Juicero.com, a food tech startup that makes Internet-connected kitchen appliances, raised $70 million in Series B funding in a round led by Artis Ventures.
Juicero’s flagship product is a $699 countertop device that cold presses juice out of “packs” of already prepped fruit and veggies. The packs — reminiscent of the cups and pouches used in single-cup coffee brewers from Keurig, Flavia or Nespresso — cost $4 to $10 each and are available through a Juicero subscription, but not in groceries. Not yet anyway. The Juicero is selling in California only.
Companies are increasingly building hardware with the aim of generating recurring sales through it, from Amazon Echo, to the Samsung Family Hub refrigerator or the smart feeders from Petnet.io.
Juicero’s packs include a QR code, which allows the company to track data about how much juice someone is making and which recipes they favor. The company’s app will suggest different recipes to try, or really pouches to buy, to round out a customer’s nutrition.
The idea is to get people to drink their fruit- and vegetable-based nutrients and reduce the amount of junk foods that they buy and eat, while also making it easy to cold-press juice at home or possibly the office.
Founded by Organic Avenue co-founder Doug Evans, Juicero also promises to use produce that’s organic and skip the processing required by even the most eco-conscious, bottled juice or smoothie brands.
Other makers of high-end countertop juicers and blenders for home use, like Kuvings, Cuisinart or Vita-Mix Corp., aren’t offering these types of devices yet.
But such appliance makers have been touting the benefits of liquid lunches of a non-alcoholic variety for decades, despite the naturally high sugar content of juices. The latest trend in the U.S. juice market is toward premium and cold-pressed juices, according to reports from food industry tracker Euromonitor International.
Makers of bottled cold-pressed juices, such as Suja Life and Urban Remedy, have attracted venture capital in recent quarters, too. However, nutrition is complicated, and it’s not quite clear that standalone machines to make cold-pressed juices can deliver better health than bottled juices, or simply including a good amount of whole fruits and vegetables in a balanced diet.
Artis Ventures’ co-founder and Senior Partner Mike Harden said his firm led the Series B investment in Juicero largely because of the quality and design of its hardware. But he also believes Juicero could have a big impact on its customers’ health. Juicero’s inventory tracking data can also help organic farmers predict demand and plant accordingly, he said.
Alongside Artis Ventures, Juicero’s Series A and B investors included Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, GV (formerly Google Ventures), Thrive Capital, Campbell Soup Company, Two Sigma Ventures, DBL Partners, First Beverage Group, Acre Venture Partners and others.