Despite ongoing controversy about electronic cigarette regulation, investors are still eager to get involved in the e-cigarette industry. In he wake of booming sales, investors at Brookside Capital and Morgan Stanley Investment Management poured in $70 million of new capital to NJOY this week.
NJOY already has an assortment of entrepreneurs investing in their company, including Napster co-founder Sean Parker and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. With this week’s addition funds, NJOY’s value rockets to an estimated $1 billion, according to the New York Times.
NJOY electronic cigarettes are already available at over 90,000 retail locations in the United States and they are quickly expanding in the European market with an estimated 40,000 outlets. The New York Times noted that NJOY “Has marketed itself as a technology company that is trying to defeat a health epidemic rather than prolong its demise.”
Chief executive Craig Weiss told reporters that NJOY is on a dedicated mission. “We believe that only an independent company can have as its corporate mission that extraordinary technological and important objective to make cigarettes obsolete.” Craig Weiss took over as president of NJOY in 2010 after his brother Mark founded the company in 2006. “It seemed to him that this was the future of smoking,” Weiss explained.
While the European Union has voted to increase strict regulations on e-cigs beginning in 2016, the FDA is still struggling to decide how to handle vaping in the United States. In the mean time, e-cig sales are soaring with experts suggesting the industry is now worth around $2 billion. Wells Fargo analysts have speculated that e-cigs could completely replace tobacco cigarettes within ten years.
Some critics have suggested that ecigs could actually lead to great nicotine addiction, but NJOY believes that their products are offering an important alternative for smokers that want to quit using tobacco. The company has built a team of elite veterans from the old tobacco industry as well as well-respected physicians and scientists. Most recently, Surgeon General Dr. Richard H. Carmona joined the NJOY board.
Until the FDA makes an official ruling on ecigs, NJOY is taking full advantage of the opportunity to advertise freely. In 2012, the brand started a hardcore marketing campaign around the slogan: “Cigarettes, you’ve met your match.”
It seems that many smokers are joining the ecig revolution and popular culture is also on board. In an episode of popular Netflix program “House of Cards”, electronic cigarettes made a prominent cameo with a very pointed message. As the main character, Frank Underwood, is discovered puffing on an e-cig, his wife accuses him of smoking. He simply explains that it is an electronic cigarette and calls it “Addiction without the consequences.”
With huge new investments coming in for NJOY, larger ad campaigns and continued research is inevitable for the growing brand. What changes do you expect to see from NJOY in the future?