(Bloomberg) -- Jony Ive, the legendary Apple Inc. veteran who helped design the iPhone and iPad, is turning his attention to a different kind of device: a mobile blender for fruit smoothies.
The executive, who left Apple in 2019 to focus on his own design studio, is investing in a startup called Cruz that makes the $129 BlenderCap. The battery-powered gadget screws on to the top of standard-size sport bottles — like the Hydro Flask — and turns them into portable blenders.
The startup was launched earlier this year by former Apple employees Matthew Moore and Dakota Adams and uses colors, materials and packaging reminiscent of their old company. The pair both held roles on Apple’s manufacturing design team, which works on device enclosures, components and production tools.
The market for blenders and juicers is a crowded one, and some earlier attempts at innovation flopped with consumers. A startup called Juicero that sold a $699 fruit press famously flamed out in 2017. But Cruz sees the BlenderCap as a new product category and is developing a collection of other devices.
The idea is to stand out with higher-quality products and an aesthetic honed at Apple, Moore said. Many blender products won’t last and “will end up in a landfill,” he said.
“We are trying to make products in the spirit of Apple,” Moore said.
Terms of Ive’s investment — and the startup’s valuation — weren’t disclosed. In addition to Ive, former Apple Vice President of Manufacturing Design Nick Forlenza is investing in the device. He left the iPhone maker in 2020. Devin Wenig, who served as eBay Inc. chief executive officer until 2019, is another backer.
Ive, who isn’t involved in the design of the product, said the co-founders have “extraordinary supply chain expertise and depth of knowledge of about industry practices and processes.” That’s “extremely rare and incredibly valuable,” he said.
He called their work “deeply caring, gentle and tenacious and rigorous when working through difficult problems.”
Cruz’s products are based on what Moore called a “cell to system battery” module, proprietary technology that can fit more power into a small space. The BlenderCap can process at least seven 30-ounce bottles per charge. Like the latest iPhone, it uses USB-C for recharging.
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