Vejii, the largest sustainability-focused online marketplace in North America, announces it has become publicly listed on the CSE under the ticker VEJI. The platform, which delivers to 48 states, today becomes one of the few plant-based companies in the world to go public.
Vegconomist sits down with CEO Kory Zelickson to hear more about the company’s big news.
Why did you decide to go public?
First of all, thanks for interviewing me, vegconomist. I love and appreciate your coverage in the vegan business space. My Co-Founder Darren Gill and I decided to take Vejii public to have more efficient access to and deployment of growth capital. In addition, we wanted to have the ability to execute M&A strategies, which also offer interested investors in the space the ability to participate in the company’s growth. We think this is very exciting and indicative of the larger potential of the market as a whole.
What kind of work did you do this last year to build the company to be ready for an IPO?
We started the company less than a year ago. Our initial focus was on driving traffic to better understand buying behavior and product/category trends. From there we developed Vejii Express which is a curated offering of our most popular products, with express delivery service across the country. We also worked on building out the marketplace platform where we now have over 100 independent brands that have come to list their products on Vejii, and they can choose to either ship directly to customers or send their products to us on consignment and become a part of the Vejii Express platform. We work to support and scale these brands through our site by providing resources ranging from digital marketing to influencer and email campaigns and product fulfilment.
As part of the company’s growth in the first year, we also signed an agreement to acquire VeganEssentials.com, which is an award-winning online grocery store for plant-based products. That just closed last week, and we will be running that platform in parallel with Vejii and taking advantage of a new warehouse to service the eastern seaboard and other operational efficiencies. In our path to going public and as part of the process, we also completed a final prospectus and annual financial audit, and have raised growth capital along the way. We’re gained significant traction in one year and are looking forward to continued growth into the future.
What kind of milestones have you hit to get you to this point?
We continuously monitor and analyse our data analytics to improve basket price, which we’ve seen a significant increase in since the start. We also use this data to reduce customer acquisition cost, improve user experience and optimize our customer intake funnel. Our acquisition of VeganEssentials.com, as previously mentioned, which brings our combined subscriber list to over 130,000, will only continue to make our refinement processes tighter.
How critical has AI been to your success?
AI algorithms, in terms of an e-commerce platform, are helpful in tailoring the customer experience based on browsing and purchase history. Ultimately the goal of an AI integration is to help provide a customer with more relevant product choices based on their behavior. In turn, this improves conversion rates and customer satisfaction.
What do you have planned for the future?
As a marketplace for plant-based and sustainable products, we already have a broad offering from plant-based foods to protein and sports nutrition. We recently launched personal care products, vitamins and supplements, and even vegan wines. We plan on focusing on sustainable fashion and hope to launch this category in Q1, 2022.
From a distribution perspective, we’re also focused on launching same-day delivery in key metropolitan areas through expanded regional distribution centers. Again, Vegan Essentials, and their additional distribution centers, will only put the goal into higher gear. Full steam ahead!