Two years ago, Ember launched a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo to build a mug that keeps hot drinks hot and iced drinks cool. Contributors gave the company nearly $362,000. Fast-forward and the five-year-old startup has now raised just north of $24 million altogether, including a $13 million Series C round that it quietly closed last week.
The individual investors supporting the company are undoubtedly encouraged by the progress it has been making since showing off its early product to the public. For one thing, Starbucks began selling the mugs in its stores across most of the U.S. and online for $149.95 back in November. The Westlake Village, Ca.-startup also sells its mugs on Amazon, where 186 customers have now assigned them a collective 3.5 stars out of five. (The biggest knock against the product by Ember’s customers: that its battery, which takes up to two hours to charge, doesn’t last terribly long. The company’s purported plans to develop a car charger might help on this front. )
Altogether, the company, whose mugs also can be purchased at its site, says it has sold more than 20,000 mugs so far. It has also inspired at least one new player, a company in Salt Lake City that recently turned to Kickstarter to raise funds for its own heated smart mug, called The Jül.
Ember isn’t breaking out who joined its most recent financing, though it has said in the past that its investors include StubHub CEO Scott Cutler, eBay chief product officer RJ Pitman, singers Demi Lovato and Drew Taggart of The Chainsmokers, and Robert Brunner, chief designer of Beats by Dre and the former head of design at Apple.
According to L.A. Biz, the company plans to use some of that fresh capital to expand its product set, including building a temperature-controlled baby bottle, chilled water bottles and dinner plates that can be made to stay warm.