I got a hold of Loto Labs for a Q&A to clear the “vapor” around their Evoke Vaporizer!
From the time of starting your Indiegogo campaign until the recent news of no longer being in compliance with their “updated” terms of service; how has Evoke changed?
Our dream of a better vape has gone from concept to working prototypes in less than a year! A few details have changed along the way but the essential vision is the same. We couldn’t have achieved what we have so far without our Indiegogo supporters, who saw what we were trying to do and pledged their support.
The biggest specific changes are:
1) The swappable induction core system. We had originally conceived Evoke as having 3 models (dry herb, e-liquid and concentrate). With the creation of our swappable induction core system, each Evoke is now able to vaporize all three materials. This was a huge breakthrough for us because it gives Evoke unmatched versatility in the marketplace. We were all frustrated from having to own and carry multiple units to vape different materials and are excited that Evoke is a solution to this problem.
2) Evoke now uses an 18650 battery.
The main reason we increased the size of Evoke was so it could employ an 18650-sized battery. The battery provides great power, is widely available, and is already used by vapers everywhere. We felt that we would rather have a slightly larger unit that had plenty of power and works with an industry standard sized battery, rather than a smaller, potentially underpowered vaporizer that needed to be plugged in to charge. Using multiple 18650 batteries provides the best continuous, portable, user experience.
3) Evoke has a wood veneer on the ‘front’ of it instead of a wood shell covering the ‘back.’
The initial Evoke design had a wood ‘back’ and a metal ‘front.’ Sticking exactly to that design concept would have increased the size of Evoke, so we put a wood veneer on the ‘front’ of the unit and an aluminum battery cover on the ‘back’ of the unit. This design change maintains the special tactile feel of wood, allows for a sleeker battery cover, and looks great!
What major issues/problems are Loto Labs dealing with in terms of bringing Evoke to the market?
The main issue with bringing Evoke to market is that manufacturing an electronic device is hard. Developing a whole new method of vaporizing has been amazing, but it’s also time consuming and expensive. Our initial estimate of being able to complete Evoke in six months proved to be overly optimistic. We want to bring Evoke to market as quickly as possible, but without compromising function or quality. Our entire team is excited about the progress we are making as each Evoke prototype brings us closer to our dream of a superior vape.
There seem to be issues surrounding a viable working Evoke product, when does Loto Labs expect to have a fully functional Evoke?
Evoke works! Hundreds of people tried Evoke prototypes at the Cannabis Cup in Denver on 4/20, and we got a ton of really helpful user feedback. That said, there was a major issue with our very first prototypes that were in use at the time: the electrical connectors on the induction core were fiddly. Our latest prototypes feature different electrical connectors on the induction core and they’re rock solid. Each revision of the prototype brings us closer to the final product, and we’re expecting to receive prototypes with all of our fixes in late August.
How has the exit of your VP of Engineering/Tech affected Loto Labs? Are you looking to hire another engineer?
We haven’t lost any members of our Engineering Team. We did switch our design & manufacturing partner from Focus Product Design Group to Pergamon MFG. We made this switch because we felt that Focus wasn’t moving forward quickly enough, and because they lost staff important to the development of Evoke. This switch made us pivot mid-step, but ultimately we believe that Evoke has been developed more quickly and more efficiently because of it.
Since the start of the campaign, it seems that Evoke has changed several times, can you explain what the final Evoke product will look like and what will come standard with it?
There has been a significant amount of change in the look of Evoke from the initial concept to the prototypes that exist today. The unit is slightly larger as it contains a rechargeable 18650 battery, there are wood veneers on the “front’ of the unit rather than a wood shell on the ‘back,’ and the mouthpiece of Evoke is now made of a beautiful white ceramic.
The body of Evoke will be made of high-grade aluminum. The back of the unit is the battery cover, and is made of aluminum that magnetically attaches to the body of the unit. The front of the unit will feature medium-toned wood veneers. The tip of the unit, the mouthpiece, will be made of ceramic. At some point in the future we hope to offer customized looks with different combinations of colored aluminum and wood, but at this point we can’t offer this degree of customization. We do plan on changing the color of the aluminum and/or species of wood veneer after the Indiegogo batch has been completed in order to differentiate the units our original supporters received from later iterations.
Our Indiegogo supporters will receive everything they need to use their unit out of the box: one Evoke unit, one battery, one battery charger, one induction core, three glass capsules specific to that induction core, and three susceptors specific to that induction core.
How has Evoke’s redesign affected the original price?
Several different components have been redesigned over last six months. These redesigns have not affected the price of Evoke, but they have pushed back the delivery timeline.
Since you are taking reservations for Evoke on your website, is there an estimated ship date for customers who reserved it? If not, what is the estimated time frame for it to ship?
We don’t have an estimated ship date for Evoke yet. We’re hoping to ship units in September. We’re trying our best to get Evokes into our supporters’ hands as quickly as we can. Until all parts have been finalized and are in tooling, however, our best estimates are subject to change. We understand that people might be frustrated waiting, but we can’t ship Evoke until its ready. We’re doing everything we can to make that as soon as possible
In terms of color, will Evoke be customizable?
The first batch of Evoke will not be customizable in terms of color. We do plan on making different colors available in the future. This is something that is very important to us, and we will implement different color schemes as soon as the volume of Evokes being shipped supports it. In addition, we plan on changing the color scheme of Evoke after the first batch to differentiate Evokes that our original supporters received from later versions, as a limited edition if you will.
How are you catering to your original investors?
For believing in our initial vision, Indiegogo supporters will receive their Evoke at a discount of 60-70% below retail. In fact, Indiegogo supporters will be receiving their units at below our cost to make them. The initial units will feature a different type of wood veneer from all future versions, so initial supporters will always be able to identify their unit, as from the special first production batch!
We’ve been answering questions, comments, and requests put in our direction all year, and also try to put out a reasonable amount of updates. So far we haven’t been interacting with the online vape community forums, but as we get closer to production and more parts of Evoke come together we plan on putting out a lot more information for the community to discuss. We’ve also shown Evoke to some supporters who reached out to us, although this has been limited to supporters geographically close to us. Finally, we do plan on asking for volunteer beta testers down the line to help us iron out any final issues.
Out of the three versions of Evoke, which one is the most sought after?
The dry leaf induction core is the most requested.
Will there be a video displaying Evoke’s Bluetooth capability soon?
There will be videos demonstrating Evokes Bluetooth capability. Those capabilities will be shown in new e-liquid, dry leaf, and concentrates videos demonstrating their use. We’ve had Bluetooth capability for a while now (although the app is not yet done), and have been testing different heating profiles.
Consumers tend to favor companies that are transparent; good, bad, or ugly. Is there anything you would like customers to know about Loto Labs?
Some people are understandably frustrated waiting for Evoke. We want to tell them that we want to get an Evoke into their hands just as badly as they do. We’re working towards it constantly, and getting a little closer everyday. Our goal since day one has been to make Evoke as good as possible as quickly as possible, so people can experience the wonders of induction vaping. We’re closer than ever to achieving this, and we really think that people will love Evoke.
I am honored to have this opportunity to highlight Loto Labs and I would like to thank Matt for giving me the opportunity post this Q&A on my blog. Hopefully, Loto Labs has shed some light on the status of Evoke as well as its’ future, and I’m definitely looking forward to when Evoke starts to ship. If you have any comments, please leave them below. Also follow me on twitter and like my Facebook page. There are a lot more marijuana startup posts coming soon.