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LifeFuels CEO and Founder Jonathon Perrelli

LifeFuels Founder and CEO Jonathon Perrelli

Whether working at the office or biking down rugged trails, keeping your body hydrated and full of nutrition can be a challenge. Fortunately, LifeFuels has created a simple, fun way to stay hydrated to fit your lifestyle. Led by Jonathon Perrelli, the Northern Virginia startup engineers a line of smart devices that empower consumers to create and track personalized beverages.

How did LifeFuels get started?

Hydration and nutrition are a struggle for most people; the sheer amount of information available, and the often-contradictory advice when it comes to dietary choices is overwhelming. I first confronted this challenge almost a decade ago after witnessing a family member struggling to manage their hydration and nutrition while pregnant. There was no solution on the market that would help them accurately monitor what they were consuming, and help them understand how it was linked to their exercise and lifestyle. After years of tinkering with ways to dose out precise servings of nutrients, my co-founder Rob Lawson-Shanks and I unveiled the LifeFuels Bottle, a portable beverage maker that enables consumers to create great-tasting, functional beverages on the go, tailored to match their lifestyle.

Was exhibiting at CES valuable for your company?

LifeFuels has extensively leveraged CES as a platform for market validation, engaging with consumers and developing partnerships. This can be risky for an early-stage company, due to the expense involved. However, by being budget-conscious, and taking full advantage of every minute at the show, we have seen phenomenal results. This ranges from key partnerships with some of the biggest names in beverage, technology and manufacturing, to dozens of media articles/interviews, and thousands of sign-ups to our waitlist. But the outcome that we love to highlight is our series A investment from Keurig Green Mountain, which was closed in April of this year. Executives from Keurig Green Mountain found our booth at CES on the first day of the show, and after a great initial conversation began coming back every subsequent day with an ever-growing group.

How will your partnership with Keurig Green Mountain help LifeFuels?

We have had the opportunity to explore partnerships with a number of food and beverage companies over the last few years, but it’s never been the right fit. LifeFuels spans several product categories: consumer electronics, food and beverage, and software. This presents a truly unique set of challenges and requires finding partners with the right experience. As one executive from a beverage brand explained, “What we really bring to the table is decades of mistakes that we can leverage to educate you.” Unlike most food and beverage brands, Keurig Green Mountain has an incredible amount of experience in both consumer electronics and the beverage space. With their support, we can tackle the challenges we face head-on, and truly create and define a new product category.

What has being located in Northern Virginia meant for your company?

We couldn’t imagine starting anywhere else. Virginia is home to some of the nation’s top colleges and the talent pool for technology is exactly what we need. The area is also home to a wide swath of companies, from the North America headquarters of automakers like Audi to industry leading finance/technology companies such as Capital One. This allows us to build partnerships across industries and find experienced engineers and developers looking for new challenges. We would of course be remiss if we didn’t mention that CTA is also local! They have been a great resource for us, and for the technology community throughout the region.

Elliot Grimm