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The chain of events: From the scandal around juicer juicers to the closure of the company

The manufacturer offered household devices for 400-700 dollars, although the sachets with juice could be squeezed out.

Juicer juicer. Photo by The New York Times
Juicer juicer. Photo by The New York Times

In March 2016, Doug Evans, the former head of the organic food retail chain Organic Avenue, introduced Juicero – “smart” juicers with built-in Wi-Fi. They had to help “in achieving true health and longevity.”

The American startup attracted about $ 120 million, and the price of a home device reached $ 699 without taking into account branded mixes. A year later, according to journalists, for Juicero came its ” Watergate “: the media found out that to get the juice itself, the juicer is simply not needed.

Juicero Advertising

2013 – 2016: Idea and a promising start

The first generation Juicero juicers had built-in Wi-Fi, and they were managed through a mobile application. They made drinks from fruit and vegetable mixes, but they worked only with branded bags with mixtures.

The owner fixed the packaging in the compartment and pressed the button. Then the machine using the QR code, which is on the back side, checked if the expiry date was exceeded. The fact is that the packaging was not completely vacuum: in each there was a small hole in order for the product to “breathe”. If the mixture was stored in the refrigerator for more than six days, the device refused to work.

Each one-time packet cost 5-8 dollars and turned into a glass with a volume of about 220 grams. If the customer did not have a Juicero juicer, he could not buy the brand mix. To cut vegetables or fruit manually and to load them into the device it was impossible, to add water it was not required.

Doug Evans. Photos of Recode
Doug Evans. Photos of Recode

Business Insider emphasized that at the stated price Juicero is a commodity for 1%, and not for those 90% who really need an affordable, healthy and convenient “source of vegetables and fruits.”

Despite this, the idea to combine a one-time sale of equipment and the need to buy disposable packages immediately attracted the business sector. In 2013, even then, a secret startup received the first $ 4 million of investment, in 2014 – $ 15.8 million, in 2015 – another $ 100 million.

Juicero invested in including Campbell Soup, Google Ventures and Nest. A minimalistic design made working with Samsung, Jawbone, Swarowski and Prada Yves Behar. With the project, even linked the chief designer of Apple Joni Aiva, but in Cupertino it was denied.

About the tweeter juicer , the daughter of the president of the USA, Ivanka Trump, she was advertised by the popular in the USA television presenter Dr. Oz and actress Gwyneth Paltrow. The latter, incidentally, itself fell into a scandal because of useless stickers for “balancing energy.”

Mobile application and a bag Juicero. Photos of Business Insider
“When you drink juice from Juicero, you come to life”, “It just blows your brain, because it’s only natural products”, “This is the most difficult business I’ve ever started,” creators and investors did not skimp on compliments until did not come out changed the whole study.

April 2017: Stalling

Against the backdrop of praise and high expectations, the editors of Wired were surprised : “How on earth can there be a juicer for $ 700?” The Verge wrote that they had studied the Juicero site along and across, but they did not understand why the car needed a Wi-Fi connection.

Evans repeatedly responded to the criticism of high cost, speaking about the benefits of a juicer for health, but eventually reduced the price from 699 to 399 dollars. Bloomberg found out that she did not even worth this money.

American journalists conducted an experiment and showed that expensive Juicero technology is not at all necessary to squeeze juice from a bag. It turned out that you can do this with your bare hands. This method allowed to squeeze juice on average for the same time as the machine, and sometimes faster.

During the tests, the hands coped faster than the machine. The reporter was able to squeeze out about 220 grams in 1.5 minutes. The car is 226 grams in two minutes.

from the Bloomberg experiment

According to Bloomberg, when two major investors Juicero learned about the opening of journalists, they were stunned. One of the venture specialists admitted: he would not even have met Evans if he had realized in advance that his packs of juice did not require expensive equipment.

Sources of the publication noticed that Juicero did not focus on “minor” details in a conversation with investors. Hotels and restaurants, which by then often bought juice extractors from the company, said that they liked the device without even realizing that it was useless.

The criticism that hit the Juicero was answered by Jeff Dann, the company’s CEO and former CEO of Coca-Cola. He did not deny that the juice can be squeezed without using the machine, but warned that the hands “will turn bad and have to tinker.”

Another Juicero investor Doug Chertok said that he already knew about the possibility to open the package manually, but still remained a “big fan” of the company. He assured that Juicero in the near future will become a “platform” for a new model for the regular delivery of food home.

“I found a way to get juice faster than with Juicero. Buy a bottle of juice, pour into a cup »

Judging by the destroyed image of the company, Chertok’s forecast will not come true. The company immediately after the scandal began invited each customer to return the juicer within 30 days and promised full compensation.

July – September 2017: The End

In July, Jeff Dunn sent a letter to employees, telling about the reduction of 25% of the staff, mainly in the sales and marketing departments. Management recognized the company’s plans as “unrealistic” even at a machine price of $ 399, with a package of 5-7 dollars.

The new Juicero plan foresaw the creation of a second generation of juicers that would be sold at a cheaper price – around $ 200. But this idea, most likely, did not last long.

On September 1 Juicero announced the suspension of the activities and sales of juicers. The company will deliver orders until September 10, and then give another 90 days for the demand for a refund of money: the restrictions of 30 days after the purchase will no longer be. According to Fortune, employees were informed that they had 60 days left to work. The company has not disclosed the number of devices sold.

Even before Juicero failed, Evans believed that it was the IT company that did it, and compared himself with the founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, at least on the approach to the product and obsession with the idea. As noted by Vox, the idea of ​​Juicero is stupid, but even stupid ideas sometimes work.

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