The Maker of the Infamous $400 Juicer Is Shutting Down
Juicero has run out of juice.
The San Francisco-based maker of counter-top cold-press juicers said today that it is shutting down operations and suspending the sale of its presses and produce packs immediately.
The announcement on the company’s website comes after the startup said in July that it was undergoing a “strategic shift” to more quickly lower the cost of its $399 juicers and $5-7 juice packs filled with raw fruits and vegetables. As part of the shift, the company said then that it would lay off about a quarter of its staff.
At the time, Juicero CEO Jeff Dunn wrote in a letter to employees obtained by Fortune that the current prices were “not a realistic way for us to fulfill our mission at the scale to which we aspire.”
But Juicero realized it couldn’t bring down the cost of its products as a standalone company. It was too small to achieve the required economies of scale on its own. The company will now focus on finding a buyer, it wrote in Friday’s blog post.
A source familiar with the situation said employees are being given 60 days notice and that the company is notifying all customers via email that they can request a refund for the machine for up 90 days.
Before today’s news, Juicero had said it would focus on building a second generation machine that would cost in the $200 range—versus its initial launch price 16 months ago of $699.
Juicero fell under heightened scrutiny after a Bloomberg article in April reported on how consumers could use their hands to squeeze the juice packs without the aid of the Juicero machine.
As Fortune reported earlier this month, Dunn addressed the Bloomberg hand-squeezing issue in a Medium post and again in the letter to employees obtained by Fortune, in which he wrote that “it was frustrating to read that something we always knew about, and that our customers simply aren’t interested in doing, was somehow new and relevant.”
The hand-squeezing dustup inflamed some of the criticism Juicero has gotten since bringing its juicer to market. “Some held up the countertop appliance as a symbol of all that was wrong with Silicon Valley: a $699 connected device that solved a problem most people didn’t even have the luxury of affording—how to get fresh juice on demand at home,” Fortune wrote in January.
The Bloomberg article described Juicero as “one of the most lavishly funded gadget startups in Silicon Valley” and founder Doug Evans once said he planned to do for juicing what Steve Jobs did for computers.