Vessl™ is truly a unique product—one that CEO Walter Apodaca is excited to share with the market, and one that has drawn GRAMMY® Award-winning singer, songwriter, producer and global artist Miguel to join the team as a creative advisor and sustainability ambassador.
What is Vessl? It is a patented, pressurized dosing and dispensing system in the form of closure or bottle cap, which automatically propels and instantly mixes concentrated ingredients into a base container.
“Many consumer products that are packaged in bottles, such as beverages, have water as their primary ingredient. By storing the concentrated active ingredients in the Vessl closure, these same products can be sold in environmental and ecommerce-friendly multipacks, consisting of a single reusable bottle and multiple Vessl refills,” Apodaca explains. ”Once the initial bottle has been used, simply refill it with water and reuse the bottle by twisting on another Vessl.
“Why ship water? It’s available at home, at work, and on the go. Vessl allows us to eliminate the unnecessary transport of these products and their associated single use bottle waste.”
We sat down with Apodaca and Miguel to chat about the company.
How did this product come to be developed and how long did it take?
Walter Apodaca: Vessl was developed by a Scottish inventor named Bernard Frutin. Prior to developing Vessl, he created the ”widget,” which produces a draught-type head on a can of beer. His idea was sold to a major brewery for an undisclosed sum. When Mr. Frutin encounters a problem, he invents a solution. Vessl was born of this same inventive spirit.
I’ve spent a career as an executive in the beverages industry with various companies, including Coca-Cola and MillerCoors. When I first saw the Vessl technology, I immediately recognized the promise for the technology in the beverage space. Vessl acquired the rights to the technology for the beverage category in 2012, and in 2016 expanded this to the global rights to the technology for all applications for the life of the patent and patents for any subsequent improvements on the technology.
I recognized the enormous potential, but believed that Vessl needed to demonstrate commercial success before any third party would pay to use it, so we founded Vessl. After securing the global rights to the technology and launching products that are now distributed in 50 countries worldwide, Vessl has set the stage to upend the disposable bottle paradigm and enable efficient and eco-friendly ecommerce solutions for a wide range of products and industries.
What problem were you trying to solve with this?
WA: Vessl is a tremendously versatile solution. We are working with companies for applications of the technology in fields as wide ranging as beverages, disinfectants, pharmaceuticals, and much more. Over time active ingredients may settle, separate, lose their efficacy and expire. In other cases, products require a complicated mixing process by the user, which is often time-consuming, prone to error, and messy. By purging oxygen from headspace and preserving the active content under pressure with an inert gas such as nitrogen, Vessl reduces or prevents degradation and eliminates the need for chemical preservatives in perishable items. For cosmetic, chemical, medical and pharmaceutical applications, the precise dosing and instant mixing provided by Vessl eliminates complexity and allows for revolutionary packaging systems.
Consider the impact—a standard 40-foot shipping container can hold 350,000-700,000 Vessl closures depending on the model, while only accommodating roughly 50,000 half-liter bottles.
What was your background before this?
WA: I have been involved in hundreds of innovative product marketing, supply chain, and packaging solutions for the consumer-packaged goods industry. I started my career on the ground floor of the industry, with a job loading beverage trucks at night while in college. I have since led turnaround performance in R&D, supply chain, general management, as well as sales and marketing for several global industry leaders. Prior to founding Vessl, Inc., I held the following positions: vice president national accounts, MillerCoors; vice president & general manager, Coors Brewing Company; market unit vice president, Coca-Cola; and division supply chain vice president, Coca-Cola. We have successfully commercialized Vessl, which is now sold on a variety of brands in 50 countries worldwide.
What sets this product apart?
WA: Vessl is a patented device with significant global coverage. The system provides formulators and marketers with a unique opportunity to significantly enhance the functional efficacy, accuracy of dosing, mixing and sensory impact of their products. Aside from the ability to deliver products in a concentrated format for use with reusable bottles, we are able to address other product development constraints. By purging oxygen from headspace and preserving the active content under pressure of an inert gas such as nitrogen, Vessl reduces or prevents degradation and eliminates the need for chemical preservatives in perishable items.
For chemical, medical and pharmaceutical applications, the precise dosing and instant mixing provided by Vessl eliminates complexity and allows for revolutionary packaging systems.
How will this impact the environment?
One of the primary benefits of Vessl is replacing traditional bottled products with Vessl pods for use on reusable bottles. With reusable bottles, Vessl eliminates single-use disposable bottle waste. We also eliminate the associated freight for inbound empty bottles, the delivery of those bottles to the consumer, and the associated packaging materials for these heavy and bulky items.
This represents end-to-end supply chain savings, including fuel, freight, and the associated carbon emissions. As traditional retail is eroded, which is only being accelerated by COVID-19, Vessl is an optimal solution to offset single bottle delivery to the home.
How is Vessl used with your own brands, Tea of a Kind and Kalvara?
o TOAK Single bottle 12-pack—Preserve sensitive ingredients like antioxidants and vitamin C
o TOAK—Four-pack using one useable bottle and four closures
o TOAK—Reusable bottle with three closures
o TOAK—Reusable bottle 24-pack closure only
o TOAK Recovery by Marshawn Lynch 2 oz. bottles—four-pack of closures with reusable bottle. Preserves-sensitive ingredients like vitamin C, zinc, and B vitamins
o TOAK Recovery by Marshawn Lynch 12-pack
o TOAK Functional Shots—Preserve sensitive ingredients, launching December 2020
o Kalvara 2 oz. Bottle—Preserve sensitive ingredients
o Kalvara—Four-pack reusable bottle
o Kalvara—Five-pack reusable bottle
What are some of its other applications?
WA: Personalized Skin Care Serums. The Vessl closure was used to solve the problem of short shelf life and supply chain logistics with a beauty cream.
Prior to using Vessl as a solution, the serum component of the beauty cream had a short shelf life of 30-90 days. This limited the distribution geographic footprint, and required end users always have refrigeration available.
Vessl allowed artistry to fill the Vessl closure with the serum and extended the shelf life of the product for up to two to three years, without refrigeration.
In addition, the Vessl closure allowed for the customization of the product, with multiple serums being offered to address different solutions (dry skin, age spots, wrinkles, etc.), thereby adding additional profit channels and increasing demand.
Also, Kalvara. The Vessl closure is being used with this product to offer a radically unique Cannabis beverage. The active ingredient in cannabis degrades rapidly without preservation and/or refrigeration. Vessl allows the beverage to be shelf stable at room temperature for an extended period of time. More importantly, because we are able to deliver a liquid nano-emulsion from the pressurized inert environment provided by Vessl, we are able to deliver a precisely measured, highly efficacious dose with rapid on-set and high bioavailability.
What do you see in the future for this product?
WA: The Vessl closure can be customized for different sizes and shapes, and can even be adapted to store two different types of liquids in separate chambers, or a liquid and a powder. This allows for the use on a virtually unlimited number of applications, for anything requiring the final mixing of ingredients at the point of use, to applications requiring the preservation of natural ingredients with the use of artificial preservatives, to environmentally friendly applications allowing for elimination of the disposable bottle paradigm, or any combination of any of the above.
Vessl aims to disrupt industries and eCommerce in the most virtuous ways. We see that Vessl being used across product categories in everyone’s home. Vessl transforms the household with reusable bottle formats thus eliminating single-use plastic bottles whether in beverage, household and cleaning, personal care and beauty, baby products, and much more.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
WA: Vessl is a company founded and run by a talented group of entrepreneurs, almost all of who have created or played major roles in founding other companies with successful exits. We are dedicated to adapting our technology to making others a success, as we understand that is what will make us successful. As a result, you will find an unparalleled willingness to help our customers innovate, adapt, solve problems, and succeed.
Read our exclusive interview with GRAMMY® Award-winning singer, songwriter, producer and global artist Miguel, who also acts as a sustainability ambassador for the company, here.
For more information, visit www.vesslinc.com.