Home / Technology / Theranos and Juicero died, but Dead Startup Toys keeps the vision alive

Theranos and Juicero died, but Dead Startup Toys keeps the vision alive



Therano's Minilab toy

A living proof of failure and fraud.

Dead start-up toys

A world of technology is filled with big dreams, as well as big mistakes, and sometimes big lies. It is now a site that sells limited edition toy versions of products made by iconic failed startups, including Theranos, Juicero and Jibo. The toys are without a doubt as useful ̵

1; or perhaps more so – than the real products that inspired them.

Such a toy is designed after Theranos MiniLab created by “a multi-billion dollar medical startup based on false test results and blatantly misleading malpractice”, writes the website Dead Startup Toys, which comes from MSCHF, a Brooklyn-based startup that has created other viral products . In 2018 it was The US Securities and Exchange Commission charged Theranos, its founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes and former President Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani with fraud in relation to false promises surrounding the company’s portable blood analyzer.

The Theranos saga was gripping. While Theranos, Holmes and Balwani had told investors that their portable blood analyzer could conduct extensive blood tests from blood droplets, the SEC said the analyzer could only complete a small number of tests and that the company “performed the vast majority of patient tests on modified and industry-standard commercial analyzers produced by others. “A few months after Holmes resigned as CEO, the company closed. Now the product has been immortalized as a toy that can probably analyze blood as well as the real thing could.

Unfortunately, the toy version of Therano’s MiniLab has already sold out, but you can still get models of other infamous products, such as Juicero, “an IoT juicer ultimately better than literally squeezing vegetables with bare hands,” writes Dead Startup Toys. The company behind $ 400 Wi-Fi connected juicer closed in 2017 after people realized that it did not really serve a purpose. The toy version of the dead gadget is priced at $ 40 (£ 29, AU $ 53).

In addition to Dead Startup Toys, MSCHF has provided us with products such as Alexagate, a hood that fits over the Alexa Echo and uses pulsating ultrasound to stop the microphone to protect your privacy. This is the company’s 50th “drop”, or rollout. As the MSCHF puts it, “Every drop is different and we never do the same thing twice.”

MSCHF did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

jibo-product-pictures-5

Jibo died before it could be your friend.

Tyler Lizenby / CNET

Among its other games based on failed boot products is a Jibo, modeled after the “social robot” with “all character and no function”, as Dead Startup Toys put it. CNET’s 2017 review states: “Jibo wants to be your friend and nothing more,” and “his sweet personality feels determined to distract you from his otherwise basic skills.” The the robot met its death in 2019, but some lucky customers managed to catch a toy version of Jibo on Dead Startup Toys before it sold out. It’s not clear how much they paid for their new, just-useless-as-the-original-friend, but hopefully much less than the $ 900 price of the real product.

Other products include a $ 40 mini laptop that represents the flaw that was One laptop per child project and a toy Coolest Cooler, “an overly special combination cooler / speaker / blender that failed to deliver so thoroughly that it was investigated as a scam,” writes Dead Startup Toys. That toy is also sold out, so you need to find a new home for mini-blender and ketchup packages.

Big fans of failure can also choose Dead Startup Toys’ Collector’s Bundle, which is “the whole venture capitalist of mid-2010 in a box.” You can get models of all five useless products for $ 160 (£ 115, AU $ 214), to serve as a heartwarming reminder that not all ideas are worth pursuing. Priceless.


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