“I have a belief, still to this day, that everything you put in your mouth is a life or death decision.”
When I was a kid, I loved The Jetsons. I was convinced that by 2000 life would be all jetpacks, flying cars, sky trams and robot housekeepers.
My timeline was overly optimistic, but we’re nonetheless surrounded by evidence of this inevitability. From the advent of virtual reality to self-driving cars, drone delivery and beyond, even Elon Musk’s idea of colonizing Mars now seems plausible.
This week ushered in the future of kitchen appliances. Meet Juicero– a complete re-imagination of cold press juice for the home and office that even George Jetson would envy. I know it sounds weird. It’s hard to explain. So I’m not going to try. Watch this cool video instead:
Juicero is the brainchild of my friend Doug Evans. An idea so big it captured the hearts and minds of Silicon Valley, attracting $120 million in financing from technology’s most high-powered VC’s, including Kleiner Perkins and Google Ventures.
I started hearing rumors about Doug and Juicero about a year ago. Then last month, Doug invited me to visit his 100,000 square foot Los Angeles distribution center. I was excited to finally see what all the fuss was about. But in all honesty, I was skeptical.
$120 million for a new-fangled juice machine?
I don’t get it.
He gave me a tour. I met the team and tested the goods. Not only was it the best juice I had ever tasted, I realized there is much more going on at Juicero than meets the eye.
A marvel of advanced technology, the future-forward wifi-enabled Juicero exerts 8,000 pounds of pressure to cold-press the freshest juice possible from QR-coded organic produce packs (soon to be 100% compostable) that contain detailed information on nutrition, the farm of origin and the date of harvest (never to exceed 5 days).
None of the nutrient degrading pasteurization mandatory in all store bought juice. No more old or non-organic produce typical of most juice bars. And of course, zero home cleanup.
The space-age functionality and highly complex machinery are housed in cutting edge design courtesy of legendary product designer Yves Béhar that expertly merges aesthetics with simplicity and user friendliness. Comparisons to Apple are inevitable. And rumor has it even Jony Ive had a behind-the-scenes hand in guiding Juicero’s product design.
But the gadget is just part of the story.
Perhaps more fascinating is the personal journey of Juicero’s steward, a most unlikely entrepreneur. A graffiti artist reared on the streets of New York City, Doug Evans traded the classroom for tagging subway trains and hanging out in clubs with the likes of Basquait, Warhol and Haring before finding his calling as a graphic artist under the mentorship of the great Paul Rand.
A confluence of tragic events around Doug’s 30th birthday would permanently alter the trajectory of his life and career. In 1994, his mother died of cancer. Shortly thereafter, his father died of heart disease. Meanwhile, Doug’s brother developed type 2 diabetes, atrial fibrillation, hypertension, and had the first of two strokes.
Terrified by the prospect that he was genetically pre-disposed to early mortality, Doug turned to the raw vegan lifestyle, igniting a passion for the connection between lifestyle and health that boils down to one simple, yet powerful edict:
fruits and vegetables save lives.
That epiphany ignited an entrepreneurial spark that birthed Organic Avenue in the early 2000’s, New York’s first chain of organic cold-press juice shops. Doug provided the financing. Founder Denise Mari provided the juice.
I’ve been friends with Doug for many years. A yogi and minimalist in his personal life, he lives in accordance with the principles of ahimsa, or no harm. He is utterly indefatigable. Maniacal about quality. And always focused on service.
To me, Juicero is but a natural next step beyond Organic Avenue. An external manifestation of Doug’s dogged determination to continuously break conventional wisdom paradigms and persistently innovative new ways to promote maximum health and wellness through optimum nutrition.
Last week I visited Doug in San Francisco at Juicero HQ. It was the day before product launch. Three years of cloak and dagger stealth mode was about to end. The world was on the precipice of finally meeting Juicero. Anticipation was running high. The excitement amongst the team was palpable and infectious. I felt privileged to be there, and grateful that Doug took time out on such an auspicious day to share his story with me.
Today I share that story with you.
I sincerely hope you enjoy the exchange.
Peace + Plants,
NOTE: I realize there is some online grousing about Juicero’s pricing ($699 for the unit, plus $4-$10 per produce pouch). I get it. At the moment, it’s an aspirational product for most. But I liken it to Tesla — don’t forget that Elon’s first offering was a supercar in a Lotus body. A car then out of reach for even most of the 1%. Then last week brought the unveiling of Tesla’s $35K Model 3 — a car I have no doubt will forever alter the auto industry landscape. So if you are one of the grousers, I suggest you give Juicero the benefit of the doubt. Doug is a remarkable guy and there is something truly special about this company and his team I have no doubt will ultimately impact mainstream culture in a positive and profound way. I’m a fan and I can’t wait to see where Doug takes it.
Thanks to this week’s sponsors:
Harrys.com: A superior shave at an affordable price. Type in my coupon code “ROLL” at purchase for $5 off your starter set and get an entire month’s worth of shaving for just $10 when you visit Harrys.com.
Connect With Doug: Twitter
Background, Context & Reference:
- NYTimes: A $700 Juice Box for the Kitchen That Caught Silicon Valley’s Eye
- Medium: Journey To Juicero by Doug Evans
- TechCrunch: Investors Pour $70 Million Into Juicero
- BusInsider: A startup quietly raised a boatload of cash to make a $700 ‘Keurig for juice’ with help from Silicon Valley geniuses like Jony Ive
- BusinessWire: Juicero Introduces First Countertop Cold-Press Juicing System
- Fortune: This Man Just Raised $120 Million For A Fancy Home Juicer
- VanityFair: The Latest In Silicon Valley Innovation: A $700 Juicer
- Vogue: Introducing the Completely Mess-Proof Juicer That Will Change Your Life
- Racked: A $100 Million Juice Startup Launches Today
- GeekWire: The $120M Juice Everyone’s Dying To Fund In Silicon Valley
- TakePart: Juicero Is The Future Of Juice — And The Biggest Tech Startup You’ve Never Heard Of
- Popsugar: This ‘Keurig Of Juicing’ Could Totally Change Your Life
- Morningstar: Juicero Introduces First Countertop Cold-Press Juicing System
- LivingMaxwell: Juicero Emerges from Stealth Mode, Will Completely Disrupt the Home Juicing Industry
- NutritionalOutlook: 2015 Was Record Year for Health and Wellness Investment Deals
- UnderConsideration: Paul Rand’s Final Logo
- Book: Nature’s First Law: The Raw-Food Diet* by Stephen Arlin & David Wolfe
Notable People/Companies Discussed:
- Matt Rogers: co-founder of Nest
- Leanne Mai-ly Hilgart: CEO/creative dir. of vegan apparel VAUTE
- Denise Mari: founder/CEO Organic Avenue
- Alicia Silverstone: actress, producer, author & activist
- Jeffrey Dunn: President of the Packaged Fresh div. at Campbell Soup Co.
- John Joseph: punk rock signer with the Cro-Mags
- Keith Haring: artist and social activist
- Jean-Michel Basquiat: American artist
- Andy Warhol: pop artist
- Fab Five Freddy: visual artist, filmmaker, rapper & hip hop pioneer
- Crazy Legs: b-boy from the Bronx
- Paul Rand: art director and graphic designer best known for corporate logo designs
- Beyond Meat: Los Angeles-based producer of plant-based meat substitutes
- Hampton Creek: food technology company focused on finding new ways of utilizing plants in food products
Related Podcasts You Might Enjoy:
- RRP #077: Dr. Michael Klaper On Leveraging Plant-based Nutrition To Treat, Prevent & Reverse Disease
- RRP #101: Brendan Brazier – The Story of A Most Unlikely Entrepreneurial Success
- RRP #136: Ethan Brown On Reinventing How To Feed The World
- RRP #156: Fully Raw Kristina On How Eating Raw Repaired My Health And Gave My Life Purpose
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