LifeFuels focuses on smart health and hydration for everyone
Jonathon Perrelli is founder and CEO of LifeFuels, where he is “building a dream team to convert the smart-nutrition bottle into a market-changing reality for consumers.”
The team at Reston-based LifeFuels developed a three-part hydration system – bottle, “FuelPods” and app – to make it easy and enjoyable for customers to drink more water and supply needed nutrients at the same time. The goal: to empower people to reach health and hydration goals while reducing the need for single-use plastic bottles.
E-Bird Extra caught up with Perrelli to learn more about the innovative health and technology business and what makes Fairfax County a great place for the company.
E-Bird Extra: Tell us about your company.
Jonathon Perrelli: We’re a beverage technology company that offers a three-part hydration system that consists of a smart bottle, FuelPods, and an app. LifeFuels is the world’s first smart nutrition bottle and portable beverage maker.
CEO Jonathon Perrelli talks about LifeFuels in this FCEDA Innovation Series video.
Extra: How does your business stand out in the health and wellness marketplace?
Perrelli: LifeFuels is innovative and disruptive to the beverage industry. We’re the world’s first smart nutrition bottle and portable beverage maker. Think of a Nespresso or a Keurig, but the ability to do that on the go. And, with a variety of beverages, each one of our FuelPods can make up to 30 drinks with its 30 milliliters. This allows the consumer to have up to 30 beverages all consumed and tracked for an average cost of 33 cents per beverage – pretty incredible.
Extra: Who are your primary customers?
Perrelli: There are a few types of consumers we target. The first are achievers who are people who have real intention with everything they consume. Achievers believe that every beverage and component of food consumed has a purpose to their workout or overall day. They usually track what they’re consuming, making LifeFuels a great tool for them. Then we have habit builders who are typically trying the newest wearable tech or newest beverages. Habit builders belong to a gym and workout, but maybe not as intentionally as achievers.
And then we have sustainability seekers who care a lot about the environment. As you can imagine, up to 30 drinks in one FuelPod means that over a case of water bottles are not being put into the environment, such as in waterways and landfills. This sustainability play matters a lot to them.
Lastly, we target the early tech adopters who really like the idea of tracking what they’re consuming.
Extra: How many employees does your company have?
Perrelli: In the last 18 months, we’ve grown from just over a dozen to 50 employees. Many of them have relocated to Fairfax County from California, New York, even someone from the Middle East, and 10 of our employees now live in Reston. A handful of those living in the area bought homes here, too, which we’re really excited about.
Extra: What do you consider the most innovative aspect of LifeFuels?
Perrelli: The most innovative aspect of LifeFuels is the fact that we’ve brought together hardware, software and beverages into one simple platform. The bottle looks like an iPhone, has one button, is simple to use and its charge lasts up to a week. What’s important is the fact that we’ve created a way to not only dispense, but also track your hydration and your nutrition on the go. People used to say when smartphones came out 11 or 12 years ago, “I have a computer, it’s attached to the wall. Why do I need a smartphone when I have a computer?” And now we all have them, of course. I believe that smart water bottles will have a similar course to smartphones. It might take a little longer, but we’re seeing an incredible response to LifeFuels from an audience here in the United States, and people excited about it overseas where we hope to distribute in the next year.
Extra: Why is Fairfax County a good place for LifeFuels to do business?
Perrelli: Fairfax County—and Reston, really—is a great place to do business, live, work, and play, and I know that’s one of the taglines of the town—everything is here. We have folks who live here and don’t own their own vehicle and get to work using the Metro, Lyft or Uber if they need to. But a lot of them walk to work. There is also an incredible talent pool here with really intelligent and well-educated individuals so it’s not very difficult for us to recruit. I know recruiting is always a challenge for technology companies, but we’re fairly unique in that we’re a consumer products company in Fairfax County. There aren’t many smart water bottle companies anywhere, but there aren’t many companies making wearable tech and consumer tech here in D.C. so, for us, it’s a great place.
We’re also very close to Dulles Airport and sometimes we’ll take international flights. When our partners or customers come to visit us it’s easy to get in and out. We’re located at 11600 Sunrise Valley Drive, which is really kind of the epicenter of startup activity from the ’90’s. The LifeFuels headquarters is an incredible building that has a sand volleyball court, a gazebo, basketball court, and a gym. We also have a great café with a chef who gives us specials every day. We absolutely love it here and hope to keep the company here for a really long time.
Extra: Why do you think people who are part of the generation Z and millennial generation like working for LifeFuels?
Perrelli: People from a variety of generations enjoy working here because of the collaboration that we have in the open office space that you’ve seen, and the fact that we’re solving problems together every day. No one’s ever done what we’ve done before so it doesn’t matter what your age is. As long as you’re curious and smart, it’s a great place for you. A lot of what I learned about startups, I learned from folks who were mentors — many from the west coast. We try to take the best of both east and west coasts, and some things from the Midwest, on how we actually approach problems scientifically.
Extra: You recently launched your product. How was that milestone personal to you?
Perrelli: I’ve invested personally a lot of time, resources, money, and my network into LifeFuels. Our entire team has dedicated years in research and development. It’s very personal that we’ve launched because we finally have people using the product that was originally conceived of as a tool for pregnant women. LifeFuels is now being used by athletes, commuters, people who are working out, and folks who just want to track their hydration and their nutrition intake.
To learn more and purchase the LifeFuels Bottle + Welcome Kit, please go to lifefuels.com.