Neeraj Bhardwaj: Loto Labs
He’s not only a father, an athlete, a teammate, and an innovator, but he is a son who witnessed how cannabis alleviated the suffering of his late mother. He saw, first-hand, that cannabis had made a positive effect and he believes that’s certainly something to be proud about. But yet, in looking at the vaporizer market, what he saw instead were products that were discreet, disposable, and cheap and this is where he captured the opportunity to raise the bar. Neeraj Bhardwaj is the founder and President of Loto Labs, the company who will be introducing a new dynamic to the vaporizing community and taking our industry that much further into the realm of higher standards and proud consumers.
What was the deciding factor for you to join this particular industry?
There were several deciding factors, but the first stemmed from personal needs. As an ice hockey goalie and a new father, I wanted to rid myself of my cigarette habit – to feel better and to live longer. Vaping is definitely a healthier alternative and so, I switched to vaporizers. Then, when my late mother was battling cancer, she asked to use cannabis and I saw firsthand its medical effects and was eternally grateful that she felt better and was able to eat while experiencing the ravaging effects of chemotherapy.
Then, when my late mother was battling cancer, she asked to use cannabis and I saw firsthand its medical effects and was eternally grateful that she felt better and was able to eat while experiencing the ravaging effects of chemotherapy.
What skills from your previous experiences helped you in what you are doing now?
I have a background in sales and marketing in non-destructive testing and semiconductors, where I sold ultrasound equipment to aerospace, medical, and global energy applications. It was there, at The Ultran Group, where I learned to leverage my passion for Silicon Valley technology, innovation, and salesmanship to drive business development. Working in Sales for an international tech company gave me insight into global trends and opened my eyes to the varying perspectives on mainstream issues. I also learned a ton from my first big start-up venture, Fundality. Although the company failed to get enough traction to scale, due to non-market forces, I learned a lot about managing a start-up, working with investors, finding a “product-market” fit and what drove me as an entrepreneur. So, while Fundality didn’t work out, I knew that starting a company was something I wanted to do and succeed at.
I love sales, but prior to Loto Labs, I never really found any passion for what I was selling. Now, I get to work on a product that I believe will truly enhance people’s lives, while at the same side getting to see our design and engineering team come up with strongly aesthetic products powered by amazing technology “under the hood” in a market that is totally ripe for booming growth and disruption.
Right now, where are you guiding your passion and energy?
Our team is singularly focused on creating a vaping device that users will love to use and one that they can proudly display on their desk, coffee table, or in their office; not hidden away in a pocket or drawer. Many products in the vape world are designed to be small, cheap, and disposable. We want the Evoke to be an absolutely stunning vaporizer with premium materials that last. We want our users to be proud of their vaporizer and store it on their shelves like a piece of art, rather than stashing them away in hiding.
Describe your work ethic to me in one word.
That’s easy. StanleyCup! Okay, maybe I connected two words to make one, but when you’re a goalie, you’re competitive as heck, you want a shutout every game, you want to be the person that backstops everyone on the team, and you want to go all the way! That’s what I want to be in business – ultra competitive, tons of fun, and cheering on the team to do their part, while keeping pucks out of the net. I guess I could have said “shutout,” but StanleyCup sounded better.
The 1st Smart Vaporizer with Induction Technology
What do you consider your weakness as an entrepreneur? Your strength?
My weakness as an entrepreneur is that I get stressed out, scrutinizing my attention to detail. I tend to obsess over every little thing and constantly have to remind myself to step back and look at the bigger picture. Ice hockey helps me immensely with this. Whenever I get too wound up, I go and skate it out on the ice. I’m a goalie and there is something really cathartic about a good puck of vulcanized rubber flying at my face. It feels like everything in my head clears away and I get laser focused on the big issue at hand.
My strength as an entrepreneur is my dedication and passion to every detail and trend happening in the vape world. I truly love this burgeoning industry and am so excited for the future. I think we are onto something big with the Evoke and it is only the first of many products that we have on our roadmap. If I told you that we already had 10 patents pending in our pipeline, would that help you understand the amount of R&D we have going on in our labs?
I truly love this burgeoning industry and am so excited for the future.
How are you differentiating yourself from the competition?
The Loto Labs philosophy couldn’t be more different from the competition. The vape market is currently trending towards smaller, cheaper, consumable, single-use, discreet vaporizers. Our product is a well-designed, aesthetically-pleasing, technically-advanced vaporizer. The Evoke is designed to last forever, is made from the safest, cleanest, and sturdiest materials we could find and we want our users to show off the Evoke, display it proudly!
Also, our induction core is absolutely unique to the industry. Most vaporizers on the market use a ‘wick and coil’ system, which results in hotspots and require regular replacement. We’re hyper-focused on eliminating these issues with the launch of the Evoke.
How do you find inspiration in this industry? What have you found that has inspired you?
The enormous potential of the industry and our product inspires us. Vaping has exploded as a phenomenon and is the fastest growing segment of the tobacco industry. There is also an incredible opportunity to provide safer alternatives for medical cannabis and I am inspired by the steps business leaders have taken in Colorado and Washington and I am confident that California is next to call for legalization. As a country, we need legalization and regulation, but more importantly we need many, many more peer-reviewed, large, randomized, long-term studies to prove what those of us in the industry inherently believe – that vaping is a healthier alternative to smoking, and that Cannabis has many recognized medical benefits.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
Never give up and keep pushing forward! Friction will slow everything down eventually, so there has to be a force that keeps moving. I believe most people are given a few opportunities in their life, but without lots of effort and nurturing, those opportunities slip away. So I always try to move forward as fast as possible.
Never give up and keep pushing forward! Friction will slow everything down eventually, so there has to be a force that keeps moving.
What’s your newest knowledge about the marijuana industry?
I’ve recently learned more about the cultivation and artisanship associated with farming cannabis. I find it fascinating how the curing process produces better flavor and vapor and how the terpenes are a crucial part of the equation along with THC and CBD.
If you could rewind the clock to 5 years ago, what would you do differently for your business?
I would have been more active in lobbying for studies on the medical effects of vaping, so that we can get these unknown questions about the health effects of vaping cannabis and e-liquids answered.