Virun with Philip Bromley feature #62 of Together Talks
Updated: Oct 25
"Together Talks" feature #62: Virun presented by KLS, freight company
Some Background on Virun
For today's edition of "Together Talks" campaign, KLS had the opportunity to interview Virun and CEO, Philip Bromley. You’re wondering how it works! To start, no matter the application, they can make it! Virun has over 100 patents and patent-pending technologies; which enables them to match your idea to a product that doesn’t compromise on flavor or efficacy.
With over 20 years of experience in manufacturing, they can help you create the perfect finished food, beverage, supplement, and pharmaceutical products. Each of their technologies is backed by proven scientific research and analysis. Find out more about each of Virun's most prominent technologies!
Unaware starting a company
The company was founded in 2003, but incredibly as Philip shared, he didn't know he was even starting a business. He is a scientist by heart and was previously doing drug trials. His idea centered around Lactoferrin, a protein found in human breast milk, that absorbs iron and delivers to blood plasma. Philip wondered if the protein could be used for other applications like insulin for example, could it travel throughout the body and deliver insulin in the same way it does with iron. Ultimately he sold his IP to a company that would fund the start of Virun where they began focusing on drug development.
Philip told us this was around age 29 after college. He didn't have kids yet, he didn't have expectations or fear. He just jumped off the cliff and went for it.
About five years after forming, they transitioned from drug manufacturing to dietary supplements. They had found that their IP really helped with flavors in this space. Virun has the ability to create savory flavors. They achieve removing the fishy flavors, by using nitrogen gas which displaces oxygen. Virun was also seeing that the market was demanding alternative "deliverables" outside of a soft gel. This became their opening to partner with some amazing companies to provide these unique and incredible flavors, while providing the maximum efficacy.
Philip took us through the journey, "I feel like we've started five businesses within this one company. My personality is loyal. I'm with the same company, same business partner, my wife for over 20 years. What I was creating at 29, we aren't making today. We have continued to pivot and evolve and it has been such a ride."
He shared with us that their company was way ahead of its time with their capacity. Philip said they have had the ability to do what they are doing now for the last 10-15 years, but not until recently has the market understood the options outside of hard or soft gel. The products they are helping create with their partners provide consumers the opportunity to be creative and create their own concoctions.
Philip explained that ideal companies for Virun have a synergy with them, "We want companies who will not only challenge us, but who want to be challenged as well. That is where our true creativity and innovation is unlocked." The core of its business focuses on impressionistic and innovative thinking that allows water-insoluble ingredients to be incorporated into new food, beverage, supplement or drug applications to market through safe and effective delivery technology. To date, Virun is responsible for developing over 50 product concentrates and over 100 commercialized products that allow difficult-to-dissolve, fortifiable ingredients into food and beverage applications that are associated with efficacious health claims.
Partner with KLS
KLS offers LTL and FTL for both dry and reefer transportation.
Our nationwide coverage provides companies a reliable, consistent, and dependable logistics partner to handle your trucking needs.
For more information on how we can help call our office today 708-980-0920 or reach us via our email quote request here!
Embrace the WEIRD
We asked Philip how the company markets the brand and solicits new partners. He informed us it is a 3 pronged approach.
1: LinkedIn - Philip's preferred choice of social media engagement. Not only him but his company are unapologetically themselves. They are transparent and open and inviting that their culture is true to who they are and what they believe in.
2: Networking - Philip said having over 20+ years in the industry he has developed many relationships over the years, (even used a fun old term, rolodex!). The rapport developed has transcended people leaving companies as they transition in their career, but usually end up getting Virun and opportunity at their next position as well.
3: Tradeshows - Philip explained these started in 2013. The company was in the red, didn't have a revenue yet so the budget was tight. He told us he remembered seeing these large corporations have these massive displays and he wondered how in the world could they make Virun stand out?
The first tradeshow of Virun, they decided to make a yellow submarine (with the Beatles playing of course!) that allowed visitors to walk through the submarine and look out. The company made it inhouse and truly just had fun with it. This was a pivotal moment as they realized they could be unique, different, rebellious, WEIRD, but mainly just have fun and create an experience.
In the following years they have had the following:
Hot Wheels Go Kart
Underwater adventure to Atlantis
Flying to Mars
Bottomless shots and beer at any time
And this year they will have a carnival and circus, check the link here!
Philip told us that being different and standing out was not only fun, but imperative for them. They found ways to compete with the big players while not exceeding their budget. Their ROI was through the roof and they were creating memories by selling an experience at every tradeshow they attend.
Turning a profit
Philip shared some insight with us about the company, but first he told me about a story of talking with a fellow CEO early in his career, "We were talking and he said, how long do you think it took for our company to turn a profit. I threw out a few years, he said nope, 17 years. In my head I'm thinking no way no me, it will be a few years." 15 was the magic number for Virun. But those hurdles just provided new opportunities as Philip mentioned that allowed the company to pivot, develop further, and evolve.
He credits the company's longevity and success to its commitment to their process and the people. He mentioned something that sets Virun apart is their quick lead time. Most companies are in the 3-4 month range, Virun is 2-3 WEEKS! Philip also applauded their versatility as a real game-changer in the industry. Their solutions provide very efficacious doses that are all natural, vegan, all organic while providing credibility as well.
The people and the culture was the part he was most excited to talk about. The company is constantly holding work functions. They have done multiple cruises where employees bring their family members with them. The culture is a representation of the people and the beliefs of the company. Philip was most proud telling us, "Many of our employees have been here over five years which I love, but they have told me this is the best company they have worked for. It means a lot because we don't try to make it that way, we just are who we are."
During Covid, Virun faced the issues of supply chain like everyone else. They found a solution by opening a second location outside of Dublin, Ireland. It solves any possibly issues they may face again in supply chain. They also had a revelation. This serves as their bridge to the Europe market. Philip and certain team members travel once a month to the plant to meet with customers, check on operations, and just enjoy the culture. Recently Virun has started getting business in UAE and Indonesia and their plan is to open a third facility in Indonesia or Malaysia, "This would give us full access to serve across the world. We would have our three locations planted and how cool would that be?"
The remainder of 2023 the company hopes to continue expanding the Europe operation. Virun also plans to further automate production lines in both facilities featuring AI. And last they want to create more partnerships that allows them to continue to push the envelope and create new products, flavors, and deliverables.
The entirety of our conversation with Philip he spent sitting on a desk in his office surrounded by what he called things from in his mind, a basketball hoop, a weight bench, music, space helmets (covering a fun liquid), and the craziest thing we have ever seen...bird cages hanging from the ceiling. Philip explained those, "In 2014, we brought on a board of directors. They like to talk money, I hate talking money. So when they would come to the office for board meetings I had an idea, install these bird cages with seats in them for our board members to sit in. They aren't very comfortable so they don't stay long, very effective." Crazy, but right on brand!
He told us how crazy it is he is sitting here talking with us over 20 years after starting this work. Philip told us he can't imagine not doing this, he loves his job, his company, and his work. He credits overcoming and doubts and fears to getting where he needed to by desperation and creativity. "I go back to the snowball cascade of our pivots. We create something that is successful, but over time it becomes obsolete so we improve and expand our capabilities." They may not always see what is coming on the horizon, but Virun continues to adapt and come out a better version as a company.
Getting to work with great people, create using his scientific mind, travel (his daughter is about to enroll in college in Ireland in addition to their facility there), Philip considers his opportunity priceless. He shared with us his piece of advice, "Steer clear of the cliche of 'anybody can do whatever they want'. Truth of the matter is work is hard, regardless of the job. No job will be easy. So all you can do is work hard and progress, but it gets better and easier over time, so long as you make your job fun. Then it will be worth it. Combine work with a culture and attitude that embodies fun and enjoyment and everything seems to work out better."
Which fits perfectly with their motto of "think like a kid".
Think more like a kid without any obstructions or doubts or hurdles.
Become more like a kid with an innocence, a belief, confidence and encouragement.
Innovate more as a result.
Interested in being featured with "Together Talks"?
KLS is booking our upcoming schedule now!
Contact us as we would love to learn your story and share it amongst our audience.
Weekly we provide 2 companies our platform to expand their reach courtesy of our campaign. Let's collaborate!!!
KLS wants to thank Philip Bromley, CEO, Virun for today's "Together Talks" feature. Keep up to date with Virun by following their blog on their website, check it out here. Follow along for the Virun journey with their social handles below!
Also check out where Virun recently featured on the "Power of Perseverance" podcast, here.
Klimson Logistics Solutions - Together Talks with Virun feature #62
*Klimson Logistics Solutions is an Industry Leading Customer Service 3PL. Our focus and commitment to our clients has us striving to be the BEST customer service 3PL for LTL, FTL, Reefer, and Drayage in the country. KLS, freight company, is a 3PL providing nationwide logistics solutions. KLS shipping services include: LTL freight, FTL freight, Reefer LTL freight, Reefer FTL freight, and Drayage. Klimson Logistics Solutions thanks you for viewing our marketing campaign, "Together Talks". If you have any interest in being featured or questions regarding your freight operations please contact us today!
Our precise and reliable effort.
We handle every shipment with the exact same process. It does not matter if you move one shipment a year or ten per day, you will receive the same level of customer service from us. When we started this company, we had one goal in mind, treat every shipment like it was our own. With our vast knowledge of the industry, we understood what a customer would want from a communication standpoint. We applied that process to be the standard here at KLS. Our reliability and being able to depend on our consistency is why we have such long-standing relationships with our clients.
Every shipment in our industry starts with a quote. We are firm believers that time is money, thus we strive to have quotes back in a 5-10 minute reply time for LTL and FTL, any FCL quotes are at the mercy of the carriers getting back to us. For LTL we have the flexibility to quote both off of NMFC and also Density depending on the carrier. Utilizing our services, you’re allowing us to use our expertise to class your freight accordingly to ensure we are providing the best rate we possibly can.
Once a quote has been submitted and a client chooses to proceed with KLS handling the arrangement of the shipment our full process begins. We create the BOL that will be used for the shipment. If it is a new location for our system, we will obtain all the important/special details (reference numbers, contact details, shipping hours, closed for lunch, dock/doors, etc.). We meticulously build every detail into our software for all future shipments involving that location. After we have both locations built and necessary reference numbers have been applied we will tender the shipment to the carrier. We use this method because it provides us a real time pickup number from the carrier to obtain updates prior to pickup. Our staff will either email the BOL directly to you or to the shipper (at your request) the minute after the tender has been accepted by the carrier. LTL carriers require a 2 hour window prior to close time in order to schedule it for a same-day pickup attempt.
The following morning you’ll receive an email from us. It will either provide the reason the pickup was missed (driver’s trailer filled up, driver missed the close time, truck broke down, shipper said no freight, etc.) or if the pickup was successful you will receive the PRO (tracking) number from us, along with the eta for delivery. Our staff will track it throughout the duration of transit and advise if anything happens that will alter the estimated delivery date. The day the shipment delivers we will email you with confirmation and the POD (Proof of Delivery), should you require it.
Your shipment has been quoted, scheduled, picked up, and delivered. The next step is waiting for the carrier to invoice us and make sure the rate matches up. If it does, we close out the invoice from the carrier in our system and automatically your invoice is created and sent to the requested party at your company. In the event the carrier has an additional charge on their invoice “Variance”, we will never send you an invoice with an additional charge without first identifying you of the charge.
Let us repeat, NEVER WILL WE JUST BILL OUT AN EXTRA CHARGE WITHOUT YOU BEING NOTIFIED.
You are our customer, we represent you. Should the carrier provide an extra charge on an invoice, “Lift gate, additional weight, reclass, detention, etc.) We notify you of the charge via email first. Second, within that email we identify what is required should you choose to dispute the charge. Again our goal is to honor your request, if you want to dispute, we will dispute. During a dispute we will provide you updates every step along the way. Once a dispute is closed out, whether it is approved or rejected, then we will invoice you as the invoice has been resolved.
For reference, our company only had 6.2% of all shipments go to dispute in 2022 and we successfully won 91% of those disputes on behalf of our customers.
This is our process for every single shipment you move with us. We don’t cut corners, we don’t hide from difficult situations. We believe in being available, honest, and transparent. We don’t ever want to tell you that a shipment is lost, damaged, misrouted, but it is our duty to notify you the second we find out something has gone wrong. We hate to present bad news, but it is part of the job. What you can guarantee is that we will work a shipment all the way through and turn over every stone until we get a resolution for our clients.
Our core business is LTL and FTL. Within these options we have options for both dry and refrigerated/frozen. We also offer FCL/Drayage options. Our company as a 3PL has nationwide options and services clients across the US.
Let’s breakdown our services more in-depth
LTL: Standard and Guaranteed CFS (Imports & Exports) Tradeshows Hazmat Anything that is on a pallet can be moved LTL. Typically LTL is up to 10 pallets, but the sweet spot for a carrier is 6-8 pallets at most for an individual shipment. LTL quotes are good between 5-30 days depending on the carrier. LTL can be quoted either via NMFC or density to determine the class (we do this for you).
Volume: Anything over 10-12’ of space in the truck is the technical rule for a volume shipment. When we run a quote for you we will determine if it qualifies for volume and provide you a rate if available. Volume moves allow you to get a reduced rate for larger shipments. The caveat to volume shipments it the quotes are only valid for 3-7 days and they move on capacity between terminals. If a terminal is backed up they will move their LTL freight first before the volume freight, which can lead to longer transit times for volume moves.
FTL/Dedicated/Expedited: 53’ Dry and Reefer 26’ Box trucks with lift gate Sprinter Van The main difference for FTL vs LTL is space and transit time. For standard pallets you can fit either 26 or 30 pallets in a 53’ dry van. The other main difference is transit time, for FTL each day counts in the transit time, whereas LTL does not count the day of pickup, weekends, or holidays in their transit time.
Reefer/Frozen: LTL and FTL We specialize working in the CPG space with food manufacturers. We regularly deliver to the following locations: Kehe UNFI Core Mark DPI Wegmans Cugini H.T. Hackney Netrition HEB ALDI Chambers and Owens EBY Brown Nassau Candy Harris Teeter Wakefern NU INC Long Distribution
What makes KLS different?
There are thousands for freight brokers and 3PL in our industry. Barrier to entry is rather easy and agents or owners will often hire sales people without any intention of properly training them. It results in high turnover for many freight companies and a forgettable experience for the client. We choose to operate differently through our consistency. We truly care about doing right by our clients and prospects too. While we would love to help provide our services to every company we speak with, that just isn’t realistic. We won’t always be the right fit for every company that moves freight and that is ok. Our authenticity as a shipping company sets us apart from the competition and that is backed up by our testimonials. We also run a marketing campaign bi-weekly called “Together Talks”. We interview, highlight, and promote two businesses every week. Our goal is to grow our network, make new connections, and learn something new with each collaboration. Check it out on our website and if you’re interested in being featured reach out.
Our company also runs a year long charity promotion. Book your first shipment through KLS and we donate to the charity of your choice in your name. Our way of thanking you for giving us an opportunity to show you the KLS way and what makes us one of a kind. This entire package is what we offer to every prospect and every client. Our goal is to help provide answers that customers may have when it comes to shipping. We want to always be available as a resource and will always offer a lending hand whenever we can.