Zeptive: Success Story

The Zeptive logo of six dots in a circle.

Air quality is essential to public health

By the Numbers for Zeptive: 1st vape detector in the industry powered by highly accurate 14-channel multi-sensor array, 6 patent applications, 2 patents granted in the past year, 2x revenue in the last 6 months, 2x employees in the last 6 months

Air quality is a global issue, often focused on large-scale pollution and gasses that destroy the earth’s atmosphere. But indoor air quality is one of the fastest rising environmental and public health concerns. The innovative portable air sensors manufactured by Zeptive (Burlington, MA) create reliable scientific data on indoor air quality and deliver high-end, low-cost portable detection technology.

Addressing the vaping crisis

Zeptive’s early success focused on the epidemic of vaping among middle- and high-school students. Small aerosol vaping devices are easy to conceal and use on school property. The active ingredients may be highly addictive (nicotine), chemically altering (THC/cannabis) or contain unidentified toxins in the flavors or accelerants. Any of these ingredients can cause long-term damage to the brain or lungs, especially in young people.

Zeptive sensors detect the presence of vaping, report the precise chemical profile of the gasses, and alert school administrators. The alert in turn allows school officials to address the issue quickly and proactively.

Clearing the air

The COVID-19 pandemic brought to light the relationship between air quality and health. Many American schools have poor air quality. Aging school buildings with insufficient natural ventilation, antiquated air handling systems, and lack of filtration systems or air conditioning can contribute to health issues. Every school administrator wants better air quality and parents demand it. Zeptive can help. Zeptive’s sensors give accurate feedback and a roadmap for improving air quality without the cost of revamping their infrastructure.

Air quality and illness directly affect student performance:

  • Influenza, colds, and other viruses spread more easily when air quality is poor.
  • Mold and other common airborne allergens induce asthma.
  • Elevated levels of carbon dioxide affect concentration and learning.

Decades ago, the Environmental Protection Agency understood the importance of air quality in our schools, but public awareness didn’t spike until the pandemic. Funding for air quality improvement in schools is now available under the Federal American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, and Zeptive’s website has a state-by-state resource guide for grant applicants.

FORGE makes connections

In 2020, Zeptive had all the best qualities of a small fast-growth business — an innovative idea, a receptive marketplace, and creative and dedicated leadership. FORGE recognizes that the leap to full-scale manufacturing can be difficult and it’s a pivot point where many companies lose momentum. Zeptive approached FORGE with customer orders in hand, but growing concerns surrounding the volatile global supply chain environment. Knowing the strengths and focus areas of the FORGE network, the team connected Zeptive with New Page Associates (NPA), based in Arlington, MA. The introduction that FORGE made between Zeptive and the manufacturing experts at NPA became critical to their success.

According to Steve Milt, Zeptive’s Chief Growth Officer: “It’s a big challenge for growing companies to make sure that all the bases are covered: marketing, manufacturing, accounting, and other technical depth. Founders can only be experts in so many areas, and sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know. NPA was incredibly useful at exactly the right moment. Last May we needed to deliver 1,000 sensors, but only 30% of the parts were available. NPA’s supply chain consultant immediately recognized that we needed even more parts to stay ahead of demand. He strategized, and negotiated, buying enough components to get us to the end of 2021. His foresight and bargaining power bought us time to secure everything we needed for 2022 production. In hindsight, this was incredibly significant with the shortages in chips and other electronic components that soon followed.”

FORGE introduces fast-growth companies to manufacturing partners that then continue to work together in long-term, mutually beneficial partnerships. In October 2020, FORGE introduced Zeptive’s founders to Lever, Inc. a Massachusetts-based investor with a mission to build and grow innovation-driven enterprises. Zeptive was a finalist in two of Lever’s Innovation Challenge programs, winning the runner-up prize at the COVID-19 Health and Safety Challenge in February. The company was also a finalist in the 2021 Eddie Awards, presented by the Massachusetts Innovation Network. Zeptive’s products and prospects made an impression on Lever—they decided to make an equity investment and continue to guide Zeptive’s growth.

Even more signs of success for Zeptive

Zeptive is hiring new employees and will soon double in staff size. They have outgrown their current office and are poised to move to a new, larger headquarters. The additional technical development space in this new facility will provide exactly what Zeptive needs to continue growing.   

 FORGE is proud to support Zeptive in their mission to help the world sense to safety®.