In 2016, BioLite introduced a new generation of the HomeStove. In a pre-launch field visit we were met with kindness and skepticism. The top concern of households was durability and longevity, and while we could promise that we had designed it to be durable, we didn’t have the data to back it up. As an unknown brand we were asking families to take a big chance with little information. Despite a lot of momentum behind our impending launch, we pushed pause to go back and get that data.
Back at the lab, our engineers kicked off a durability blitz. Andrew and Venky (pictured above) designed a custom testing rig that ran the HomeStove’s Power Packs through cycles of constant use. We hired “burners” in both Bhubaneswar and Brooklyn to feed our stoves 24/7. All in all, we logged 1800 hours of extreme use, monitoring both combustion and electrical performance. By pushing our stoves to the limit we got data to back up our durability claims, as well as caught and fixed potential quirks that forestalled future customer service calls down the road. Six months later, we have a superior product and a much stronger understanding of customer troubleshooting, which will be invaluable to long-term adoption and support. It was an epic few months where the global team banded together, everyone in our Brooklyn office spent at least one overnight session, while our sales agents in Bhubaneswar also worked around the clock.