Lerer Hippeau
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Lerer Hippeau

Please welcome Spark Grills, a precision charcoal grill igniting a new way to cook outdoors

Meet Spark Grills, the latest addition to Lerer Hippeau’s portfolio.

HQ: Boulder, CO

Founder: Ben West

The problem: Barbecue grill sales are projected to exceed $3 billion annually by 2025 with purchases mostly split between gas and charcoal. Grill enthusiasts know the tradeoff well: charcoal grilling is superior in terms of taste and heat, but traditional charcoal grills aren’t always precise and tend to be time-consuming to maintain. So even though gas grills do not offer the same flavor profile, people purchase them because of their convenience. As the pandemic extends into the summer months and we remain close to home, families will fire up their grills as a way to stay connected and nourished.

Spark’s solution: Spark Grills is a precision, design-forward charcoal grill that marries the ease-of-use of gas with the versatility of charcoal so that you don’t have to compromise taste for convenience. Available in flavors including Applewood, Hickory and Woodfire, Spark’s proprietary wood and charcoal “Briqs” makes loading, lighting, and clean up easy. Spark’s mobile app notifies users when the grill has reached the desired temperature and allows for easy re-ordering of its charcoal Briqs.

Origin story: Founder Ben West has spent over a decade learning and building in the cook stove and grill space, first at StoveTec and then at EcoZoom, where he focused on distributing high-efficiency cookstoves to areas of the developing world. He got to work on Spark in the summer of 2016 to redesign the charcoal grill for today’s grill masters from the bottom up.

Why we’re betting on it: Ben is a passionate, mission-driven founder who has spent more than a decade building deep expertise in this space through his previous company EcoZoom. In a short time, he has built an amazing team and they have executed well on developing an innovative hardware product that satisfies the needs of the most sophisticated grill master and the novice chef. Spark Grills is poised to ignite a new kind of grilling experience that delivers on convenience and flavor for consumers.

Our take: Even before COVID-19 made us all home cooks, millennials and Gen Z were placing a higher value on shareable experiences than physical items. There is no better experience than grilling at home for our loved ones and there has not been a truly disruptive brand in the space until Spark. Our portfolio company June Oven has done well in transforming the way we cook inside the kitchen, and we’re excited to see the Spark experience resonate with consumers grilling outdoors.

Further reading: Spark Grills Raises $3.5 Million as It Launches Its Mid-Century Styled Precision Charcoal Grill” via The Spoon

Learn about careers at Spark Grills.

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Lerer Hippeau is an early-stage venture capital fund based in New York City. As founders and operators ourselves, we see returns in relationships.

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Lerer Hippeau

Lerer Hippeau

Lerer Hippeau is the most active early-stage venture capital fund in New York.

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