Responses from Chief Executive Michael Chen
How has your company evolved since it was founded?
My father was a cigarette smoker for over 40 years and he tried to quit for more than 30 years without success. Beyond Vape was created to help the vape community develop innovative vape devices so that cigarette smokers could switch to vaping. We have more than 10 retail stores nationwide, multiple international franchisees, and a wholesale company that develops and distributes vape juice and devices. More importantly, by using Beyond Vape products my father has not only quit smoking cigarettes but even stopped vaping.
BUSINESS: Vaping product maker, retailer
TWO-YEAR REVENUE GROWTH: 2,848 percent
2015 REVENUE: $16.3 million
How has the company been funded?
Beyond Vape has always been self-funded. The partners have other successful portfolio companies that have provided the capital needed for growth.
What did you do to achieve this rate of growth?
Our team members are hard-working, passionate, and intelligent people who share a goal of promoting an alternative to smoking cigarettes. On top of our in-house team, we also built strong relationships with other leaders in the industry.
Who were your key advisers in the process?
Our key advisers are our customers and vape community leaders. Beyond Vape products can be found on YouTube, reviewed by well-known vape experts. We take feedback very seriously and strive to constantly improve our processes and products.
How did you manage the growing workload?
Beyond Vape started out as a subsidiary of a larger portfolio company, with shared office employees and resources. Because of its growth, Beyond Vape had to break off of the original parent company. We hired additional talent and moved to our own facility.
What were the biggest obstacles hindering your growth and how did you overcome them?
The rapidly changing environment. The product lifecycle spans only three months, so we have to be extremely diligent about keeping up with the latest trends. Currently, we are dealing with Food and Drug Administration regulations, which as they stand, will severely hamper the growth of our industry. The rules proposed will eliminate innovation, put many small companies out of business, and cause consumers to resort back to smoking traditional cigarettes. As a leader in the vaping community, we will adapt and fight the regulations that we feel are not grounded in reason.
Is there still room to grow in your current market or will you seek to expand into new areas?
The survival of our industry in the U.S. will depend on how government regulations pan out. There are lawsuits that are being filed by top leaders in our community to combat unfair rules. Other countries such as the U.K. recognize and actively promote vape technology for public health, despite the fact that the FDA does not. Beyond Vape currently has locations in Japan, Sweden, India, and Ecuador. We plan on continuing to expand internationally.
How do you manage expectations going forward?
Going forward, we know there are challenges coming from the government. We understand a good balance of regulation will be good for our industry, so being able to adapt to changes will be critical for our long-term growth.
Is there anything you would have done differently?
We originally focused more on vape hardware and did not spend our resources on creating our own juice lines. As hardware improved, the need for innovation became less important. In retrospect, we could have spent more resources developing products in the consumable space.
How has your location in the L.A. area played into your company’s growth?
Southern California has been the hotbed of innovation for the vape industry. We have the highest vape company density in the world. Because of our location in L.A., we have been able to partner with all the leading players in the industry.
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