Earlier this month, a lavishly funded startup that once sold a $699 Wi-Fi-connected juice press announced it was shutting down forever after attracting about $134 million in funding from such illustrious investors as Google Ventures, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and then losing about $4 million a month.
Juicero which its founder Doug Evans who follows a diet of mostly raw, vegan foods and comparse himself with Steve Jobs in his pursuit of juicing perfection described as a powerful machine capable of squeezing bagged chunks of fruits and vegetables into fresh juice failed as a result of a culmination of unsustainable costs, slow sales and unflattering media reports.
In an interview with technology website Recode that was much ridiculed by the media, he likened his work to the invention of a mainstream personal computer by Apple’s Jobs. “There are 400 custom parts in here,” Evans told Recode. “There’s a scanner; there’s a microprocessor; there’s a wireless chip, wireless antenna.”
Doug and Denise Mari launched Organic Avenue in 2002 around New York. In a food landscape marked by comfort food and the South Beach Diet, Organic Avenue claimed to be the sole cold-pressed, organic bottled juice company in the United States at the time. Originally operating out of Mari’s Chinatown loft, the company opened a physical storefront in 2006 once popularity swelled.
Organic Avenue experienced healthy growth through 2012, achieving a reported consistent 100% growth YoY. Despite this growth, Evans felt squeezed out of the company when private equity firm Weld North closed on a controlling interest in the company. As a result, he felt less control of Organic Avenue’s product quality and thus was inspired to start a new venture.
According to Bloomberg, after the product’s introduction last year, at least two Juicero investors were taken aback after finding the packs could be squeezed by hand.
They also said the machine was much bigger than what Evans had proposed. One of the investors said they were frustrated with how the company didn’t deliver on the original pitch and that their venture firm wouldn’t have met with Evans if he were hawking bags of juice that didn’t require high-priced hardware. Juicero didn’t broadly disclose to investors or employees that packs can be hand squeezed, said four people with knowledge of the matter.
In this story, the trio of Brad Stone, Olivia Zaleski & Ellen Huet explored the events that lead to its final demise.
And below, Juicero CEO Doug Evans spoke with Recode’s Kara Swisher and The Verge’s Lauren Goode about why his company made a $700 high-tech organic fruit juicer.
We hope that Doug won’t give up on his dream but remember that success is largely a matter of hanging on after others have let go. And that when your dreams turn to dust, vacuum.
As one wise man once said. “sometimes one must cross a bridge and other times one need to burn it. But, always keep building one and never lose your faith in life. ”