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)

Go deeper

Scoop: Instacart raises another $100 million

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios Visuals

Grocery delivery company Instacart has raised $100 million in new funding, on top of the $225 million it announced last month, the company tells Axios. This brings its valuation to $13.8 billion.

Why it matters: This funding comes at what could be an inflection point for Instacart, as customers it acquired during coronavirus lockdowns decide whether they want to continue with the service or resume in-person grocery shopping.

Updated 54 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m. ET: 10,902,347 — Total deaths: 521,940 — Total recoveries — 5,777,662Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m. ET: 2,739,879 — Total deaths: 128,740 — Total recoveries: 781,970 — Total tested: 33,462,181Map.
  3. Public health: The states where face coverings are mandatory Regeneron stops trial after drug fails to help patientsWhat we know about the coronavirus immune response — Fauci says it has been a "very disturbing week" for the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S.
  4. Business: Top business leaders urge the White House to develop mandatory mask guidelines.
  5. Politics: Herman Cain hospitalized for COVID-19 after attending Trump Tulsa rally — Biden downplays jobs number, rebukes Trump for ignoring health crisis.
  6. Economy: The economy may recover just quickly enough to kill political interest in more stimulus.
  7. States: Texas mandates face masks in public spaces Florida reports more than 10,000 new coronavirus cases, and its most-infected county issues curfew.

Markets swell as the economy shrinks

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The economy is sputtering, but the markets are thriving — a highly unusual event that shows how the coronavirus has thrown all bets off.

Why it matters: The disconnect adds to the wealth gap. The richest 10% of households — who own 84% of stocks — are getting richer, while millions of out-of-work Americans cross their fingers that pandemic unemployment benefits will be extended.