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30 Best CEOs Of the Year 2020

An Interview with Neil Fineman, greenONE Holdings Inc CEO: ‘We Address the Issue of Manufacturers Being Forced to Depend upon Digestion as the Standard for Getting Nutrition into the Human Body’

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“Infused with vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes, it’s easy to see how iDrink Nano-Nutrient Water is truly a first-of-its-kind.”

Nanotechnology refers to a broad range of tools, techniques and applications that simply involve tiny particles on a scale from 1 nanometer in size, to a few hundred nanometers in diameter. Particles of this size have some unique physicochemical and surface properties that lend themselves to novel uses. Indeed, leading advocates of nanotechnology believe that it will contribute to solving some of the major problems we’re faced with today; like ensuring a safe supply of drinking water for a growing population, replenishing nutrition in our food supply, as well as our soil; and even delivering medication safer and more effectively.

In light of the foregoing, we’re thrilled to present greenONE Holdings Inc.

greenONE, the creators of idrink, are a Nano-Nutrient company that developed the world’s first multi-vitamin water, by utilizing a very unique type of nano-technology. Figuring out how to surround miniaturized vitamins with water clusters, a team of doctors and scientists were able to create a nutrient formula, where the ingredients are now rapidly absorbed by the body. The resulting bio-availability, enables the body to “go to work” fast; and the water encapsulation process, for the first time, allows some very pungent vitamins and minerals, to remain tasteless, and colourless. The creators of iDrink Nano Nutrient Water call it “an IV in a bottle.” greenONE is a ‘green company’ utilizing natural plant-based vitamins, with zero taste, zero fillers; and products that are only GMO and BPA free.

The company was incorporated in 2014, and is headquartered in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Revenue Model

greenONE Holdings Inc. brands shelf-ready examples of this technology (iDrink, iHydrate, iNourish, iRevive, and Nano ThryveRx), that were created to solve specific consumers issues. They offer these products to the ‘health and wellness’ marketplace. The company utilizes this front-line branding and distribution, to create awareness of the technology in each market. Their ultimate goal is to establish partnerships with brands and manufacturers that are focused on producing more ‘functional’ versions of their own products. Facilitating those realtionships to their science and manufacturing partners is greenONE’s dual approach to this “one of a kind” technology.

Rewind: Taking Flight

greenONE Holdings Inc. was established with the awareness  that a new technology fit perfectly with nutrition and rapid hydration in the human body. The CEO, Neil Fineman, recognized the uniqueness of a water-encapsulated, nano- technology that he envisioned for human consumption; even though it was being used for agricultural applications at the time. Neil set out to create a partnership with the scientists behind this technology, who were effectively reducing the size of vitamins (so they could be absorbed faster), while rendering even the worst tasting nutrients (like fish oil and turmeric), tasteless. Neil believed this new “delivery system”, needed to be effectively packaged for ‘Mainstream America’ consumers, and showcased to other manufacturers. Negotiating an exclusive, world-wide beverage contract, began the relationship; it also necessitated a ‘first-of its-kind’ example that could exhibit the technology, and prove the benefits of its use. The creation of iDrink Nano-Nutrient Water, is the breakthrough of shrinking down numerous essential vitamins and minerals (so the body’s stomach doesn’t need to), and thus absorb them faster. Combine that with the ability to make all of these ingredients tasteless, odorless, and clear; and you have a potentially game-changing proposition, in food and beverage; and possibly even medicine.

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(Nano) Technology: That Aides greenONE Outshine Competition

This ‘water-based’, nano technology (using water ‘clusters’ to deliver nutrients, instead of sugar or even alcohol) gives greenONE the ability to introduce numerous products that target precise consumer issues. Products can be designed specifically for nutrition, health, hydration, pain, anxiety, sleep, concentration, and even recovery. Since the ingredients are miniaturized (nano-sized) to 1-20 nano-meters (1/1000 the size of a red blood cell), they now have the ability to avoid the stomach, for the first time. This means they can be rapidly absorbed into the cells, on a grand scale. By creating products that are both bio available and healthy, consumers may actually now begin ‘feeling’ the benefits of the beverage, while they are still enjoying it.

Moreover, consumers are demanding ‘better for you’ products that work much faster, use dramatically less sugar and still have a decent taste profile. They want products that help them perform better; whether it’s at work or at play. Since manufacturers have relied on sugar for so long, to deliver nutrients, this poses a difficult proposition for most other brands and manufacturers.

Neil Fineman, greenONE Holdings Inc CEO, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Q. What was the motivation to start the company and how did it all come together?

My motivation has always been my father, Jerry Fineman. Jerry was the man who convinced Walt Disney to let him put his creations onto toys. He created hundreds of popular toys, and knew exactly how to brand and market them. His Tickle Me Elmo creation, coupled with the idea of open packaging, is still the greatest selling toy of all time. I spent my childhood listening to his philosophy on relationships and creating great products for consumers of all ages. It wasn’t until I saw this technology though, that I was inspired to follow in his footsteps. He always said to me: “Do what you enjoy and what you’re passionate about. If you follow that advice, I promise you, your work will become play.” I spent most of my adult life, taking companies public and funding other people’s visions. My passion though, like my father’s, was performance. The path to incorporating this new delivery system into mainstream culture, is quite similar to the one he took over 40 years ago. Realizing you have something unique, is only half the battle. The other half, is showing the most mainsteam of consumers, how they can enhance their lives, by including your product into their daily routines.

Q. What are the pain points of the industry addressed by the company?

For the last 100 years, manufacturers have been forced to depend upon digestion as the standard for getting nutrition into the human body. greenONE attacks this issue for the first time. Additionally, the industry’s use of using sugar to deliver those nutrients, has been a pain point were excited to address.

Here’s a brief overview of the products and services we offer:

We started by introducing iDrink Nano Nutrient Water in Las Vegas, and quickly realized that shipping water to excited tourists back in their hometowns, was an expensive prospect; due to its size and weight. Since small amounts of our concentrated nutrients were having impressive results on consumers, we evolved to include small “shots”, that addressed specific issues. We can cost effectively ship iHydrate, iNourish, and iRevive (which are 3 oz. shots), anywhere in the world now. Products that help with rapid hydration, ‘keto meal replacement’, and recovery, are now realistic SKU’s. We even created a concentrated, daily essential nutrient, and antioxidant/immune booster, called iDrink Nano Nutrient (think a rapid absorption liquid Centrum), that could cheaply utilize Amazon or mass shipping. All of these ideas (including a high-end CBD line), address specific consumer needs (pain, nutrition, hydration, mental clarity, etc.). Ultimately though, they show manufacturers that more functional versions of their current lines, are not only possible, but that we can help facilitate that.

Q. Who are some of your biggest clients?

Supermarkets like Albertsons, Vons, Pavilions, and Winn Dixie’s are some of our biggest clients at the moment; as well as a growing number of convenience stores around the West Coast (1,000 AM/PM’s are set to carry iDrink in October). We’re excited to have consumers pulling our product off of the shelves in convenience stores and supermarkets, but we understand that new buyers only have our label and word of mouth to go on. This is why we are concentrating on brand ambassadors and centers of influence to speak directly to our consumers; until we can do it effectively ourselves. On the manufacturing side, we first saw a lot of Biopharma and CBD companies coming at us, as they both immediately understood the technology, and its benefits. Now, a growing number of main stream brands and manufacturers, are becoming our partners and clients. Facilitating the production of ‘better for you’ brands, is fast becoming a dependable business model for us.

Moreover, we’ve tested the products with both amateur and professional athletes in numerous sports. We’ve also conducted several university studies on the effectiveness of technology in different applications. Currently, a very large biopharma company has contracted to do The PK studies we need. Comparing this technology’s effectiveness against larger well-known brands is a major “next step” for us. We believe this will empower the manufacturing industry to move quicker towards producing more functional brands for consumers.

Q. What were the challenges that you faced initially?

Becoming an entrepreneur with a goal of changing existing marketplaces has been nothing short of challenging. Starting, funding, and stewarding this company became the single most demanding goal of my life. The process has tested my resolve each day; and forced me to look at problems from multiple angles, not just my own. Seeing this water encapsulation technology as a ‘next gen’ delivery system for nutrients into the human body, has been only a starting point. What was first a celebration though, quickly became a fight to defend our position. While I was busy building excitement among my shareholders over garnering this technology, I already had suitors conspiring to copy it. When they couldn’t do that, they stole our nutrient drums that were meant for the introduction of The iDrink brand. Instead of focusing on brand introduction, we were forced to spend our time, and money, on legally shutting them down. Even while we were successfully defending our exclusivity (and formula), in court, we had to deal with people trying to bribe our scientists into making a machine for the technology, behind our backs. Finding distributors, partners, and investors after this experience, has been quite a pleasurable process in comparison.

Q. Getting approval from the FDA is a tough feat, how did you manage to get it?

We studied the guidelines and FDA requirements and realized that we needed to give the FDA a wide berth for approval. Instead of spending millions of dollars trying to show them this technology’s ability to address maladies and ailments; we decided instead, to present it as just another process for putting nutrients in beverages. After clearing that smaller hurdle, we have now set our sights on convincing the public through trial, demonstration, and referral; rather than through boastful claims.

Q. What other successful CEOs do you look up to?

As a fan of The History Channel, and The Men That Made America Great; I am in awe of John D. Rockefeller. He not only saw a great market coming (oil), he avoided the risk of wildcatting by perfecting the business of refinement. He even made the product safer through lower combustion. Rockefeller sold investors on oil even when the market was in doubt (kerosene in lamps was first thought to be dangerous), by putting the product into safe metal cans. He used the railroads to get better margins, and used the immense profits to convince competitors to partner with him. I admire his ability to adjust to bad news when others couldn’t. When price fixing became a challenge, he adjusted by creating the first pipelines for in The US. Rockefeller even overcame the effects of electricity on his kerosene business, by utilizing the more volatile version of Kerosine-Gasoline; and applying it to the new car industry. A true master of evolving!

Q. If you had one piece of  advice to someone just starting out, what would it be?

Find someone you trust and admire in business and do everything you can to work for him; even if it’s for free. Having a master of an industry apprentice, guide and empower you, will give you the self belief

That  you need, to carve your own path.  Andrew Carnegie worked for Tom Scott and was empowered to create the first steel structures in the US. All the great leaders had a willing mentor.

Give me one word that describes you the best.

One word describes me the best: Passionate.

Q. What is the road map ahead?

We will continue to introduce beneficial, healthy products aimed at helping consumers hydrate faster, absorb nutrition better, perform at a higher level, and even deal with pain, anxiety and mental acuity. We’re going to concentrate on funding our science partners, so that we can share this next gen technology with manufacturers and other brands around the world. We’re just one company, but licensing and teaming up with bigger partners, means we can speed up the opportunity for consumers worldwide, to experience this new delivery system for nutrients.

Neil Fineman, a Formidable Leader:  In His Own Words

My father, Jerry Fineman, was one of the first men in the US to gain custody of his boys; well before he had made a name for himself. This forced my brother to watch over me. His toughness shaped me from an early age. I was forced to compete and hold my own physically (and mentally ) against his friends that were quite older and bigger than I was. Adapting became a necessity. I parlayed this adaptability into being one of the first scholarship students of what is now IMG’s Sports Academy for future professional athletes. I again trained with kids that were bigger, stronger, and more experienced. I found that the flexible and tough mentality that was forged through sports, and competition, served me even better in the business world. I watched and listened to my father who included me at a very young age in his strategic thinking and product development. I was allowed, and encouraged, to go to the office with him, and attend meetings and preparation for sales presentations. This even led to independent thinking and improving some of his existing products. This kind of problem-solving was far more exciting to me and was ultimately the reason why I chose to attend a top scholastic college, rather than a top athletic one.

I have a bachelor’s degree in Economics and Finance from Emory University.

“In the manufacturing industry, we’ve a growing number of brands and manufacturers that are now licensing the technology, and asking us to facilitate their production of ‘better for you’ product.”