Juicero came under fire after Bloomberg showed that you don't need its $400 (previously $700) machine to squeeze juice out of its proprietary fruit and vegetable packets. All you need are your hands and a bit of force. But why is the company's WiFi-connected juicer so expensive anyway? Ben Einstein, a product designer and founder of venture capital firm Bolt, has taken a Juicero apart to figure out what's underneath its glossy white plastic exterior and found a machine of "unnecessary complexity."
Einstein, who examined every part of the juicer, says over 50 percent of its manufacturing costs came from painstakingly machined components. These are large custom parts made using expensive equipment that most startups avoid. If they have no choice, startups typically customize just one or two components: Juicero apparently has eight of them. They include a custom motor and power supply, which isn't commonly found in startups' products, because it requires additional certification.
Another aspect that added to its costs is its "beautifully engineered" plastic parts. Einstein says some of them were made using an expensive process called overmolding that molds two hard plastic parts together with a rubber-like polymer. Its various components also seem over-engineered -- it takes over 20 parts, for instance, just to keep its door closed.
"It's clear that cost savings was not anywhere near a top priority for Juicero when designing this product," Einstein concluded. "[If] it was," he added, "something went horribly wrong." Things might have been different if the company's target audiences are businesses and corporations. No matter how beautiful Juicero is, most consumers don't need complex machine that costs an arm and a leg just to make some juice, especially when they can use their hands to do what it does. As for those who already bought one and regret having done so, the company is thankfully offering a full refund until around May 20th.