For the past year and a half, a startup called Juicero has quietly been raising a boatload of cash.
It raised $US4 million in October 2013 and an additional $US15.8 million in April 2014, according to documents reviewed by Business Insider.
It’s raising another $US100 million round right now, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the deal. Investors include Kleiner Perkins, which housed the early-stage startup, and Campbell’s Soup. Google Ventures, Thrive Capital and Vast Ventures may also be involved.
The amounts being raised and the number of contributing investors, of course, are subject to change.
The company wouldn’t tell us how it works, but based on conversations with people, here’s what we’re told.
Juicero, sources say, is creating the freshest juice in the world with a contraption that’s sort of like a coffee Keurig. It will compete with the LivBlends juice machine. The fruit, hand-picked before you drink it, is shipped in a pouch. It’s like freshly pressed juice, sources who have tried it say, only better.
Rumour has it the CEO of Campbell’s tried the juice and ran back to cut a $US10 million check. A Campbell’s spokesperson declined to comment on the funding.
The big idea that investors are buying into is that Juicero will change the way fruits and vegetables are delivered. The fruit you buy in stores isn’t really all that fresh. It’s picked a week or two before the store receives it, and before you ever take a bite. Based on those we talked to, we believe Juicero could own its own farms, and pick the fruit fresh before delivering it to people.
The company is raising so much money because it’s not just creating a household product; it’s creating a whole agricultural arm to the business, which hints that the company plans to grow and supply the fresh produce around the world. The company has attracted the attention of major names in tech, including Bill Gates who is not an investor but is well aware of the company, says a source.
Doug Evans, a vegan, is the founder of Juicero. He was formerly CEO and chairman of a health-food chain that’s prevalent in New York, Organic Avenue, with Juicero’s advisor, Denise Mari.
In 2013, a major stake in Organic Avenue, 70%, was sold to an investment firm, Weld North, and Evans joined the company’s board of directors. Evans grew up in New York and served in the army.
Evans declined to comment for this story and noted that his startup is still under development but should be unveiled this year.