Nuvata’s Vapes Bridge The Mind, Body, And Cannabis Divide
Feature by Emily Berkey
Mar 22, 2020 · 12 min read

Nuvata’s Mind Body vape series contains six thoughtful formulations of cannabis ranging in color, flavor, and effect - making it easy to dial in your mind, body, and in between.

When Andy Singh was 13 years old, his family moved from Los Angeles back to Bangkok, where he was born. Andy spent his formative years growing up in Thailand influenced by both cultures, with an appreciation for the best of Eastern and Western values. Once he moved back to California, he earned a degree in economics from the University of California, Santa Barbara in just three years. Eager to start working, he founded a logistics company coordinating freight transportation for Fortune 500 companies such as Costco, Walmart, UPS and Amazon. While he found financial success, Andy was driven by his entrepreneurial spirit he inherited from his father and decided he wanted to shift gears to something else.

Enter Nuvata.

Andy founded the cannabis company in 2018 with mindfulness and wellness at the forefront. Now, nearly a year after it started, Nuvata’s Mind Body vape line, which offers six varieties of flavored THC/CBD vape pens at a 9:1 ratio, can be found in more than 40 dispensaries. We spoke to Andy about creating a consumer product that is easy to understand, his favorite products, and what’s next for his company, including expanding his vape line to include more CBD-dominant strains.

As a young entrepreneur, what factors aligned in your life in order for you to start the company?

I almost felt like I was destined to do something entrepreneurial, following in the footsteps of my father. I saw him come to this country with nothing, and through persistence and hard work and dedication, he found himself to be a very successful businessman. He was a great role model for me.

So, right out of college I had the option to go into corporate America and I started my own logistics business. Within three years, it turned out to be very successful. It put me in a financially sound position to have the ability to explore other options in other industries. I invested in myself, and I really put my head down and stayed to the course of trying to accomplish something big in my life. So, I kind of pivoted away from the logistics industry after [cannabis in] California became legalized, and I got the blessing from my father to go all in. He helped me a little bit on the backing because it’s very capital intensive. We went into space with over $1 million. It was great to have that support, but we had to be very strategic as to where we allocate our spending.

You think you know what weed is, then you try this, and you just transcend to a different level of a cannabis experience.

So, as far as the factors, it was being in a financially sound position and getting the consent from my parents. Specifically, my dad, because we’re Indian and it tends to be a more conservative culture. Cannabis is still stigmatized to some extent but getting the blessing from him and then getting the financial backing were two of the biggest factors that enabled me to get into this space.

I would say the third factor is the genuine and pure passion for the plant. From a consumption standpoint I definitely believe in the therapeutic properties. It helped me get through college. I just saw the opportunity to really take this and transform it into a consumer-packaged good, to pretty much streamline the process for new consumers.

What made you want to start a vape company, specifically?

I wanted to start out by providing consumers with a consistent effect, so they always knew what they were getting into. Vapes allow me to define the accuracy and consistency of the effects, since flower tends to have variances depending on how it’s grown. I also found some components lacking in the space. Hardware was not up to par, it wasn’t durable and they clogged a lot. I really wanted to provide an all-around solution. I wanted the feature of portability and convenience, simplifying the ease of logistics and consumption.

So, I picked a disposable pod. I wanted to have something that allowed for that sense of familiarity, so I introduced the flavors, because people connect with flavors. I wanted to bring that as a feature to the vape line as well, to cater to the people who are trying cannabis for the first time.

Do you remember your first time trying cannabis?

It was in high school. I was in Thailand, but cannabis there is not like cannabis here [in the U.S.]. Cannabis there is grown mushed in with soil, and potentially opium. It was very heavy indica, always indica for some reason. So, I tried that, because that’s what everyone had access to, and that was pretty much it. It was like Thai brick weed. It was not a very pleasant experience, I must say. Very sedating, my eyes got bloodshot red, munchies all over the place, it’s more enhanced because of how strong indica is with Thai weed.

Over time, I got access to California weed in Thailand. I will never forget that. It was an OG Kush, I was with my buddy at the swimming pool and it was amazing. You think you [know] what weed is, then you try this, and you just transcend to a different level of a cannabis experience.

You know, [cannabis] is really intimidating for a lot of people... I wanted to bridge that gap.

It makes sense that you would want to create something so streamlined and consistent then, having seen these different worlds of cannabis. Do you remember when you first tried a vape?

The first time I tried a vape was a dry herb vaporizer, back in college. There were no concentrated pens at the time. It was so convenient and easy, and it made your flower last so much longer, the high seemed even more enhanced. The first concentrated vaporizer I had was a pen. You had to put little wax or crumble in its pocket, close the pocket, and then use the pen. It wasn’t like a cartridge.

Let’s talk about Nuvata’s vape design. Even with such vibrant colors, your vapes are pretty discreet. They look more like a USB drive, and are about the size of a lighter. What was the process of designing your vape?

I’ll be frank. When we entered the space, there was not enough time for us to reinvent the wheel with a new design. It was very costly, so we found a manufacturer with an existing design that was almost exactly what we were looking for. We took it and we made it much better, from color coating, to a rubberized finish, to the oil winder. So we fixed the original design, but now we’ve finally created our own proprietary design, which is going to look much better than what we have now.

When is that going to launch?

Sometime this year. Full mass production will probably be [late summer or early fall].

Your Mind Body series contains six varieties of cannabis. They range in color, flavor, and effect, for “mind”, “body” and in between. At Nuvata, are those synonymous with sativa and indica?

Yes. You know, [cannabis] is really intimidating for a lot of people. It’s unknown to a lot of people, and I saw that there was a disconnect between a new consumer’s perception of cannabis, and what you could really find in the retail shops. I wanted to bridge that gap.

Which vape in your Mind Body series do you gravitate toward the most?

The Full Body, the purple one. It’s our top seller. It’s just amazing, the effects and the experience. You can really tell when there’s some CBD in there, because it’s just overall a different effect…it transcends me to a place of mindfulness. This is that perfect vape for around 8 to 10 p.m. where you just want to be up for another hour or two getting work done, relaxing on the couch, or spend time with your loved one. You kind of just melt on the bed and your pain is released a little bit. It’s a great pain release vape and it’s a great sleep vape. It also is a great intimacy vape. We’ve had people tell us how great it is in terms of enhancing intimacy with their partners.

Does your preference change for different activities?

My preferences always change. I went in with the mindset of creating a daily regimen out of this. Essentially, a person can incorporate any specific vape at any time of the day to enhance any type of activity that they’re doing.

The Full Mind, it’s like sipping coffee. It’s an active lifestyle vape, people who want to work out, who go hiking and surfing, it’s nice for them. The Tropical vape is all encompassing, between mind and body. It’s a very spiritual vape, I find that you can meditate extremely well with it…it’s a great yoga and beach vape, it gives you nice vibes like you’re on vacation. The Body Balance is also great. I tend to refer to that more as the “social” vape, for people who want to go out. The lime flavor gives it a nice kick and relates [well] with lime-flavored alcoholic beverages. Then the blue vape I refer to as a “Netflix and Chill” vape. It’s very sedating, it’s not overwhelming, unless you take a lot and then you might want to sleep on it. It’s just the perfect vape to unwind after a long day at work, that’s the best way to put it.

Let’s talk a little bit about your oils themselves. What is the sourcing, development and testing process like?

The formulations are developed by a group of Ph.D. chemists. We worked with them to get some proprietary formulations. In terms of sourcing the oil, we’ve actually vetted out some strong manufacturers throughout the state to get the best ones. We have a very robust supply chain of oil supply.

Did the recent vape pen safety scare affect your company?

That was an interesting time, because I saw what it did to a lot of the other vape companies out there, especially the big players that have distribution with 300 or 400 stores nationwide. You could really see the impact that had on them.

Now, for us I would say it’s a different story. The pushback we received was not really our sales declining. Yes, our sales declined in some of the stores, but our overall sales as a company were increasing because at the time, we were only in 25 shops, and now we’re in close to 50. It affected us because it created a barrier for us to get into stores, especially in [Northern California]. The cannabis culture there is more ingrained. It’s cherished and celebrated. They took a lot of vapes down, it was tough there. But now we’re seeing a transition out of it where things are settling down, and [the stores] are more receptive to bringing vapes on board.

A little teaser, we’re going to do something in the beverage space as well.

You mentioned that each of your Mind Body vapes have that 9:1 ratio of THC to CBD. We heard you are planning on launching a new product series called Slow, which will be CBD dominant. Can you tell us anything more about that?

Personally, I love CBD-dominant strains, a nice 20:1 [ratio] where it’s not too psycho active, but I can feel it with my body being relaxed. There is a strong demand out there for it. Some vape companies are already providing that solution. We just want to do it in a better form, with better hardware and better consistency [with the] formulation. We’re still conducting research and development, but we hope to launch that sometime this year.

Do you plan on sticking to vapes, or do you see yourself expanding to other products as well?

We’re actually going to be expanding our vape line. We’re not only going to be looking into CBD-dominant options, but we’re actually looking at the live resin market, which caters to another demographic. The seasoned veterans, the experts, the connoisseurs, we want to capture that audience and be a one-stop solution for all sorts of customers.

There’s always going to be that population that does not want to inhale anything, and I completely respect that, so what do we do? It’s always about creating solutions for consumers, because they come first for us. Right now I’m conducting [research and development] on edibles, and a little teaser, we’re going to do something in the beverage space as well.

Something we like to ask every company is if they have any social justice initiatives currently in the works, to address the reality of cannabis regulations disproportionately hurting communities of color?

Yes, and it’s not just communities of color. It’s a community of minorities. It’s people who have to conform to a system that was conditioned with a hierarchy of perception, and it’s a battle.

I implore people to challenge the status quo. Just be you, do what you feel is right, you don’t necessarily have to conform to the system. Growing up, I was always scrutinized from a racial standpoint. It was tough, I dealt with a lot of racism growing up. To me, that hits home.

Tying back to social justice, I’m a big believer of that, and a lot of people just say it, but they haven’t gone through it. I’ve been through it, so I know exactly what it feels like.

Now that you own your own cannabis company, do you see yourself working on those initiatives, through hiring practices, or supporting certain causes?

Absolutely…we’re working our way toward getting to that level, where we can start having more authority and being a part of the right movements, and really having a voice and making a positive, beneficial impact for the community. We’re working toward that as a whole with our family and the community.

Check out all of Nuvata's products below and our full catalog of vape pens here.

Photos by Emily Berkey.

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