As smoking becomes an unpopular activity, the market for e-cigarettes has exploded. In recent times, however, e-cigarettes have become synonymous with JUUL, an e-cigarette that promises the same nicotine hit as conventional cigarettes without the accompanying harm. JUULing has become a popular activity in high school among teenagers. While the product’s popularity has soared, the company responsible for manufacturing it has maintained a relatively low profile. Here is a brief primer on JUUL.
JUUL, The Company
JUUL was spun out of PAX Labs, a San Francisco-based maker of vaporizers in 2017. Started in 2007 by James Monsees and Adam Bowen, PAX Labs itself was earlier called Ploom. Monsees and Bowen are both graduates of the design program at Stanford University. It has raised $106.1 million in four funding rounds from the likes of Fidelity Mgmt & Research Company, according to Crunchbase. According to this article, PAX recorded sales growth of 200% in the two years prior to 2015 and sold 500,000 of its vaporizers.
JUUL ,the product, was introduced in 2015 and uses a proprietary blend of nicotine developed by the JUUL team. According to Bowen, JUUL has a “bigger punch” as compared to other, similar products in the market owing to the fact that it contains 10 times as much nicotine as other e-cigarettes. He said the idea behind the blend was to eliminate the need for smokers to go back to cigarettes after an unsatisfying experience with vaping.
As sales for JUUL took off, PAX Labs separated the division and incorporated it as a separate company for the products. Tyler Goldman, who was CEO of PAX Labs, ran the new company but left in 2017 for new opportunities. Kevin Burns, former head of yogurt maker Chobani, became the new CEO. Monsees is the company’s chief product officer and Bowen is the company’s chief technology officer. Though vaping instruments were designed for tobacco products and not for drugs, the devices developed by PAX labs have nonetheless become popular with marijuana users, because they are portable and is effective in vaporizing THC from cannabis flowers.
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