Smoothies are making a comeback – but if you want that Instagram worthy smoothie, your old blender is not going to cut it. Luckily, there’s the new smart blender from Blix. Removing the mess and preparation of antiquated smoothie making methods, just pop a premade Blix cup into your Blix and your healthy and nutritious smoothie is ready to take down in seconds. The company is looking to bringing convenience layered through a sophisticated piece of machinery in much the same way that Keurig disrupted coffee makers, while showcasing a wide variety of fresh flavors all made from natural ingredients.
AlleyWatch chatted with Edouard and Ariel Sterngold about the company, its future plans, and the growing frozen food market.
Tell us about Blix
Blix is an intelligent blending platform that uses revolutionary technology to blend a freshly made smoothie, soup or spread and more — in less than a minute. We see it as a “farm to cup” revolution, starting with sourcing delicious fruits, veggies and superfoods from the farmer and freezing at the peak of harvest, which locks in nutrients, vitamins, and eliminate the need for preservatives. All this is filled into our Smart Cups that work seamlessly with our stunning Xi machine, whose clean design is only matched by its no-clean technology.
How is Blix different?
We are creating a new food system to change the way people prepare food, empowering them to enjoy genuine real food without compromising on convenience. Because we ship all the food direct-to-consumer and all the blending is contained within the Smart Cups, there’s no need for any prep work or clean-up afterwards, which means people can have more time to focus on enjoying their lives.
We see a lot of opportunity in revolutionizing the kitchen appliance and frozen food delivery space. The global demand for blenders and juicers is expected to grow from $2.3B in 2015 to $3.3B in 2021 with North America dominating. In addition, the frozen food market is expected to grow from $275.8B in 2017to $311.9B in 2021. All this creates a lot of opportunity for Blix to revolutionize the way people enjoy food in their homes and on-the-go.
What is the business model?
Customers first order a starter pack, which contains a Xi machine in their color of choice (currently black or white) + 6 free cups to enjoy. They then order a weekly subscription of cups from a variety of flavors ranging from Very Berry Smoothie to Butternut Squash Soup to Guacamole. Customers can easily modify the frequency of their deliveries by skipping certain weeks or placing orders on hold.
What inspired the business?
Inspiration for Blix came when we realized that while blenders are the 2nd largest kitchen appliance category, there has been no disruptive innovation for decades. Moreover, while the blender penetration rate in the US is 80% (100% for households with children), 1/5 report that they never use it, the largest percentage of non-use of any small kitchen appliance asked about in the survey. Thus the idea of a zero prep, zero clean-up blender that empowers consumers to enjoy the sips and snacks they love was born. We wanted to make the appliance as easy to use, with a large variety of products available, so that it can be an integral part of people’s lives, enjoyed multiple times throughout the day, and giving them back the time they would otherwise spend on less enjoyable things like prepping and cleaning.
How has your team’s experience with BEVYZ impacted the plan for Blix?
Through our experience with Bevyz and the current market climate, we learned the upside and downside of various ways and channels to sell to the consumer. Eventually this led us to land on the direct-to-consumer model for Blix, because we want the consumer feedback and continue evolving our offering with the consumers’ desires. We will sell through other outlets down the road, but we believe establishing this relationship right from the start is very important.
We also learned about challenges with a system that is not “plug and play”, so with Blix, we created a system that is as easy as possible for the consumer to use. All you need is to plug it in, and press one button.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
In the next six months, we are planning to expand nationwide, continue our R&D efforts to advance our technology extending versions based on new model platform, widening product categories and optimize our manufacturing and supply chain practices.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
I have observed that many of the founders I meet will come up with a good idea, see that there are no other similar players out there, and decide to start a company. One of the surprising things is that once they start, they don’t perform regular market research to see if someone else started something similar in the meantime. Finding out about a surprise competitor when it’s too late is an unpleasant surprise to say the least, so we regularly comb the marketplace for similar business models or ideas and learn as much about them as possible. You always need to know the field you are playing in.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
Daniel Boulud – We would love to partner with a chef who brings contemporary innovation to the classic way of cooking. We can see this partnership applied to a series of cutting edge Blix recipe creations.
Why did you launch in New York?
We launched in NYC because it is a trailblazer in food innovation. We not only spoke with consumers who revealed their pain points with blenders, we also experienced the long lines at smoothie bars in the city and we believed we could offer a more accessible, convenient and fresher alternative.
Where is your favorite bar in the city for an after work drink?
Apotheke is one of our favorite places because we appreciate innovation and taste, and their cocktails never fail to disappoint on both fronts.