Reston, Virginia-based LifeFuels, a tech company that created a portable beverage maker connected to a free mobile app, officially put its flagship product on the market last month.
Jonathon Perrelli, founder and CEO of LifeFuels, describes LifeFuels as three companies in one:
- a hardware manufacturer that designs, engineers and builds the smart nutrition bottles;
- a beverage company that developed nutrition-packed FuelPods; and
- a software developer that curates the app providing actionable insights based on a person’s nutrition and hydration.
Perrelli said the idea for LifeFuels came to him in 2006 when his wife was pregnant with their third child. As a busy mother of two and one on the way, she struggled to stay hydrated and take in the appropriate amount of daily nutrition.
“I searched for a product that would make it easy to enhance water with nutrients and track what was consumed, and I was not able to find anything on the market,” Perrelli told Technical.ly. “The idea for LifeFuels was born.”
After launching in 2015, LifeFuels finally made it to market on Sept. 16 with the three above concepts in mind, but all under one umbrella. Prior to this launch, the company previewed a prototype of its smart nutrition water bottle at the giant Consumer Electronics Show (CES). This initial model looks different from the product that’s on the market today, but Perrelli said that was the company’s plan all along.
“We knew early on that we would change the design of that prototype bottle. What we were after at that time was whether or not the market had an interest in a technology-enabled portable beverage maker,” Perrelli said. “The market response was overwhelmingly positive from potential partners in food and beverage, sports and fitness, as well as ecommerce and retail distributors.”
Here’s what that first bottle looked like:
Though this initial model never went to market, LifeFuels did collect a couple hundred pre-sale orders a few years ago, where customers paid $99 to receive the product. Those same buyers were recently sent the new version of the bottle, Perrelli said, which is now valued at $179 per bottle. FuelPods are $11.99 each, and each have 15 servings and come in peach, lemon lime, blackberry acai, kiwi strawberry lemonade, ginger citrus and white grapefruit citrus flavors.
Here’s a look at the updated LifeFuels smart nutrition bottle on the market today:
Though this is Perrelli’s seventh (!) venture as a founder, including government-contracted cybersecurity company SecureForce which was acquired in 2014, he said it’s by far his most challenging.
“Putting water atop of electronics creates a number of issues, as you could imagine,” he said. “Inventing an entirely new system for delivering beverages on the go with the ability for consumers to gain insights from their hydration and nutrition consumption was also quite challenging.”
There’s a team of 50 employees behind LifeFuels, and the company has raised $5.5 million from a seed round in 2017. Last year, LifeFuels also secured an investment and partnership with beverage-giant Keurig Dr Pepper (the Keurig coffee brewer maker) in a Series A deal valued at $20 million, the Washington Business Journal reported, bringing its total venture capital raise to $25.5 million to date.-30-