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How a Startup that Makes $400 Juicers Played Itself in the Absolute Worst Way Possible

The company was gleefully dragged by the entire internet after the revelation.

The first question in the FAQ section of Juicero's website is "How do I make juice?" The answer is a five-step process, starting with "Take a pack from the Juicero carton in your refrigerator." The next three steps involve properly situating the pack in your $400 Juicero machine, hanging it on a small internal hook, and pressing the LED start button. But, as Bloomberg recently discovered, the real answer is "Step 1: Squeeze that pack with your own bare hands," no expensive juicer required.

Juicero has been the delight of Silicon Valley for the better part of a year, as backers excitedly threw more than $120 million into the startup. The company's founder, Doug Evans, was a longtime proponent of the organic, fresh-squeezed, cold-press lifestyle, having previously founded juice bar chain Organic Avenue. Evans then turned his attention to in-home juicing, developing Juicero, which he hoped would do for juice what the Keurig has done for coffee—albeit with a much higher price point. (Although Juicero currently retails for $400, its original price was an even loftier $699.)

A profile on the startup published in The New York Times late last month describes how "Mr. Evans began hiring software engineers, mechanical engineers, food scientists, and app developers" to perfect the machine. "It wasn't long before Mr. Evans realised he needed still more money. The innards of the machine were complex but manageable. It was the software, the production facility, the electrical testing and a thousand other things that necessitated a bigger staff." In other words, making the appliance was very expensive and very complicated.

"I worked on this for 33 months in stealth," Evans said last September on Recode's Too Embarrassed to Ask podcast. "With a hundred people working on this. And I look at this as one of the most significant things to impact human health on a global basis."

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