“Doug Evans, [Juiceros]’s founder, would compare himself with Steve Jobs in his pursuit of juicing perfection. He declared that his juice press wields four tons of force—“enough to lift two Teslas,” he said. Google’s venture capital arm and other backers poured about $120 million into the startup.” -Ellen Huet and Olivia Zaleski, “Silicon Valley’s $400 Juicer May Be Feeling the Squeeze”
Sometimes I get the feeling that we’re just throwing millions of dollars at bad ideas for the sake of buzzwords. Hear me out for a moment. You constantly hear on the news about a “new startup” attempting to make something to disrupt a certain industry- let’s say a company that’s like “Airbnb but with dogs.” This company makes a lot of publicity, maybe a video serving as a hypothetical demonstration, and suddenly people are coming in through the windows to give them money. You may say that my idea sounds ridiculous- but what if I told you that someone tried to make a juicer based on the basic Keurig concept?
Juiceros was one of those companies that really shouldn’t have been taken seriously, but somehow was. Realistically, there probably was a market for this, but it would be small and entirely dependent on cold-press juice staying in favor as a food craze. However, nevertheless this was seen as crazy enough to work, and became one of the rare hardware startups to get on the ground, based on lofty promises. And sure, the company did deliver on its promise- the product was released and functional, environmental concerns aside.
Of course, this all blew up in their face when Bloomberg ran a piece conclusively showing that the buyer could just as easily squeeze the juice themselves- replacing a $400 product with a modicum of manual effort. Quite understandably, they’ve become not only the laughing stock of the tech world overnight, but also a cause for reflection. This company, who would have been smarter just selling their juice packets themselves, received millions from Google, a company considered to be the golden goose of startup acquisitions, on the basis of unbelievable promises and a product almost exclusively relevant only to a tiny subset of the urban bubble. It begins to seem to any sane person that companies basically get money for nothing at this point- leaving everyone poorer, more embarrassed, and squeezing their own juice packets.
Nicholson, David, and Henry Baker. “Do You Need a $400 Juicer?” Bloomberg, 18 Apr. 2017. Gif of video by unknown author.