The company had raised $100M+ from top investors like Kleiner Perkins, Thrive Capital, and Google Ventures, among others, and had a valuation of several hundred million dollars.
For those unfamiliar, Juicero was a connected (aka IoT) $699 juice press with DRM capabilities (can’t make this stuff up). Bloomberg’s Ellen Huet and Olivia Zaleski eventually revealed that the juice bags used with the Juicero could be squeezed by hand, which sort of makes the idea of a press less useful.
But that’s neither here nor there.
After the company’s demise, Kevin Roose of The New York Times posted this tweet showing the company’s founder at Burning Man.
Kevin’s tweet led to some pushback from folks who said this type of criticism is unfair and the founder should be allowed to move on after trying valiantly, but ultimately failing.
This reminds me of a discussion on whether VCs should criticize startups between Phin Barnes of First Round Capital and Erin Griffith of Wired. At the time, we’d polled you all and you overwhelmingly said criticism is fair.
So when is it actually fair to criticize a startup or its founder or its investors?
In these cases, it is best to adhere to what I’ll call the Jobs Rule, which is:
If the startup’s founders, execs or investors draw comparisons to Steve Jobs before it’s clear they have an actual working business, you are allowed to be especially critical of the startup when it fails.
Did Juicero violate the Jobs Rule? Yup.
Benz goes vroom vroom
We updated our analysis of Daimler’s startup and accelerator activity since 2014. Daimler has continued investing in various mobility models, showing a willingness to participate in larger financings to companies like Careem ($150M), Via ($250M total), and Turo ($92M).
You’re not seeing the vision
Juicero wasn’t a smoothie maker. It was an f’n platform.