Monthly Catch-ups: Ben Harris, CEO & Co-founder of Drop.

Drop has developed an operating system for the kitchen that empowers anyone to cook food by connecting recipes and appliances. Drop offers home cooks a wealth of useful features and guides users step-by-step through finding, making, and sharing delicious dishes and other flavorful creations. We sat down with Ben Harris, CEO & Co-founder to chat about the product, people, and their recipe for success.

Morpheus: You have been designing and building products for the kitchen for over 10 years, where did the idea for Drop come from?

Ben: “I started designing a pipeline of connected devices for the kitchen that would facilitate the cooking experience, and at the same time the three other co-founders of Drop were working on a similar set of connected devices for the kitchen, starting with the kitchen scale.

We decided to join forces and In 2014, Apple retail launched our connected scale (one of only 16 non-Apple products) in every English-speaking retail store globally, which generated significant inbound interest from large appliance manufacturers that loved the interactive recipe experience with the scale and how it walked people step-by-step through the cooking process. I then realized that if we want to empower the world to cook, rather than building our own pipeline of connected devices, we can scale faster by building a full-stack IoT platform for the appliance manufacturers, let them get up to speed and then build the delightful consumer experiences on top of that, which then connects to all the appliances in the kitchen.”

Morpheus: How do you set yourself apart from other platforms in the industry?

Ben “If you look at the pure platform providers that are out there that are developing recipe flows, our biggest differentiator is that we are full stack. We provide a one-stop solution for any connected device in the kitchen. We see ourselves as leaders in kitchen user experience and how hardware and software integrates. Finally, we have a different content strategy to other competitors in the market in that we don’t develop our own recipes but aggregate most of the world recipes and make them smart.”

Morpheus: What do you see are the largest challenges and obstacles for Drop as you seek to grow and expand the business?

Ben: “Execution is key. Making sure that we deliver the best user experience possible for our customers. This is something we live and die by, so we are very passionate about this. There was a lot of worry coming into the COVID-19 pandemic, but obviously seeing everyone cooking from home, and the importance of everyone cooking from home is going to be here moving forward. There are a lot of pieces in the stack and the main challenge is making sure we don’t get side-tracked by the short-term opportunities but sticking to the long-term vision of what we are trying to build.”

Morpheus: You have built an amazing team at Drop, how are you continuing to attract good talent? 

Ben: “We hire really well, and those hires bring with them a network of possible talent that we can attract. We are also a very mission-driven company working on some really cool products, and those like-minded people are drawn to the Drop community and love working with us.”

Morpheus: You have partnered with some exciting and leading brands in the industry; how do you showcase the true value of Drop to these partners?

Ben: “The beauty of starting with our hardware device and getting that into the market, proving it out in Apple stores, some of the most sought-after retail space, is that it started to become a reference design for how well hardware and software should integrate. We’ve been able to give out our connected devices and have manufacturers instantly want their appliances to work as well. The goal is to get in front of potential customers to prove the retention and activation that we can offer. For those that have delivered their own experience they can see the huge opportunities we bring to better engage with their own customer.”

Morpheus: You recently were showcased at Apple’s WWDC for ‘App clips’, tell me a little more about the feature that will be available with the IOS 14 update when it comes out?

Ben: “The highest friction point for any connected appliances is around adding and pairing new devices. If that is your first touchpoint of experience, you obviously want that experience to be delightful. Apple has done an amazing job with how you pair your AirPods to your phone. This allows us to deliver a similar experience either with NFC or QR tags, where you tap or scan your camera over code and a little widget pops up to connect to the right clip of our app. This provides a magical onboarding experience.”

Morpheus: You are a very mission-driven founder, conceptually, what is the ultimate vision for Drop?

Ben: “Spreading the love of home cooking by making it effortless and more rewarding. Leveraging food science and machine learning and combining it with a delightful user experience that is brand agnostic and connected to all devices in the kitchen.”

Next month we will be catching up with Dr. Bernard Casse, CEO of RIOS.