Updated Jun 29, 2018

Go deeper: Juul’s value skyrockets despite investor trepidation

Juul is the No. 1 e-cigarette on the market. (Staff photo by Brianna Soukup/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

Juul Labs, a startup that makes electronic cigarettes, is reportedly raising $1.2 billion in a financing round that would value the company at $15 billion, Bloomberg reports, a massive jump from what investor Fidelity valued it last month ($4 billion) and a staggering number given private e-cigarette funding virtually disappeared this past year.

Why it matters: Juul is succeeding in a market where many other e-cigarette companies have failed, despite continuing regulatory uncertainty.

The intrigue: Juul has mastered a sleek and discreet design that other e-cigarettes don't have. Juuls are easy to clean, charge, and refill the pods containing the vaping juice. For that, Juul has more than 50% of the market share and is up 700% in revenue from last year, Nielsen reports.

  • The e-cigarette market taps in at about $2 billion, and sales for Juul could go as high as $1 billion for 2018.
  • In an effort to appeal to the FDA, Juul announced it was changing its social media and marketing policies to deter looking trendy and appealing to youth.
The bleak competition
  • NJOY, one of the first companies to make and sell e-cigarettes, raised $165 million in its last round. The company filed for bankruptcy in 2016 as the FDA announced its ability to regulate NJOY's products and all other e-cigarette companies.
  • Tobacco giant Philip Morris International has seen its stock drop by almost a third in the last year. The company has attempted to catch up with the shift among younger customers toward e-cigarettes and vaping, per The Information.
  • R.J. Reynolds’ Vuse brand of e-cigarettes has seen its market share drop by more than 50% in the last year, according to data from Nielsen and Wells Fargo.

What to watch: As Juul is winning in a bleeding market, investors are left to decide if the San Francisco-based company is an opportunity to dominate the e-cigarette market or if it will fall as fast as it soared.

Still, the business for e-cigarettes is expected to rise at an annual growth rate of 17%, higher than 12% in 2017, per Nielsen.

The other side

Juul had until June 19 to turn in any paperwork to the FDA relating to Juul’s marketing campaigns, product design, and consumer complaints on the product as it relates to youth use. Those will be very important in examining if Juul is marketing itself as a “cigarette alternative” for adult smokers, and its potential contributions to a tobacco problem in younger generations.

The numbers that matter: E-cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco product among the youth, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • In 2016, more than 2 million U.S. middle and high school students used e-cigarettes in the past 30 days, including 4.3% of middle school students and 11.3% of high school students.
  • In 2016, only 3.2% of U.S. adults were current e-cigarette users.

Go deeper: The Juul, explained (via Vox)

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Schools get creative to keep students connected

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

School districts are exploring ways to keep their homebound pupils connected to the classroom, even though many students don't have the internet service or devices they need to do assignments.

Why it matters: All teachers face the problem of "summer slide" — when students lose skills during summer breaks. This year will be doubly hard because students are losing between one and three additional months of in-classroom instruction due to coronavirus-driven closures.

U.S.-led coalition in Iraq withdraws from 3rd base this month

A soldier stands guard at the Qayyarah airbase in southern Mosul on March 26. Photo: Murtadha Al-Sudani/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The United States-led coalition in Iraq withdrew from K-1 Air Base in the northern part of the country on Sunday, AP reports.

Why it matters: It's the third site that coalition forces have left this month as the U.S. gathers troops in Baghdad and at Ain al-Asad Air Base.

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 679,977 — Total deaths: 31,734 — Total recoveries: 145,625.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 8 a.m. ET: 124,686 — Total deaths: 2,191 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: Trump announces new travel advisories for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, but rules out quarantine enforcement. Per CDC, those residents should "refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days," with the exception of critical infrastructure industry workers.
  4. State updates: Alaska issues a stay-at-home order — New York tries to nearly triple hospital capacity in less than a month and moved presidential primary to June 23. Some Midwestern swing voters who backed Trump's initial handling of the virus balk at call for U.S. to be "opened up" by Easter.
  5. World updates: In Spain, over 1,400 people were confirmed dead between Thursday to Saturday.
  6. 🚀 Space updates: OneWeb filed for bankruptcy amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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