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New e-cig player HitBit seeing massive growth

Dillon Kivo



New e-cig player HitBit seeing massive growth

In the year 2017, a new kind of e-cigarette device hit the market, the Juul. Juul Labs Inc., founded by former smokers Adam Bowmen and James Monsees, created the company with hopes of reducing cigarette usage and improving the lives of billions. While they have been quite successful in these endeavors, taking over more than half the e-cigarette market within their first year, the adoption of the Juul has come with some downfalls. Fortunately, other entrepreneurs such as Chad Dearman, have begun to develop products to improve these complications. With experience in e-commerce and great networking connections to the exact demographic Juul markets too, Dearman has invented an innovative product for the e-cigarette market and Juul users.

After graduating from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville where he earned his Bachelor’s degree in Education, Dearman went directly to work for his family company, Stephenson-Dearman Funeral Home, Inc. Located in Monticello, Arkansas, this company is the largest funeral home in the southern part of the state. Although he was next in line to take over the family business, he passed up the opportunity to be the 5th generation CEO of the company after only a few years of working there. He moved into the medical device industry, working for Stryker Corporation, but still felt he could do more. With a knack for technology and a passion for business and entrepreneurship, Dearman chose to venture out on his own entrepreneurial endeavors.

As the current founder and president of Third Generation Ventures LLC and Meme Swipe LLC, he is now a successful social media influencer, e-commerce expert, and owner of the application Memerr, a Tinder-like application for memes in which data is collected and only the most trendy memes are shown. Through Third Generation Ventures, he runs the Instagram account @drunkenhumor which has amassed nearly 1M followers and accumulated a network totaling nearly 20M followers. This account, the heart of his company, has presented him with a number of opportunities including being contacted by TV stations such as MTV and the TV show “Ridiculousness” for rights to publish his content. With a majority of his following within the ages of 18 to 35, Dearman’s goal is to continue to monetize his followers and build a sustainable company based on servicing the needs of this demographic.

In early 2018, Dearman noticed that he shared a large percentage of his followers with the e-vapor cigarette company, Juul Labs Inc. It seemed like all college students who followed a social media influencer page knew about Juul. The company sold 1.29 billion vape kits and nicotine pods over 12 months, taking over more than half of the 2.31 billion dollar e-cigarette market. Juul’s ownership of the e-cigarette market grew from 24% to 75% in less than a year, and the number of adults between 18 and 21 that tried the Juul increased 400% from 2017 to 2018. Coinciding with their increase in sales, Juul also became a viral hit this year. Thousands of humorous memes about juuling and jokes portraying the Juul as a “life essential” for any college student were posted on social media feeds. On Dearman’s company’s page, @drunkenhumor, hundreds of funny videos were submitted portraying college students using Juul’s in every way humanly possible.

With an obvious connection to Juul through his social media and a personal connection, as a current e-cigarette user himself, Dearman saw a great opportunity in the field. After becoming a regular Juul customer, he quickly encountered the problem that most Juul owners face: the battery life of the Juul. The red light that comes on after only one pod use, or even less as Juuls grow older, is a substantial problem with the product, and one that many have complained about. Being an entrepreneur, and recognizing the massive trend in this e-cigarette company, as well as already having a large basis of followers in the correct demographic for the product, Dearman wanted to capitalize. This is when HitBit came to life.

HitBit was created with the goal of solving this short-term battery life problem, and it has begun to sell like he never would’ve expected. Several other companies have attempted to create products with similar goals in mind including, but not limited to, USB chargers to charge the Juul with a cell phone, other carrying charger cases, and more. However, there is not an actual device that is similar in size to the Juul with the extended battery life that HitBit offers. HitBit is compatible with Juul pods or CBD pods and holds a 3-5 pod battery life. With 3 variable voltage settings to adjust power output, a sleek, thin, and lightweight design and a power on/off button, this product has proven to successfully increase Juul users satisfaction and keep their e-cigarette device running for longer than ever before.

After putting together an investor pitch deck and trying to secure funding for the HitBit project to get it manufactured in large quantities, Dearman couldn’t close a deal with an investor, and instead, chose to further the success of his products with money from his personal savings account. Determined to get this new innovation to the market, he got a few hundred HitBit’s manufactured and packaged, and within the first 24 hours over half of his stock sold and multiple international distributors reached out with hopes of picking up the product. Dearman didn’t spend a dime on marketing, yet his product launch was both prosperous and rewarding, as months of hard work began to pay off.

Recently, he has secured funding to scale up the operations of HitBit at a global level with thousands currently being manufactured to hit the e-cigarette market and retail stores very soon. Third Generation Ventures LLC plans to see great success for HitBit in 2019, as e-cigarette sales are projected to surpass 9 billion in the year. With increased manufacturing and availability, HitBit product sales will only continue to rise as they provide a solution to such a common problem. Dearman plans to expand within the e-cigarette market, producing refillable Juul and CBD pods in the near future.

Founder & Editor-In-Chief of Kivo Daily Magazine