Drink to Health | Our chat with the inventor of LifeFuels

Model, local mom, and fitness coach: Amanda “Raven” Carter

 It seems the word “smart” has been added to many things lately, smart phones, smart watches, smart TVs and now thanks to Reston businessman Jonathon Perrelli, we have added “smart” to your water and the bottle you hold it in. The LifeFuels water bottle is the brainchild of Mr. Perrelli and his creative team that encourages you to drink more and to drink smarter. The LifeFuels water bottle has numerous health advantages and the innovative device will have a global impact on how and when we consume our water. I had the opportunity to speak with Mr. Perrelli and let him give our Posh Seven readers some more insight into LifeFuels.

Tell us a little about yourself and the team at LifeFuels?
My name is Jonathon Perrelli and the most important role in my life is being the father to three children. I am a foodie, a fan of Broadway shows, and an entrepreneur. Prior to LifeFuels, I founded six companies, five of which were acquired. An early-stage technology investor, I founded Fortify Ventures in 2011, and over the course of my career, I have invested in over 50 early stage and emerging technology companies.

As the CEO and Founder of LifeFuels, I have been assembling and leading a team that is focused on converging the smart nutrition bottle and portable drink maker concept into a single market-changing product for consumers.

Our team at LifeFuels is small but mighty. We had just 8 employees at the beginning of the year and have more than doubled in size and continue to grow. With our product launch approaching, there couldn’t be a more exciting time to join LifeFuels. Our team comes to the table with tremendous experience from varying backgrounds and a shared passion for realizing the vision of LifeFuels.

Why did you think that it was so important to create a product like LifeFuels?
Hydration and nutrition are a struggle for most people. The sheer amount of information available, and the oftencontradictory advice when it comes to physical wellness can be overwhelming. There are a countless number of products on the market to address nutrition and many to address hydration, but there is no single product that brings the two together in an integrated, technology enabled way. 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 manual ways to dose out precise servings of nutrients, we 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.

How does the technology of LifeFuels work?
LifeFuels is a patented system that integrates three components – the world’s first portable beverage maker, FuelPods and an app. Users load 3 FuelPods into the bottle, each FuelPod containing up to 15 concentrated beverages, dispensing up to 45 drinks that can be crafted on the go. The LifeFuels App connects to the bottle via Bluetooth and allows users to select and dispense their favorite flavors along with functional nutrients. The app tracks both nutrition and hydration levels, syncs with wearable activity trackers, and uses real-time data to provide actionable insights. LifeFuels’ technology bridges a crucial gap between nutrition and wearable technology, providing an alternative to single serve plastic bottles.

Do you see a growth in technology trends with regard to personal health?
Absolutely! There are a number of trends in technology & beverages that we are following very closely; personalized nutrition, portability and convenience, connected devices, functional beverages, and a push for alternatives to single use bottles. LifeFuels integrates all of these elements into a single revolutionary product.

Can you tell us about the exciting partnership between LifeFuels and Keurig Dr Pepper?
We have had the opportunity to explore partnerships with a number of technology and food and beverage companies over the last few years. Prior to Keurig, we had many conversations that offered elements of what we were looking for in a partner, but had not yet found the perfect 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, across a broad spectrum. Unlike most food and beverage brands, Keurig Dr. Pepper has an incredible amount of experience through their production of millions of beverage making devices, a consumer-friendly ecommerce platform, as well as innovation and distribution in beverage delivery. With their support, LifeFuels is tackling some unique challenges, and creating a new product category with our platform.

What have been some of the challenges you have experienced in development?
One of the most challenging situations we have faced, was related to our original bottle design. Our initial LifeFuels prototype was award winning and considered by experts to be innovative and disruptive, but it was not one that I was willing to take to market. While our experience at The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January of 2016 validated the concept of the Bottle, FuelPods, and the App; I knew the design and functionality of the early prototype bottle needed significant changes before the product would go to market. It was a difficult decision to move on from the original prototype where we had invested so much time and energy. I made this decision with the knowledge that it would delay getting an improved product into hands of consumers, but it was a decision I was willing to make to ensure we were creating the best product possible for consumers.

How will we be able to purchase LifeFuels and more importantly when?
We are currently conducting product testing and will be rolling out a larger beta program over the coming months. We are spending quite a bit of time with our contract manufacturer finalizing our production process and working towards a launch date. While the engineers are hard at work (and logging a lot of frequent flyer miles) we’re also making great progress on the other side of our business – beverages! We are finalizing beverage formulas, sourcing ingredients, and testing flavors with consumers. We would love to have our product on the shelves as soon as possible, but are taking all the right steps to ensure a truly functional and well-tested product launch. LifeFuels will be available for purchase in 2019 in select retailers and online at LifeFuels.com.