How did this journey begin?
I've been an entrepreneur my whole life. One of the last roles I had was as an executive at a company that built the first holographic computer. It was an unbelievable experience. Shortly before it was acquired however, I had a bad accident. I cracked my head open and nearly died. I was on medical leave for a year. For the first three months, I couldn't use a computer, read, clean, or even talk on the phone or watch TV. It was terrible. I thought every day was going to be my last.
My girlfriend at the time, Katherine - now my wife - took good care of me, and she's one of the founding members of BlendJet. We'd make smoothies to help nourish my body during recovery, and all I cared about was getting better, nothing else mattered. Money doesn't matter at all if you think you're going to die. All you care about is the people around you, while you try and enjoy the time you have. It puts things into perspective, and it really motivated me to do something that could help people live longer, richer lives, through better health.
During this time, I reconnected with my old friend John, who's our co-founder and CFO, and we thought about what we could do together. We know that being healthy isn't really all about going to the gym. A huge part of it is what you eat, and the majority of people don't eat things that set them up for a healthy body.
John was telling me how he hated the taste of protein powder, and how much money he was spending every day on fresh smoothies to mix it with. That gave us our eureka moment - we knew we needed to make a portable blender to solve our problems, and help people make healthier choices.
How did it kick off?
We wanted our blender to be portable, rechargeable, easy to clean, and powerful enough to crush ice. We consulted 75 different manufacturers and narrowed it down to 20 prototypes. That was in 2017. The next thing you know, it’s June 2018, we get our first shipment of 7,000 units. We shot a video of the BlendJet with my wife, posted it to Facebook, and sold out within three weeks. By the end of 2018, we had 100,000 customers in 100 different countries. Last year, we launched on QVC, where we were selling about 10 BlendJets a second.
People always come up to us when we use it in public - it's better than a cute dog for meeting people! They're astonished when they see it, it's a real crowd-puller whenever someone uses one. The word is spreading too - in the last 12 months we've reached over a billion people through Instagram and Facebook with our videos. That's one is seven people in the entire world that have been exposed to BlendJet. I get messages from random people too, showing pictures of new recipes they've created and things they've blended. It's amazing.
Why do you think it's so successful?
I actually don't think that most people are buying it to be healthy. Health is a benefit, sure, but I think the number one reason that people buy BlendJet is for its convenience. We're all genetically programmed to take the path of least resistance with everything we do in our lives - that's just human nature. It's encoded in all of us. And what we've invented is a way to create tasty fresh, healthy drinks, wherever you are.
What does the future hold for BlendJet?
I think we've created more than a product. We've created a brand. We've created a movement, the start of a personal blending revolution. It's similar to personal computers. They used to take up entire rooms, then they were on your desks, and now they're in your pocket. They all carry out the same computational tasks, but the way we use them has changed.
I think what we're doing for blending is the same - we're liberating the blender from the kitchen. Traditionally a blender lived in the kitchen because you needed the power cord, and it's closer to where you keep your food. But by cutting the cord and making it portable, it becomes a product you actually want to carry around. It's a game changer, and it's altering people's eating habits. People buy a BlendJet on impulse, but then it becomes part of the fabric of their daily routine. We've got a million users across 195 countries speaking over 20 languages. It's a global movement.
We're constantly thinking about how we can continue to improve. That's the drive that created JetPack - ready to blend smoothie packs made with the freshest freeze-dried fruit. The flavour, the colour and the mouthfeel tastes amazingly rich, and we're coming out with more flavours this year too.
Like the iPhone, we're going to refine BlendJet to continually improve it and make it better. We're committed to pushing the envelope. In the future, there'll be no such thing as a kitchen blender. We're striving to make it obsolete. At some point we'll offer a portable blender that's just as powerful, and the corded kitchen blender will become a foreign concept, similar to house phones.