Juicero Closes, Seeks a Buyer as High-Priced Machine Falters
(Bloomberg) -- Juicero Inc., the vegetable and fruit juice startup that raised more than $100 million from investors, said it will suspend sales, offer refunds to customers and search for a buyer for the company.
The decision to shut down its business comes four months after a Bloomberg News report that the company’s juice packets could be squeezed by hand and didn’t require Juicero’s machine, which cost $400. The machine had previously sold for $700, before the price cut.
Juicero announced the decision in a statement Friday posted on its website. “It became clear that creating an effective manufacturing and distribution system for a nationwide customer base requires infrastructure that we cannot achieve on our own as a standalone business,” the San Francisco-based company said. Chief Executive Officer Jeff Dunn announced in July that the company would cut 25 percent of its staff, primarily in sales and marketing, and try to lower the price of its machine and juice packs.
Alphabet’s venture arm GV, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Artis Ventures and Josh Kushner’s Thrive Capital are among the startups investors.
Some investors hoped the company’s internet-connected machine would do for juice what the Keurig, a coffee maker that required customers to keep buying its cartridges, did for coffee. Juicero sold its expensive juicer promising force “enough to lift two Teslas” along with packets of juice costing $5 to $7 each.
Juicero’s founder Doug Evans boasted about the technical complexity of the company’s juicer. “There are 400 custom parts in here,” he told Recode. “There’s a scanner; there’s a microprocessor; there’s a wireless chip, wireless antenna.”
Bloomberg revealed in an April article, accompanied by video evidence, that the juice machine was hardly a necessity since the packets could be more quickly squeezed by hand.
Juicero said Friday that it will offer refunds of its presses for the next 90 days. Pack subscriptions are ending the week of Sept. 4. Fortune earlier reported Juicero’s decision to cease operations.
“As we enter this new chapter, we also want to express the deepest gratitude to our employees who have poured their hearts and souls into developing, launching and growing Juicero over the past 3 years,” the company said in its statement.