What's worse? The bugs in your home or the insecticides that kill them?


Just because there were plenty of traditional insecticide sprays on the market, that didn’t mean that consumers felt good about using them. Consumers expressed fear of spraying insecticides inside of their home – especially with kids or pets around. Not to mention, the inconvenience of sprays that require people to clean out their rooms and leave their house until it was “safe enough” to return.

We saw an opportunity for a disruptive product that could improve consumer’s lives

And we got connected to a Boston-based company who already had a head start. They had created a small plug-in device that would lure flying bugs with light and trap them in a replaceable cartridge. So, we acquired it. After partnering with entomologists – or “bug experts” – it was time to test our new and improved design and proposition, starting at select Home Depot stores and through sales online.

Through testing, we uncovered a game changing insight

The plug-in was nice. For flying insects. But what about all those creepy crawly bugs? The ones you want to be able to kill on the spot. To solve this problem, we knew we’d need a spray.And we’d need a formula that was effective and different than the scary, traditional pesticide ingredients.

After an acquisition, we struck up a new strategic partnership

P&G Ventures partnered with a North Carolina company called Envance Technologies, who had top essential oil-based know-how and capabilities. Knowing that certain substances, such as Lemongrass Oil and Geraniol could affect bugs’ nerve receptors we had uncovered a smart approach to home pest control. This solution would be deadly to bugs, yet safe for use around people and pets when used as directed.

This is what a win looks like

Unlike our initial trap investors who were looking for an opportunity to sell their idea outright, Envance was excited to stay involved in the business. So, we struck up a custom arrangement that would bring Zevo Sprays – with BioSelective Technology TM – to market

In less than 12 months, Zevo was in limited distribution at Home Depot and online

We tapped into our areas of expertise – brand, messaging, and packaging – while leveraging our relationship with the same manufacturer as Febreze. The supplier’s expertise helped us move at speed through qualification into production.

A standout product that stands out on shelves

Most spray products in this category have very aggressive package visuals (you’ve seen the dark cans with lightning bolts and dead bugs). So, for our Ant, Roach, and Fly Spray, we used a plastic bottle where the consumer could see the clear product inside.

And we’re only getting started

We made it possible for both sets of Zevo entrepreneurs to partner with us in unique ways that made sense for them. And, instead of going to a VC firm, getting seed money, and having to figure out all sorts of stuff on their own, we were able to show up as a strong partner – from consumer insights, brand building, manufacturing scale, sales and distribution networks, product development, regulatory, legal, and more.

Today, Zevo is continuing to grow quickly behind a strong consumer proposition fueled by technology and strategic partnerships.