The purpose of Client Tell is to spotlight the incredible work of our clients, and to help businesses learn from and connect with each other. We chatted with Zachary Fearnside, Co-Founder of Aeva Labs, to learn how this Raleigh startup is innovating the alcohol distilling industry.
Zachary Fearnside and Steven Guido met their freshman year at North Carolina State University, when they were randomly assigned to the same dorm hall. They were both beginning their studies in engineering, with Steven pursuing all things mechanical and Zachary taking the electrical and computer engineering track.
The students hit it off immediately, taking the same internship with the U.S. government’s Nuclear Weapons Program. From there, Steven went to work in Process Control, and Zachary found his specialty in Radio Frequency Engineering and Data Acquisition.
During their academic career, both engineers went to work for local startups, not yet knowing that their paths would later come back together for an exciting new business. Zachary recalled:
“We both got a taste for entrepreneurship, and we became intrigued with all the opportunities for innovation and collaboration that come from developing a new technology. We also enjoyed the freedom and creativity the startup world provided us.”
In February of 2018, Zachary and Steven decided to bring their engineering expertise and entrepreneurial interests together to develop a software-controlled equipment that naturally ages alcohol more than 100 times faster than traditional barrel-aging. They founded Aeva Labs to bring the tech-enabled process to distilleries looking to accelerate their production process and keep it in house.
A Better Way To Distill
Using only alcohol and wood, the startup enables distilleries of all sizes to produce aged alcohol without additives, ready for bottling in days instead of years. This turn-key solution allows for better quality control, more creative and customized flavor profiles, and increased profit margins. Zachary explained:
“We take all the pain, time, and guesswork out of the aging process. Our equipment scales depending on a company’s needs. Whether it’s a bottle at a time to test a new recipe or an order for thousands of cases, we’ve got it covered. Our goal is to move our system forward, honing the aging process to get more ‘years of flavor’ in a shorter time frame.”
Zachary said one of the keys to Aeva Lab’s growth was thinking outside the box when raising early-stage capital. “When we expanded our efforts beyond the more fiscally-conservative Triangle to New York, Boston, California and D.C., we found a bigger pool of investors who cared about and respected our vision,” he shared. “We had the challenge of introducing a very nontraditional concept into an extremely traditional market, but once we began sharing our ideas in the right circles, the excitement started to build.”
When asked to share his wisdom for other tech startups, Zachary advised up-and-coming founders to start networking as soon as possible. “You’ll get so many hidden gems just by talking to other entrepreneurs in your community,” he remarked. He also stressed the importance of building a solid team from the beginning, with co-founders and partners you can wholeheartedly trust, saying:
“There are so many moving parts to launching a strong company, and there isn’t time to check up on people. We got hooked up with the team at Fourscore Business Law early in the process. They are flexible and easy to work with, understanding our timelines and providing much-needed support.”
To learn more, visit AevaLabs.com