Chef'n Announces New Executive Board Chair

 
 

Chef’n Corporation, a kitchen products company that recently sold a majority share of itself to the private equity firm CID Capital, has announced the appointment of Linda Graebner, former Board Chair of the International Housewares Association, as Executive Chairman.

“All teams under the Chef’n umbrella including product development, operations, finance, sales and marketing” will work closely with Graebner and Chef’n founder and CEO David Holcomb, the company said in a statement.

Known for kitchen and cooking products such as the PepperBall, a squeeze-operated pepper grinder, Chef'n has 250 patents to its name. Holcomb, who also holds the title “Famous Inventor,” says the new money raised will be used to launch as many as 20 new products in 2012. Holcomb says new products and marketing will push annual sales from $40 million in 2011 to $50 million in the next several years and to as much as $100 million in the next 10 years.

Bright Idea: Mechanics Making House Calls

Bright Idea: Mechanics Making House Calls

Wrench wants to take the hassle out of car repair.
| FROM THE PRINT EDITION |
 
 
 
Need a quick oil change? Maybe a complete tune-up? A year-old startup called Wrench dispatches a certified mechanic to your home or workplace and eliminates the hassle and cost of having to drop off your car at the car dealer or repair shop.
 
“We’re 30 percent cheaper than a dealership and on par with an independent shop,” says Wrench cofounder and CEO Ed Petersen. “But we’re more convenient.”
 
Petersen adds that the pitch to consumers is simple: “Our goal is to make owning your car completely hassle free.”
 
To request service, customers can visit Wrench’s website — getwrench.com — or they can use a smartphone app. Its most popular service is an oil change, which starts at $68. Wrench also offers memberships, which include quarterly visits for oil changes, tire rotations, safety inspections and fluid top-offs; memberships cost $14.95 a month for cars and $19.95 for trucks.
 
 
Last June, the Madrona Venture Group contributed half of a $1.2 million seed round. Managing Director Len Jordan says the big market potential, clear pain point and compelling solution sold Madrona on Wrench’s concept.
 
“We like the market opportunity,” Jordan says. “There are more than 120 million cars on the road that are more than three years old.”
 
So far, Wrench has serviced more than a thousand vehicles. Jordan says the startup is still in its infancy, so the focus is less on making a profit and more on establishing a presence. Demand, however, is apparent. Wrench expanded to car-happy Phoenix in November and is studiously eyeing other markets.
 
Wrench has a contract to service vehicles for Lyft, the ride-hiring service. And it hopes to expand its services to office and industrial parks; it already has deals with Bellefield Office Park in Bellevue and North Creek Business Park in Bothell.