By Michael Teich
Ethical issues could be the Achilles heel for Juul, the $15 billion company behind the vaping devices infiltrating college and high school campuses.
"The valuation is justified on the math," said Dan Primack, Business Editor at Axios. The real question, though, is, "Does it want to stop kids from getting these?"
The sleek and colorful design of the company's e-cigarettes, paired with appealing flavors such as mango and cool mint, has helped Juul emerge as a leader in the market with a 68 percent share, according to Wells Fargo. The company projects $940 million in revenue this year, but Primack said he's told that "they are blowing through those numbers." Those numbers helped Juul raise a fresh $1.2 billion in new funding last week.
But strong sales growth may not be enough to entice more traditional Silicon Valley investors to overlook the moral complexities of Juul's business, Primack said.
While the device was created as an alternative to cigarettes, he pointed out the product is falling into the hands of first-time smokers and serves as a "gateway smoke."
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