Juicero CEO Says Luxury Juicer Is ‘Much More’ Than Juice; Internet Is Unimpressed

Juicero CEO Says Luxury Juicer Is 'Much More' Than Juice; Internet Is Unimpressed

Sometimes, it’s the Internet of Stings. Juicero, a startup that sells a pricey juice press, found that out firsthand. The company’s machine produces cold-pressed juice out of packets sold exclusively to owners via subscription. Received as both Silicon Valley cautionary tale and commentary on conspicuous consumption, Juicero’s story was chronicled this week in a Bloomberg News piece. The article pointed out how the original pitch — specialty juice, at home, by way of the Internet of Things — excited venture capitalists in Silicon Valley. Major investors, including Google’s venture capital arm, poured money into founder Doug Evans’ idea, wagering the subscription model could strike gold like it did with Dollar Shave Club. In all, the company raised some $120 million. But Bloomberg says investors’ confidence waned once it emerged that people didn’t actually need the press to get juice from the packets, they could simply squeeze it out by hand. And it says there were other revelations: “[A]fter 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.” A video accompanying the article showed that hand-squeezing the packets produces roughly the same amount of juice as the machine, which initially retailed for $700. The price has since been lowered to $400. Even so, the costly contraption elicited a fair amount of Internet snark. On Thursday, Juicero’s CEO offered a full-fledged defense of his company’s product and offered refunds to “any Juicero customer — new or old — who feels that we aren’t making it easier, more enjoyable and delicious to form a healthy habit.” Writing on the blog site Medium, Jeff Dunn also highlighted several points he said showed that “the value of Juicero is more than a glass of cold-pressed juice. Much more.” Dunn touted the device’s connectivity. He said, for example, that…