Sure, your office has a ping-pong table, a kegerator and a wall of snacks… but does it have its own smoothie machine? If not, UGo smoothies would like to sell you one.
UGo makes a self-cleaning countertop smoothie machine targeting offices, gyms and universities. UGo is taking a Keurig-type approach by providing both the blender and cups full of pre-assembled fruit that go into the machine. It can even provide the freezer to keep those fruit cups frosty before you blend them.
Each machine takes up 1.5 sq. feet of counter space and is two feet high. It can be plumbed directly into a water line to provide the water for smoothies and to remove the wastewater after the machine cleans itself.
UGo has partnered with food distributors and commercial kitchens to do fruit cup prep and fulfillment. Morgan Abraham, Co-Founder of UGo told me that while the company has limited its trials to Boston and Montreal, it has the distribution networks in place to scale nationally as it goes to market.
The UGo blending machine can be leased for $250 a month and each 16 oz. smoothie cup costs $3.00. Though the company offers six different fruit cup recipes, typically, customers only carry three, Abraham said.
The company, which is co-based in both Boston and Montreal, was founded in 2015 and has run a number of pilot programs already with the University of Montreal, Frank and Oak and Lulu Lemon stores in Montreal. UGo is bootstrapped and has won some grants from the Canadian government. Abraham is its only employee with four other contractors working on the technology.
If the idea of a “Keurig for smoothies” sounds familiar, it should. Bay Area-based Replenish has been providing fruit cups and self-cleaning blending machines for offices since 2016. That company raised $6.9 million since its founding in 2013 and counts Uber, Amazon and Microsoft as clients. Though it looks as though Replenish has been quiet as of late with no new corporate blog or Twitter posts for two years, and just a handful of product photos posted to Facebook this year.
Smoothies are a hot category for automation, however. Over in Belgium, Alberts has launched its automated smoothie blending vending machine. And here in the U.S., 6D Bytes has the Blendid robot smoothie maker. (Though that robotic arm probably doesn’t play ping-pong.)