Final 12 months, a startup named Juicero got here to market with a tremendous thought. Individuals already like juice — so why not promote them a $400, Web-connected, DRMed juicer that solely accepted ridiculously overpriced “juice packs?” Absolutely there’s no means a product like that might become a rip-off, and there’s no means Silicon Valley’s finest and brightest might be sucked into dumping cash down an emerald-hued, GMO-free drain. Besides, after all, it was and so they had been.
Right here’s how Bloomberg described the scenario:
One of the lavishly funded gadget startups in Silicon Valley final 12 months was Juicero Inc. It makes a juice machine. The product was an unlikely decide for high know-how traders, however they had been drawn to the thought of an internet-connected machine that transforms single-serving packets of chopped vegatables and fruits right into a refreshing and wholesome beverage.
That paragraph ought to inform you the whole lot it is advisable to learn about whether or not Silicon Valley’s claims to meritocracy are legitimate. Extraordinarily wealthy individuals driving automobiles with house-sized worth tags thought a $700 juicer (it’s since come right down to $400) with DRM and Web connectivity deserved $70 million in funding final 12 months.
Juicero’s former CEO and present chairman of the board, Doug Evans, isn’t any stranger to grandiose claims. Final 12 months, in an extensive interview with Recode’s Kara Swisher, he in contrast his work on cold-pressed juicers with Steve Jobs’ position in launching the PC market. Right here’s Evans on the contents of a Juicero press:
There are 400 customized components in right here. There’s two motors, there’s 10 printed circuit boards, there’s a scanner, there’s a microprocessor, there’s a wi-fi chip, wi-fi antenna. There’s 775 aircraft-grade aluminum. There’s a gear field. There’s latches that assist 16,000 kilos of drive. So that is mainly a monster of a machine inside this veil of this good aesthetic.
Acquired that? Monster machine. Closely custom-made. And completely required to get all of the vitamin out of your juice sack. In accordance with Evans, the necessary Wi-Fi-enforced DRM (the machine received’t press an “expired” juice pack) is required to take care of dietary content material and transparency, versus being a enterprise resolution that helps Juicero promote juice.
The one drawback is, it’s fully unfaithful. Exams — by which we imply “Folks squeezing Juicero packs with their naked palms” — yield an equivalent quantity of juice. Not solely does it style the identical, it will probably even be quicker to squeeze by hand than to make use of your $400 to $700 paperweight to press it for you. Exams point out that the Mark I Hand can squeeze 7.5 ounces of juice in 90 seconds, in contrast with eight ounces in two minutes for the $400 Juicero.
In accordance with Evans, he constructed 12 prototypes over three years, all within the title of making a countertop equipment that might squeeze juice in addition to your individual two palms, with the additional advantage of refusing to squeeze juice that had “expired.” That exact little bit of DRM was a daring transfer for Juicero, given how properly it labored for Keurig.
A number of traders have now complained they weren’t knowledgeable the juice might be squeezed by hand, that the machine prototypes turned out bigger than Evans had promised, and that they wouldn’t have met with him in the event that they’d recognized he was “hawking baggage of juice that didn’t require high-priced .” On the identical time, nevertheless, all of this appears greater than a bit of ridiculous. In case you’re contemplating investing tens of millions of right into a undertaking, wouldn’t it make sense to really look at the and consider its efficiency for your self, together with whether or not the contents might be hand-squeezed from the bag? Evidently not.
In order for you juice, drink juice. In order for you extra fiber in your fruit, eat a chunk of fruit. Don’t purchase a large paperweight that claims innovation within the cutting-edge artwork of bagjuice squeezing.