Dec 20, 2017

Vaping startup Juul is raising $150 million

Photo: Brianna Soukup / Getty Images

Juul Labs, a San Francisco-based maker of vaping devices, has secured $112 million of what could become a $150 million convertible note offering, per an SEC filing.

Why it matters: Because Juul's discrete devices are becoming ubiquitous among high school and college students — despite the official age minimum — and could become even bigger if marijuana legalization expands.

Juul spun out from parent company Pax Labs earlier this year and hired Kevin Burns to be its CEO. He's is a former top partner at private equity giant TPG Capital who left to help turn around yogurt-maker Chobani as COO.

Bottom line: "Juul's flat rectangular devices, shaped like USB sticks, hit the market in mid-2015 and have surpassed similar devices from the tobacco giants. Bonnie Herzog, an analyst at Wells Fargo, wrote in a report last month, citing Nielsen data over the prior four weeks, that Juul controls 32.9% of the market, ahead of British American Tobacco at 27.4% and Altria at 15.2%. According to the Nielsen data, Juul has generated revenue growth of almost 700 percent to $224.6 million in the past year." — Ari Levy, CNBC

A Juul spokeswoman declined to comment on the fundraising.

Go deeper

Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and South Korea ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. South Korea's confirmed cases jumped from 204 on Friday to 433 on Saturday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,362 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 20 mins ago - Health

Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins

Bernie Sanders rallies in Las Vegas, Nevada on Feb. 21. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

Center-left think tank Third Way urgently called on the Democratic front-runners of the 2020 presidential election to challenge Sen. Bernie Sanders on the South Carolina debate stage on Feb. 25, in a memo provided to Axios' Mike Allen on Saturday.

What they're saying: "At the Las Vegas debate ... you declined to really challenge Senator Sanders. If you repeat this strategy at the South Carolina debate this week, you could hand the nomination to Sanders, likely dooming the Democratic Party — and the nation — to Trump and sweeping down-ballot Republican victories in November."

Situational awareness

Warren Buffett. Photo: Daniel Zuchnik/WireImage

Catch up on today's biggest news:

  1. Warren Buffett releases annual letter, reassures investors about future of Berkshire Hathaway
  2. Greyhound bars immigration sweeps
  3. U.S. military officially stops offensive operations in Afghanistan
  4. America's future looks a lot like Nevada
  5. Centrist Democrats beseech 2020 candidates: "Stand up to Bernie" or Trump wins