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20 December 2017

Tovala cooks up $9.2m series A

Smart oven developer and University of Chicago spinout Tovala has been backed by UChicago Startup Investment Program in an Origin Ventures-led round.

Author: Callum Cyrus, reporter

Tovala, a US-based smart consumer appliance spinout from University of Chicago, has raised $9.2m in series A funding from a consortium that includes the university’s UChicago Startup Investment Program.

Venture capital firm Origin Ventures led the round, which also featured VC and private equity company Pritzker Group, and accelerator and VC firm Y Combinator along with angel investors Joe Mansueto and Larry Levy.

Tovala has created an automated oven that alternates between steam cooking, baking and broiling to cook food it claims is restaurant quality. Consumers can purchase bespoke Tovala meals and will receive a discount if they order one year’s worth of supplies.

The company was founded by David Rabie, its chief executive, who studied business administration, entrepreneurship, strategy and marketing at Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

The cash will be used to expand Tovala’s 40-strong team, and to support product, technology and marketing development. Jason Heltzer, a partner at Origin Ventures, will join Tovala’s board of directors.

Tovala secured $1.6m in an October 2016 seed round led by Origin Ventures that included New Stack Ventures and Service Provider Capital as well as angels Kyle Vogt, Dan Veltri, Chris Fanini and Andy Appelbaum.

The company had raised $3.7m in a January 2017 round led by Origin and backed by Valor Equity, New Stack Ventures and assorted angel investors, according to deals database Pitchbook, though that likely formed part of the series A round.

Founded in December 2016, UChicago Startup Investment Program is a $25m co-investment vehicle that backs series A rounds in university-linked businesses.

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