A hypothetical question: What do you do for a second act after spending a good chunk of your teens and twenties building one of the leading product review sites in the US?
You start a company to reinvent one of those product categories you used to review.
At least that’s what you do if you’re Robin Liss, cofounder of Suvie, a Boston based startup that is creating a next-gen cooking appliance. Liss, who started what would become Reviewed.com in her basement at the tender age of 13, sold her company to USA Today in 2011 and managed and grow the site as part of Gannett until she left in 2015.
While she didn’t leave Reviewed with plans to create a cooking appliance startup, it didn’t take long before Liss and her cofounder, Kevin Incorvia, conceived of what eventually became Suvie.
“When I was leaving Reviewed.com, I thought I was going to enjoy my time on the beach,” said Liss when I sat down with her this week to talk about her new company. “But when I was at Reviewed I was really into sous vide cooking, and I thought how can I take this to the next level?”
That next-level cooking idea rolling around Liss’s head eventually crystallized into the Suvie, an ambitious new take at a countertop cooking appliance that includes multiple zones for each staple of a typical dinner: proteins, vegetables, starch, and sauces. Put simply, the Suvie cooks each staple separately using optimized processes for each (sous vide for the protein, steam for veggies, a water dispenser/chamber for starches) but syncs the process across the different cooking chambers so they are finished at the same time.
To top it off, Liss and Incorvia insisted on creating an appliance that enabled “cool to cook”, which means the Suvie would keep food chilled all day and initiate a cook remotely via an app. To do that, they started looking into adding refrigeration.
After looking at a variety of cooling methods like thermoelectric cooling (the cooling technology used in wine coolers and, somewhat notoriously after this Wired review, the Mellow), they decided the Suvie would use a compressor. Compressors are standard in most refrigerators, but the problem was they couldn’t find a compressor small enough for their countertop cooking appliance.