Why Apple CEO Tim Cook invested in the Nebia by Moen shower head

A San Francisco startup named Nebia, backed by a number of the greatest names in know-how, launched a $199 shower head this week. It guarantees to offer a warmer, extra satisfying bathe utilizing much less water than conventional fashions.

I went to their workplaces, disrobed and took a 10 minute bathe. I’ll let you know what it is like.

Some background

First, some background.

Nebia appears loads like a know-how firm: Gabriel Parisi-Amon, its CEO and co-founder, wrangled iPhone components in Apple’s provide chain earlier than designing the bathe head. Nebia’s based mostly in an industrial neighborhood in San Francisco that is filled with software program startups. Its buyers embody some high-profile executives: Apple CEO Tim Cook, former Google chairman Eric Schmidt’s household workplace and Fitbit CEO James Park.

But Nebia by Moen, which launched this week, shouldn’t be digital know-how. There’s no chip, no app and no software program.

Instead, Nebia is a guess that non-software firms can mix product design strategies borrowed from a number of the Valley’s most iconic corporations with the advertising and on-line gross sales practices utilized by different tech-adjacent firms to promote merchandise in stodgy sectors like mattresses, suitcases and now, plumbing fixtures.

“When you’re making a new product, you have to look at it with a blank slate and an open mind,” co-founder and chief advertising officer Phillip Winter stated.

When Nebia was constructing prototypes of its bathe heads, Parisi-Amon stated it found {that a} 3D printer produced particular nozzles quicker than a provider might ship them. This allowed for extra frequent assessments, extra knowledge and a quicker growth course of.

The founders are conscious they’re promoting a bodily product that must be manufactured, warehoused, and shipped. Unlike software program, you may’t produce one other bodily unit free of charge, so the margins are decrease. And whereas the startup was based in 2014, shortly after Google purchased Nest and spurred a wave of funding in know-how {hardware} firms, the sector has cooled. Investment within the sector declined over the last three years, according to Crunchbase.

Winter instructed CNBC that his agency bought 20,000 models of its Nebia Spa Shower mannequin, which launched in 2015 for $500. But unit gross sales are more likely to improve. In the previous two years, Nebia solid a partnership with Moen, a significant Ohio-based designer of taps and fixtures, which teamed with the startup to develop and produce the Nebia by Moen

The Nebia bathe that head launched this week ships in May, is Moen-branded and costs $200. It’ll be obtainable in dwelling enchancment shops later this 12 months.

I went to their workplaces, disrobed and took a 10 minute bathe to see what it was like.

I took a bathe

Nebia’s founders say that getting buyers underneath the bathe is their key to getting so many big-name individuals on board.

The firm constructed a non-public bathe inside what was a server closet in its loft workplace in San Francisco and encourages potential staff, buyers, and journalists like me to attempt it out. It might be awkward, Parisi-Amon stated, however individuals who turn out to be concerned with the startup almost all the time settle for the bathe.

Cook invested after he tried a prototype at a Silicon Valley health club, Winter stated. He grew to become the corporate’s first investor and has offered ongoing help. Moen signed on board after executives discovered the bathe reminded them of a Tesla.

It’s not a typical bathe — it mists water as a substitute of dumping it on you. Parisi-Amon beneficial letting it run and mist for as much as a minute earlier than getting in. Low warmth is a typical grievance with so-called “low flow” showers. I used to be capable of regulate the angle and peak of the bathe head, bringing it nearer to my head for a warmer, extra intense bathe. It was undoubtedly heat sufficient for me, and I like sizzling showers.

I just like the design, too. The bathe head is clad in aluminum, like a MacBook or iPhone, and it has considerate touches, like a magnetic mount for a removable bathe hose. The half the place the water comes out of is a swish, curved loop, with six totally different jets that spray mist. It appears to be like premium.

But it is form of costly

$200 or $500 looks like loads to spend on a plumbing fixture when {hardware} shops promote comparable merchandise for as little as $20 or much less, although these are usually principally fabricated from plastic. Winter says the associated fee would not appear as excessive when you think about that water prices cash, and the Nebia product makes use of much less water than rivals.

“The payback period is fast,” Winter stated. “A family of four in NYC will be paid back in less than a year,” he stated of the financial savings.

For now, even after the partnership with Moen, Nebia is launching its latest bathe head on Kickstarter. It believes Kickstarter prospects give detailed suggestions and can present money circulate advantages to the corporate. The firm’s not worthwhile but however sees breaking whilst an necessary short-term objective, Parisi-Amon stated.

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