts the award for “Hardware/Gadget of the Year” for the Meld Smart Knobs at the 2015 GeekWire Awards.

Meld said in the message that it’s now part of Hestan Smart Cooking (HSC). Meld didn’t name Meyer specifically, but Hestan Smart Cooking is identified in job postings and elsewhere as “the newest addition to the Meyer Corporation cookware family” and a sister brand to Hestan Commercial, Meyer’s high-end cookware line.

The new division, which has test kitchens in Napa Valley, Calif., is developing a smart cookware system called the Hestan Cue. That system debuted at Chicago’s Housewares show on Monday.

According to a post on the housewares registry Housewares Connect 365, the new Hestan Cue system will “augment your senses, guide you through recipes you never thought you’d be able to cook in your home, and provide perfect temperature control to the experienced cooks.”

Meyer Corp’s buyout of Meld caused the Seattle startup to shut down its Kickstarter campaign last fall, angering some backers who said they felt “disappointed” and “used.”

In September 2015, the Meld co-founders Jon (JJ) Jenkins and Darren Vengroff, both former Amazonians, refunded all the money people had invested in the smart knobs and offered them preferential pricing on the new product being developed under their new company.

They reiterated that promise this week. “HSC continues to pursue the mission of bringing precise temperature control to traditional cooking methods, and we remain committed to offering you, as a Meld backer, priority access to our new product at a preferential price,” they wrote in the new message to former backers, saying they are “targeting a fall launch of the product.”

They added, “In the past few months we’ve added several new members to the HSC team including electrical engineers, designers, developers, and development chefs. We are all currently in the middle of building hardware, software, and recipes that enable home cooks to produce a perfect meal every time.”

Meld’s co-founders didn’t respond to GeekWire’s requests for comment this week.

Explaining the reasons for the acquisition, the company said in its previous Kickstarter announcement that it couldn’t offer “long-term support including software and content updates,” so it was joining a bigger company that could offer those services to customers. Through its new company, the Meld team said it would continue to work on precision cooking products, including ones similar to its original smart knobs.

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