Outdoor oven innovator smashes crowdfunding target

A Lothians designer is poised to launch an outdoor oven that can cook pizza in less than two minutes after smashing his fundraising target.
Kristian Tapaninaho, co-founder of outdoor oven specialist Uuni. Picture: Rikard OsterlundKristian Tapaninaho, co-founder of outdoor oven specialist Uuni. Picture: Rikard Osterlund
Kristian Tapaninaho, co-founder of outdoor oven specialist Uuni. Picture: Rikard Osterlund

Kristian Tapaninaho set out to raise $50,000 (£40,000) via the Indiegogo crowdfunding platform to take the Uuni Pro oven to market, but hit that goal in less than four hours and has now netted more than $220,000.

Uuni Pro is described as the world’s first quad-fuelled outdoor oven, capable of running on pellets, wood, charcoal and gas, and follows the launch in 2013 of the firm’s first portable wood-fired product, which has been snapped up by tens of thousands of customers in more than 60 countries.

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Finnish-born Tapaninaho, who set up Broxburn-based Uuni with his wife Darina Garland, said: “We previously used a crowdfunding website when our business was in its infancy and it really served as a launch pad, allowing us to become global from the outset.”

He added: “Not only did we achieve our funding goals, we were able to develop an authentic dialogue with our backers and ensure they were part of the company’s growth.”

Tapaninaho last month picked up a £7,000 prize after being hailed as the “entrepreneur of the moment” at the Entrepreneuring Awards, hosted by business start-up accelerator programme Entrepreneurial Spark in partnership with Royal Bank of Scotland, accounting group KPMG, technology giant Dell EMC and law firm Harper Macleod.

That accolade came after Garland won the Shona Sibbald Women in Business Award at a ceremony organised by West Lothian Chamber of Commerce in November.

The company also won £50,000 in grant and loan funding at last year’s Scottish Edge awards for innovation and growth after impressing an expert panel of judges chaired by Lord Smith of Kelvin.

Uuni saw turnover soar by 300 per cent last year to reach £2.5 million, with sales of £450,000 in November alone, building on the previous year’s 235 per cent growth, and is expanding its headcount as it seeks to continue that trajectory.

Tapaninaho added: “Our first campaign also helped us to build a community and gave our supporters a chance to get their hands on our product first. We are a family business, but we have huge ambitions.

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“The Uuni Pro has been two years in the making and we believe we’ve created the world’s best outdoor oven that is both functional and desirable.”

Those who contribute $499 through the Indiegogo website will receive a Uuni Pro oven and extra accessories. The device, which is also able to cook meat, fish and vegetables in a matter of minutes, is expected to retail for $649 when it hits the shelves in the autumn.