The World’s Deadliest Animal vs. Mississippi Manufacturing

Spartan Mosquito is on a mission to help the people of the world, and are on track to grow a company worth hundreds of millions in the process. When they introduced the Spartan Mosquito Eradicator into the retail market in June of 2017, the initial consumer response far exceeded expectations. Now Spartan Mosquito is one of Mississippi’s fastest growing companies.

Spartan Mosquito has made the battle against mosquito bites a business model and it is proving to be big business. Spartan has become another shining example of a company that has been extremely successful at growing a manufacturing operation from the ground up in Mississippi’s manufacturing-friendly environment. Spartan’s year-to-year percentage growth is currently measured in thousands.

A big part of Spartan’s win in this business is having a product that works, since so many mosquito control products on the market do not deliver. The market stimulus is that mosquitoes inhabit nearly all parts of the world (except Antarctica), and that people universally hate mosquitoes and the trouble they bring.

Mosquitoes are a nuisance. They are notoriously difficult to avoid and they carry several diseases that can often be life threatening. Among the more dangerous and notable diseases are malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, encephalitis, West Nile, and Zika.

The World’s Deadliest Animal

In the Emerging Infectious Diseases journal published on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website, it is reported that each year mosquitoes are responsible for more deaths than any other animal.1 Mind you, it is not the irritating bite that kills; rather, it is the wide array of illnesses that are vectored, or carried, by mosquitoes.

While densely populated areas are most at risk for disease outbreaks, American suburbia has been hit particularly hard by fatalities from West Nile and Zika.

The World Health Organization (WHO), in a Kobe Center 2014 report,2 listed malaria as the most devastating mosquito-vectored disease, claiming more than 600,000 lives annually and leaving 200 million individuals sick and incapacitated for days. The WHO reports that malaria cases in 2017 numbered 219 million, up two million from 2016. Deaths from malaria worldwide in 2017 numbered 435,000.3

Bill Gates, whose foundation has done groundbreaking work in mosquito control in Africa, reports on Gates Notes how dangerous mosquitoes actually are to people.4 Mosquitoes are found in every region of the world except Antarctica. They are the third largest insect population on the planet, just behind termites and ants. Mosquitoes are responsible for 50,000 times more deaths each year than sharks, but they don’t garner the same attention as sharks and other deadly animals such as snakes, crocodiles, and spiders. There is no “Mosquito Week” on TV.

It is not just the pesky mosquito bite that is the problem.

Strategic Science

Spartan Mosquito Eradicators are hung in trees along the perimeter of a property. These are not traps. These devices attract mosquitoes, which feed on the solution, fly away, and are eradicated. They control mosquito populations by eliminating the active “hunting” mosquitoes, which are often females preparing to lay eggs.

Once the Eradicators are properly prepared and placed (typically hung in trees), they work to form a barrier to lure hunting mosquitoes by emitting the same attractants that draw mosquitoes to people and animals. Mosquitoes that feed will perish before they reproduce, thus shutting down the breeding cycle.

No eggs, no mosquitoes.

No mosquitoes, no bites.

Fewer bites equal fewer opportunities for mosquito-vectored illnesses, which leads to happier barbecues and kids playing outdoors.

Spartan Mosquito’s Eradicators are so effective that they eliminate up to 95 percent of the mosquitoes in their zone of protection in around two weeks, and they continue to work for up to three months.

A Welcomed Invention

Mississippi-born manufacturer Spartan Mosquito introduced the Spartan Mosquito Eradicator to the public through small mom-and-pop retail stores in Mississippi during the middle of the mosquito season in 2017. After using existing lackluster products to thwart mosquito bites including candles, coils, lights, and spray-on chemicals, people were amazed at how well Spartan Mosquito Eradicators worked. The price point of less than $25 per box was also right.

The First Boom

Within several weeks of being introduced, Spartan Mosquito Eradicators were being sold in retail stores across Mississippi. Sales continued to accelerate and, by the end of 2017, the company was preparing for over 1,000 more retail stores across the nation. This explosive growth propelled the company through three production setups and two warehousing strategies in a matter of months. In November, just six months after introducing their product to retail stores, Spartan had moved from their small, makeshift production spaces into a 63,000-sq-ft warehouse in Laurel, Mississippi.

Managing Explosive Growth

Spartan’s emphasis on marketing and sales successfully led the company into new markets — enabling people to learn about and try the Eradicators for the first time. However, another challenge was ever present and growing. Spartan had to manage and scale, in real-time, teams and facilities for production, distribution, and their central office function as sales simultaneously grew at breakneck speed. Vendors and backup vendors had to be tested and added, production lines had to be grown, reconfigured, grown, and reconfigured again. Back office functions like accounting and legal needed to be established, assessed, and rethought for budget and requirements through multiple stages of successive, rapid growth.

Planned fluidity is a difficult but necessary achievement in a company with rapidly changing requirements. In order to be successful, Spartan had to live and perform in a real-time, changing operational environment.

Ramping Up

In 2018, production ramped up and the new warehouse began to fill. To ensure inventories could be produced within timeframes, Spartan developed redundant supply chains. Vendors were tested to gauge their actual delivery capacity and timeframes versus their promised ones. Schedules had to be fluid, while directives were focused in order to manage cash flows and meet goals.

A dedicated, full-time support team had to be established to operate the newly opened, third-party, online marketplaces alongside the existing retail brick-and- mortar locations. Support processes had to be constructed and implemented within the team. Product packaging and collateral had to evolve. Advertising channels had to be secured. All the while, Spartan was hiring and the team was in a growth flux. Specialized departments were established. Business growth was every bit as explosive.

National Presence

At the close of the 2018 mosquito season, Spartan Mosquito Eradicators were being sold in 47 states in America and the company had officially begun accepting meetings with big box stores. In addition, Spartan had production facility requests from every continent, except Antarctica, and they were beginning to accept meetings with countries that were interested in producing and selling the product. The new 63,000-sq-ft warehouse space had already become tight.

A Company to Watch

This Mississippi startup has come a long way in less than two years. They have shown that Mississippians know how to pull together to make a manufacturing business run. Pay attention in 2019 as this Mississippi-born manufacturing company enters new markets with a growth rate that is normally associated with the tech world.