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The Rise and Fall of Juicero: A Cautionary Tale for Tech Startups

Juicero, a company that marketed a pricey juicing machine and pre-packaged pouches, was once the darling of Silicon Valley. The high-tech startup promised freshly squeezed juice at the touch of a button, but its downfall was almost as swift as its meteoric rise to fame.

What went wrong? In this article, we’ll take a closer look at Juicero, its founder and backstory, its products, and the reasons for its ultimate failure.

Juicero and its products

Juicero was founded in 2013 by Doug Evans, a graphic designer and former CEO of Organic Avenue, a vegan juice company. Evans was no stranger to the world of juicing and healthy living, having followed a raw vegan diet himself for many years.

He envisioned a product that could make fresh, organic juice accessible to everyone, regardless of their location or access to a juicing machine. Enter the Juicero Press.

The product was a sleek, internet-connected juicing machine that required pre-packaged pouches of raw fruits and vegetables to operate. The pouches were pre-cut to fit the machine and contained a QR code that could be scanned by the Juicero app to verify the freshness and nutritional content of the contents.

The Juicero Press was an engineering marvel. It used 4,000 pounds of force to cold-press the juice, which was said to be more nutritious than traditional juicing methods.

The machine cost $699, and the pouches, which could only be purchased through Juicero’s subscription service, cost an additional $5-8 each. Initially, the company had a lot of hype surrounding its launch.

The company’s backers and investors included big names like Kleiner Perkins and Artis Ventures, who had invested more than $100 million into the company. The initial reviews for the product were positive, and the company was featured in high-profile publications like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Fast Company.

Reasons for failure

Despite the initial hype, Juicero’s downfall was swift. There were several reasons for the company’s ultimate failure.

Unattractive pricing model

The biggest problem with Juicero’s business model was its pricing. The company’s products were expensive, and the subscription service required customers to purchase juice pouches on a regular basis.

Customers quickly realized that they could buy similar juices at lower prices from their local juice bars or grocery stores.

Over-engineered product

Another issue with Juicero was the over-engineering of the product. The machine was simply too complicated and expensive to manufacture, limiting its potential reach and profitability.

This was made worse by the fact that the pouches could be squeezed by hand just as easily as with the machine, making the Juicero Press more of a novelty item than a necessity.

Bad press

Juicero also suffered from negative press. In 2017, a Bloomberg report found that the contents of the pouches could be squeezed by hand, rendering the expensive machine unnecessary.

This led to a public relations nightmare for the company, and it was widely mocked for its folly.


Finally, Juicero experienced turmoil in its executive ranks. In 2017, CEO Jeff Dunn left the company, and Evans stepped down as chairman not long after.

The company struggled to raise further funding and eventually shut down operations in September of that year.

In conclusion

Juicero was a high-tech juicing startup that promised to revolutionize the way we make and consume fresh juice. However, its pricing model, over-engineered product, bad press, and internal turmoil combined to make it a cautionary tale for startups everywhere.

The Juicero Press may have been an engineering marvel, but in the end, it was a product that simply didn’t make sense for most consumers. Juicero was once a sleek and sophisticated brand, but it ultimately failed to live up to its potential.

Despite significant investment from venture capitalists and the backing of high-profile names in the tech industry, the company was unable to turn its high-tech press and pre-packaged pouches into a sustainable business. Let’s explore why Juicero failed.

Leadership changes

In 2015, Jeff Dunn took over as CEO of Juicero, succeeding founder Doug Evans, who remained on as chairman of the board. Dunn had a background in sales, marketing, and leadership, having previously served as president of Coca-Cola North America.

However, despite his impressive resume, Dunn was unable to turn around Juicero’s fortunes. He left the company in 2017, shortly before its closure.

Expansion efforts

One of the key factors that led to Juicero’s downfall was its inability to expand its ecosystem beyond its initial market of California. The company faced significant challenges with producing and distributing its pouches economically, which made it difficult to expand beyond a small number of states.

Additionally, the subscription model that required customers to purchase regular deliveries of pre-packaged pouches proved to be unattractive to many.

Bad press and customer backlash

In 2017, Bloomberg published an article that highlighted that the Juicero Press was essentially unnecessary. A reporter was able to extract nearly the same amount of juice from the pouches by squeezing them with their bare hands as the machine could.

This revelation was a public relations nightmare for Juicero and led to significant backlash from customers who felt ripped off by the product’s high price.

Financial struggles

Juicero was a company that faced significant financial struggles from its inception. Its high-tech press was over-engineered, making it expensive to produce and distribute, which in turn limited its appeal to customers.

Additionally, the company’s operating expenses were high, which made it difficult to generate meaningful profits. Despite raising over $100 million in venture capital, the company was only able to stay in business for a few years before shutting down.

Turmoil within the company

Juicero experienced significant turmoil within its leadership ranks. Founder Doug Evans was widely regarded as a creative visionary but was criticized for his poor operational skills.

The company experienced several rounds of layoffs, indicating that it was struggling to keep its head above water.

Leadership changes and conflicting priorities also played a role in the company’s inability to establish a sustainable business model.


Juicero officially suspended its sales in September 2017, and it was announced that the company would be seeking an acquirer. This search was ultimately unsuccessful, and Juicero was forced to sell off its assets in a last-ditch effort to recoup some of investors’ money.

Founder’s post-Juicero endeavors

Doug Evans has remained active in the world of health and wellness since Juicero’s collapse. He has started multiple organic businesses and has advocated for the consumption of “raw water” as part of a healthy lifestyle.

Evans has also become involved in sprout farming and has taken part in the Burning Man festival as a way to showcase his latest health and wellness ideas. Why did Juicero fail?

Ultimately, Juicero failed because of a combination of factors. The company had an unattractive pricing model, an over-engineered product, bad press, poor harvest, and distribution control, and leadership struggles.

Additionally, the company was unable to secure enough funding to keep it afloat in the long term. Its story serves as a cautionary tale for would-be tech startups, demonstrating that even the most sophisticated product and marketing strategy cannot guarantee success.

In summary, Juicero was a high-tech startup that promised freshly squeezed juice at the touch of a button. However, its products were expensive, over-engineered, and faced significant backlash in the press.

The company suffered from poor leadership, financial struggles, and ultimately suspended its sales and failed to attract an acquirer. The story of Juicero is a cautionary tale of the importance of a sound business model, effective leadership, and the consequences of failing to meet customer demands.

It highlights the need for companies to constantly evaluate their strategies and pivot as needed to stay relevant and competitive, particularly in the ever-evolving world of tech startups.

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