Meet the founders of Exeat

Meet the founders of Exeat

Meet the co-founders of Exeat, Aleš Njegovan and Igor Škrjanec 


Meet the founders of Exeat, Aleš Njegovan and Igor Škrjanec..

What started with two entusiasts, grew into designing, constructing, building and testing their machine, extractor. The research and development was fueled by market demand. Soon it was followed by constructing and building Vacuum Imprengnation API and after a freeze dryer. We talked about their beginnings, plans and vision.

Aleš and Igor, founders

Aleš on the left and Igor on the right, standing next to their Vacuum impregnation machine.


How did you start the company?

Igor: It started on the basis of extractions, the need for processing the flower began to appear. This was something not developed, researched on the market. The market demand was high. But at the time there was a lot of people trying to apply cannabinoids to the flower, but not many knew exactly how to do it. And the results they had, were not good. 

What materials?

Igor: These were the various analogs of psihoactive cannabinoids. But the goal was to have a high quality while trying to lower the price of final products. Indeed, there was a need to enrich the flower, but there were problems with application. Manufacturers of machines had different ways, but the result was extremely dark and sticky flower which was not of good quality. This was the reason that we started thinking about how to make a better solution with better results.

pressure test
working on API

How did you get into extractions?

Igor: I was already involved before, since 2015 I started dealing with super critical extraction, CO2 extraction.

Then we discovered  that it is not sustainable. So we went back to butane again, and we based this coating on butane as well, because we saw what it was capable of as a solvent. And we assumed that this could be the solution to all these problems. It actually turns out to be a super solvent.

Aleš:  Starting from extraction, in fact, infusion as such was born. As a reverse extraction process. With Igor we met because of the extractor. So then we got to coating and spraying the flower. But this was not the best solution. And the next step was to solve this problem. We both kind of looked towards this market. I have already developed some products with an extractor by then.

Did you then see another opportunity on the market?

Aleš:  We began monitoring cannabis market, which was growing at that time, in fact it is still growing. And we said that they will try to find some solutions. And Igor is more than the ideal person for the development of new products, because he has a deep understanding and knowledge of in terms of technical and practical matters. I may have had a nose for it at some point that, I started just pushing that we should develop this product.

What about your professional background, Igor?

Igor:  I’m a chemist, majored in biochemistry. … But more than that, I mean definitely this is the  knowledge, which I definitely need to work in this industry. But what I also see as important or even more important is the  experience and the knowledge gained in this professional life, without it, certainly we wouldn’t be able to put the machines together.

Did you always see yourself starting your own business?

Igor: It was in the back of my head. Starting something of my own, doing something on my own.

What are the values ​​of your company? 

Aleš: Our core values are products of highest quality that answer to the markets needs. Client service. Fair play. Working with like-minded people. Teamwork. Being fast and flexible and innovative. Working with passion.

Because you have to be prepared to completely change the direction and take up another matter.
Through the development that Igor is now in charge of, this is exactly what is been happening. A new step is always being taken, with a view to the future. We are a lean company.

detail API

Where do you see yourselves and your company in five years?

Aleš: In 5 years we will still be here in this company, but with coworkers and new products.
I do not want to stay only in cannabis industry. Our aspirations are higher. We would like to work in other industries aswell. Like food, cosmetic, pharmaceutical industry. We will not stay only in the cannabis market where we made the breakthrough.
Even this market has its own limits. If you don’t come at the right time with a product that is a breakthrough product, which the new vacuum impregantion machine really is, nothing big can happen.

We want to succeed in establishing some sustainable production on the extractor. So that we could talk about being an intermediary between producers of certain plants. Will it be for cosmetics or for pharmaceuticals. We want to produce some essential oils here.

Igor: I have the same vision. I will be leading research and development. Having more employees, products, growing steadily but constantly.

But our main goal here from the start was not only cananbis industry. Regrading the extractor, the focus is on services, on all the plants.         


How long does it take to build one machine, from start to finish, to assemble it?

Igor:  The main thing was that as many of these series of machines were made, each one was upgraded. When the decision is made to go into production, all the documentation is first checked and corrected. Then, on the basis of this, the material begins to be procured, and the agreement with the welding shop proceeds in parallel. Then there is the process of welding, final inspection and certification. After the certification itself, there is still the assembling of the machines and at the end the test When the machine is assembled, certain things still need to be checked, and that takes… How much? Hmm. I would say that the whole process take about three months.

Aleš:  Each upgrade actually just adds more of this manual work to get the thing done. Each upgrade just added a new piece, which was basically simpler than actually upgrading. From the sprinkler itself, to the filter and additional valves. Each upgrade entails additional hours of work. And in preparation, in welding, in workshop work.

Did you develop any new addtitions to Vacuum impregnation machine?

Igor: We offer heater. This addition significantly (by half) reduces recovery time. The solvent is recovered much faster and can be used in another cycle..
We also offer some upgrade to ensure safe work. This is butane gas detector. In case of a presence of butane the operator will get visual and audio alarm when Exeat ventilation system is installed. Besides that  the detector will trigger ventilator and in case of dangerous concentrations of gas all the electrical consumers will be disconeted. Leaving only ventilator work on 100%, full capcity.  

Is there a plan for the future to develop a fully automated machine?

Aleš:  At one moment the market demand was for really big quantaties of  infused flower.  For larger volumes, it was logical to think about automating the machine. But the development of fully automated machine is on a pause for now due to the market situation. Because at the moment it is not known in which direction this entire market will go. The market is special, it has its own peculiarities, and despite the fact that Igor started working on this project, I think that now it is somehow taking a back seat. For some time.

Will you think about getting an investor?

Aleš: Yes, we already had some prospects.
Potential investors for such machine could be outside of Europe. There is a big potential for this machine. Now we are thinking more and more in the direction of other uses of our infusion machine.
Because now we have a really good system and the question is where the usefulness of this machine can be found. 

And where do you see the possibility of this?

Aleš: The food industry is one option.  For example we could be infusing tea. Because today we know that everything that is found in some tea filter bags is not just some organic substance. We all know that flavors etc. are added.

How do you manage all the operations at your company?

Aleš: When we have time to stop, and when we start to think, we envision. But the problem is that the work, and day to day operations consume you. We have to visit fairs, build the machine, order parts, teach the customers how to use the machines, attend meetings etc..

What are the qualities you are looking from your future employees?

Igor: The future colleague must be ready to work in different areas, because we are a small company, he has to be flexible. Prepared to learn, this part is definitely extremely important. First and foremost, we will be recruiting and looking for someone from the field of mechanical engineering. For the purpose of construction, for the purpose of searching materials, procurement of materials, verifiying material, quality and then partial monitoring of production and conclusion then with the inspector.

We want to set some priorities sorted for us. What we do, what our coworker does.

detail API

 Where are your target markets right now?

Aleš: In fact, we managed to generate enough sales in the regional area of Eastern Europe. And some in the US. But actually we have sold most of our products to the surrounding countries so far.

In Europe, Switzerland is unknown, it is an interesting market. Germany also.

We would like to explore more Europe, while at the same time we are also exploring the market in US and in Africa.

What is a profile of your customer?

Aleš: I think that these are modern businessmen who have created legal businesses in this market and got wealthy. It is missed conception that our buyers are users of cannabis products.

It is indviduals with a clear business interest who can see a business opportunity.

Igor: it is business men that work in niche market. And who succeeded by working on our machines.

Are you proud of that?

Aleš: We pride ourselves on giving them the tools to reach their business goals. Among these entrepreneurs, we have individuals who after also bought a second machine.

Untill we entered the market, neither of us had a sense of how the market works and what quantities are being sold.

Igor: We were surprised at the quantittes. And  the demand is still growing.

How do potential customers find you?

Igor: We find them and contact them. And thy meet us on fairs. Or they hear about us.

Was it a difficult decision to leave your previous job and start a business?

Igor: I was fully occupied at my previous job. But at the same time I was fully occupied here. And it is difficult to sit decently on two chairs. It doesn’t work. So something had to be done.  And so many new prospects were opening up for Exeat.

Aleš: If Igor hadn’t left his previous job, this company wouldn’t have grown.
I lef my previous job recently. We were working in two jobs for too long. And it was time to decide and to set priorities.

What about support from home?

Igor: I have support, definitely. I was already working a lot in the previous job, staying out late due to work. Now its some longer working hours, but I am thankful I have the support.  

Aleš: I have been an entrepreneur for 25 years. My family is used to me staying away from home for long hours. But yes, I can say I get full support from home.

What does a usual working day look like for you two?

Aleš:  I try to be more present here in the workshop. However, it is difficult to talk about an average job, because our work is not only related to this machine. We work and sell, we work at fairs, we work… we travel a lot.

With this new concept of offering service – infused flower that we are setting up in the Czech Republic, I will most likely be there more. But it is true that it is difficult to define a working day because there is no end to it. Because last night at 10 pm I was on a call with clients. Igor calls me at 7 am, and by then he has already sent 10 emails. We do not have a regular 8-hour working day.

Igor: I’m in the office at half past seven in the morning, depending on the situation, but basically the goal is to finish there by noon, and then go to work in the workshop. But then it depends on the situation. Sometimes something comes in between and I work later in the office or in the workshop.

What are the most common questions from potential buyers? For example the API machine.

Igor: They are interested in volume, and they are mainly interested in what kind of solvents the machine works with.

What advice would you give to future entrepreneurs who are starting out? He is similarly used to it.

Igor:  Believe in the product, whatever you are offering to the market, is definitely extremely important. And then work. Work work work. In all areas. From learning, communication. to everything.


Aleš: The bolder the idea, the greater the chances of success. What we did. this is a very bold.