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March 30, 2016
Our Founder’s Perspective: The Journey to Juicero
I believe there are no chances in life—only choices. And the most powerful choice you can make is to commit every part of yourself to what you care about most—to go all the way with everything you do.
This is how I’ve lived my life. Bored with drawing on paper with pencils, I went for fame by painting graffiti on subway trains and hanging out with the likes of Warhol, Basquiat, Fab 5 Freddy, Haring. After slipping out of high school, I couldn’t fathom any more school, so I decided to join the US Army instead. I went all in and chose the 82nd Airborne. I went in wanting to be a general and to push my limits to the max. After the military, the closest legitimate vocation to graffiti was graphic design. But I didn’t just sign up for classes online. I tracked down legendary designer Paul Rand, showed up on his doorstep and worked closely with him for seven years without pay.
I was 30 years old and loving life when something stopped me in my tracks: Death. In 1994, my mother died of cancer and then my father died of heart disease. Shortly after, my brother developed type 2 diabetes, atrial fibrillation, hypertension, and had the first of two strokes. I was terrified and depressed. I was suddenly confronted with the idea that I was genetically predisposed to early mortality. Something seemed really off. Both of my parents died in the same hospital and we all ate the same, standard American diet.
My resolve to embrace a healthier lifestyle was a driving force for what came next. I met my future business partner Denise Mari while living in New York, and was introduced to her vegan lifestyle. I went cold cucumber and became raw vegan.
I threw myself into learning how I could alter my fate, and began researching the connection between lifestyle and health. What I thought would be complicated turned out to be so simple and obvious. For all the debate among nutrition scientists, I had one powerful realization: Fruits and vegetables save lives. I learned that people who eat fruits and vegetables daily have a reduced risk of chronic diseases. According to one study, eating seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day may significantly reduce the risks of cancer, heart disease, and death by any cause compared to those who eat less than one serving a day. Within two weeks, I’d gone from eating hamburgers and fries to eating an abundance of fresh, ripe, raw, organic fruits and vegetables, seeds, nuts and seaweed. I’ve been making the commitment to a raw vegan lifestyle for the past 17 years.
Denise also introduced me to the power of cold-pressed juice, and I had an epiphany: Cold-pressed juice not only tastes delicious, it is an easy and convenient way to help achieve optimal health and meet the recommended daily fruit and vegetable intake. Cold-pressed juice contains no added sugar or preservatives. It also does not use pasteurization or heat of any kind. Home juicers available today require arduous tasks of shopping, chopping, mixing, prep time and messy clean up: all for a single glass of juice! Not to mention the waste. I always bought too much produce and inevitably had to throw it out. I wanted to know how we could bring cold-pressed juice to more people more efficiently.
In the early 2000’s I took what little resources I had and poured them into funding Denise’s vision for Organic Avenue, which eventually became the first cold-pressed juice shop in New York City. The vision for that company was to do everything L.O.V.E. (live organic vegan experience) and plant-based—no additives or preservatives. Everything we created was fresh, ripe, raw, organic, and vegan.
In 2012, Organic Avenue was sold to financial investors, and my role was eliminated. Suddenly I no longer had access to cold-pressed juice on demand. I tried making juice at home, but I couldn’t find an easy solution. I searched everywhere for an at-home juicer that created easy, fresh, raw, cold-pressed juice, but nothing existed in the market. It kept me up at night.
I knew about the power of commercial cold-pressed juicers and I wanted that power and the juice that would come out of it. Was it possible to create a personal cold-press that would fit on my kitchen countertop that would be easy to clean? I knew in my core that it was possible and I was willing to do whatever it took to make it happen.
1,200 Days and 12 Prototypes
I arrived at that answer just over three years ago. I applied every lesson I have ever learned in art, business, raw food, health and design to come up with the vision for Juicero. It took us almost 1,200 days and 12 prototypes to get it just right, but with an incredible team and an extraordinary effort, we’ve developed a product that far exceeds even my grandest dreams. I am so excited to launch this labor of love, the first at home cold-pressed juicing system to the world.
Our patent pending Juicero Cold-Press Juicing System is an entirely new way to help people consume more fresh fruits and vegetables. With Juicero, you can enjoy fresh, cold-pressed juice at peak nutrition levels in minutes, with zero prep, and no messy clean up. This is made possible by the magic of Juicero’s “farm to glass” system: We start by partnering with organic farms, which harvest fresh produce and immediately deliver fresh fruits and vegetables to our state-of-the-art LEED Gold processing facility. We triple wash produce in a 35 degree Fahrenheit environment. We do the chopping, slicing, dicing, shredding and mixing of raw produce for you, and place the contents in breathable packs, which are then shipped to your doorstep within a few days. It’s the highest standard of freshness next to living on an organic farm yourself.
The secret is that we don’t sell juice. We only sell farm fresh, organic produce that meets USDA Organic standards—all washed, chopped and ready to press. The innovative design of the Juicero system was created so that the produce never touches the Press, and there is no cleaning required.
Place a Pack onto the Juicero Press, press a single button, and you have fresh cold-pressed juice in just over two minutes. The Press itself creates three to four tons of pressure—enough to lift two Teslas—and enough to squeeze out every drop of organic fresh kale, spinach, apples, and other fruits and vegetables into your glass. We also created a connected system with the Juicero App. The app gives you total visibility into the origins and freshness of the produce you’re drinking, and displays the nutritional benefits of each glass. The Juicero App also tracks your inventory, making it as simple as possible to know when to reorder new Packs for delivery.
Closing the Produce Gap
Today over 90% of Americans fail to consume the recommended servings per day. We call this the Produce Gap, and though there are many causes for it—from how food is marketed and subsidized to where it’s distributed—one of the primary reasons people don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables is that they see it as inconvenient. That’s one of the reasons why the 2015-2020 U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend that at least 50 percent of fruit and vegetable intake should come from whole produce, leaving the other 50 percent to come from innovative, nutrient-dense forms like 100 percent raw juices with no added sugars. And that’s what Juicero is all about. We’ve made it our mission to help people attain optimal health by making it easier for them to consume fresh raw foods in the most convenient way possible.
I’m grateful beyond belief to serve as leader of the Juicero team, who are brilliant experts across, engineering, business, design, technology, organic farming, food safety and nutrition. And thankful to all of the investors who believed in us and our vision.
We can’t wait for you to try Juicero. We think it’s the best juice ever, and hope you think so too.
Juice evangelist, plant-based nutrition advocate, CEO and founder of Juicero. Empowering people to live their best lives.