Everything to know about North America’s new marketplace for plant-based essentials

Nov 10 2021, 9:19 pm

The way we think about grocery shopping and the foods we fill our carts with has changed significantly since the onset of the pandemic.

Instead of buying from big brands, we’re looking at ways we can support the local businesses and sustainable food producers that make up the fabric of our communities. Considering this, the integrated e-commerce marketplace Vejii launched at the perfect time.

BC-based entrepreneurs Darren Gill and Kory Zelickson brought their parent technology company Vejii Holdings Ltd. to life in Canada, and in November 2020, expanded into the US market to provide sustainable plant-based products to a bigger consumer base.

The integrated marketplace, which now features over 500 brands specializing in vegan and plant-based products, went public on the Canadian Stock Exchange (CSE) on Tuesday under the ticker “VEJI.” 

Vejii functions differently from a standard e-commerce platform in that it connects buyers and sellers (in a similar vein to Amazon). Brands can sell directly to consumers on Vejii, handling the picking, packing, and shipping themselves for a fee once registered.

Alternatively, brands have the option to take advantage of the Vejii distribution network and have the marketplace manage their fulfillment services for them directly to the end customer (again, this could be likened to Amazon’s fulfilment services with shipping outsourced).

Vejii also offers Vejii Express, an expedited service that lets customers choose their favourite products from an expansive list and have them all shipped together from one centralized warehouse as opposed to multiple packages arriving from different carriers. All products listed on Vejii Express typically ship from Vejii’s distribution centre within one to two business days.

Since its inception, Vejii has partnered with Canadian companies including Nabati, Nexe, Sol Cuisine, Plant Veda, and Boosh Foods to list and sell their products in the Canadian and US markets. On its marketplace platform, other major brands can also be found — from Beyond Meat to Oatly.

Going public was not the only major announcement for Vejii Holdings Ltd. to share this week. The company also announced its acquisition of Vegan Essentials, a Wisconsin-based online company founded in 1997 that exclusively sells vegan products.

Vegan Essentials was one of the first online vegan marketplaces and has won awards from VegNews for its offerings, including best online vegan store (2005 to 2018) and best online vegan grocer (2018 to 2021). The company’s scale and buying power, along with its distribution centre, will build on Vejii’s foundation.

Combined, the companies have over 130,000 subscribers across North America and Europe and are working to scale fast to result in one of the largest niche marketplaces online.

“The acquisition of Vegan Essentials and commencement of trading on the CSE are two incredible milestones for our company,” CEO of Vejii, Zelikson, said in a news release. “I am incredibly proud of our team and their commitment to creating what is poised to be a leading North American plant-based and sustainable-living marketplace.”

Zelikson noted that the company’s database of consumer buying insights now goes back to 1997, something that will allow them to look at strategic acquisitions, new brands, and growth within new markets.

For more information about Vejii, whether in terms of investment opportunities or to support Canadian-owned plant-based brands, visit vejiiholdings.com.

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