The company with a Wi-Fi enabled juicer on Friday said it was shutting down operations — joining the hordes of other Silicon Valley startups that could not deliver business results to match the hype.
MONTEREY, Calif. — From the moment it started, Juicero stood out as a symbol of Silicon Valley’s insular excess.
The company sold a $700 Wi-Fi-enabled juicer, trying to solve a problem that did not exist. It also raised some $120 million and attracted a mountain of attention.
But Friday, the company said it was shutting down operations — joining the hordes of other Silicon Valley startups that could not deliver business results to match the hype.
Started by a health fanatic with a checkered history as an entrepreneur, Juicero devised an elaborate scheme to deliver small glasses of expensive cold pressed juice to kitchens around the country. The machine scanned codes printed on pouches of chopped produce to help assess the freshness of the contents inside. Doug Evans, the founder, hired engineers, food scientists and fashionable industrial designers to work alongside him.
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The company was a particularly bold bid to capitalize on the hype around the so-called internet of things and interest in the juice business. Evans believed there was a legion of customers who, once they tasted his juice, would find it superior to the many varieties that can be bought at convenience stores, juice bars or even Walmart.
Top venture capital firms including Google’s venture capital spinoff and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, as well as big companies like Campbell Soup, invested heavily in the company.
“Organic cold-pressed juice is rainwater filtered through the soil and the roots and the stems and the plants,” Evans told The New York Times last year. “You extract the water molecules, the chlorophyll, the anthocyanin and the flavonoids and the micronutrients. You’re getting this living nutrition. It’s like drinking the nectar of the earth.”
But from the start, there were signs that Juicero would struggle to succeed. The company slashed the price of its press after a few months. Plans for nationwide distribution were slow to materialize.
In October, Evans stepped down as chief executive and was replaced by Jeff Dunn, an experienced natural food executive. In April, Bloomberg published an article and video demonstrating that Juicero’s expensive and highly…