History: The evolution of a Humanitarian Enterprise

History: The evolution of a Humanitarian Enterprise


Vestergaard and LifeStraw grow into two companies connected by the same humanitarian entrepreneurship DNA.



LifeStraw® Home, a water filter pitcher that addresses serious water quality issues in well-resourced nations is introduced. This is the first LifeStraw product to enter the home, lifestyle market.



At the end of the year, the LifeStraw® Give Back program reaches over two million children.



Vestergaard supports construction of a maternity ward at the Emusanda Health Center to provide high quality maternal and child health care to the community.
LifeStraw® Play for Kids, LifeStraw® Universal and LifeStraw Flex® lead LifeStraw’s entry into the mainstream consumer athleisure market.



Vestergaard launches the independently run LifeStraw® Safe Water Fund to bring drinking water to victims following natural disasters and school children in vulnerable communities globally.



At the beginning of the year and for all subsequent years, 100% of all LifeStraw® Guinea worm filters provided to The Carter Center will be donated.



Vestergaard launches a Give Back program where for every LifeStraw® purchased at retail, one school child in need receives safe water for an entire school year.
WHO recommends PermaNet® 3.0 LLIN, an advanced net with increased efficacy against insecticide resistant mosquitoes.



LifeStraw® Go, a refillable water bottle incorporating LifeStraw® technology, is introduced as the first LifeStraw product targeting the outdoor consumer market in developed countries.



Vestergaard starts a food security division to support sales of its ZeroFly® Screens, Targets and Traps that protect livestock from nuisance and deadly flies.
Vestergaard launches IR Mapper, an online tool to track insecticide resistance.
LifeStraw® Family 2.0 with a built-in safe storage container and the high-volume LifeStraw® Community water purifiers are introduced.
ZeroFly® Storage Bags are introduced as the first insecticide-incorporated storage bags to improve income, health and livelihood of smallholder farmers in developing countries by preventing pest infestations that cause post-harvest crop losses.



The LifeStraw® Carbon for Water campaign uses carbon financing to provide 4 million people in Kenya with sustainable access to safe drinking water.
Vestergaard funds a state-of-the art vector research facility which launches within the Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research at the University of Ghana.



Vestergaard builds and finances the Emusanda Health Center to ensure that every person tested in the CarePack® campaign has access to health services, including HIV/AIDS treatment.



The LifeStraw® Family water purifier is introduced for in-house use in developing countries.
Vestergaard conceives of and leads the pilot of an integrated prevention campaign, called CarePack®, in Kenya. It bundles health tools given away as an incentive for mass HIV testing.



PermaNet® 3.0 LLIN is introduced as the first combination bed net with increased efficacy against malaria vectors resistant to current insecticides.



Corporate headquarters are moved to Lausanne, Switzerland, closer to the multilateral development organizations served.
The award-winning portable LifeStraw® personal water filter evolves from the Guinea worm filter. It transforms dirty water into safe drinking water.



PermaNet® 2.0 LLIN receives WHO recommendation. See the WHO 12th meeting report (2009).



Vestergaard opens its first office in the US.



Vestergaard creates a plastic pipe filter to strain out Guinea worm larva (and prevent Guinea worm disease) for The Carter Center.
The game-changing PermaNet® bed net, one of the first long-lasting insecticidal bed nets (LLINs), is introduced.



Mikkel assumes leadership of Vestergaard. He sells the traditional clothing manufacturing operations to focus entirely on the humanitarian business.
Vestergaard is transformed from a sales organization into a research-driven company that adds value to textiles. Development is started on long-lasting impregnated mosquito bed nets.



To support the humanitarian business, Vestergaard opens its first offices in Africa (Kenya) and in India (New Delhi).



The portfolio of humanitarian products expands to include mosquito nets (for development aid) and plastic sheet and tents as temporary shelter following crises (for emergency aid).
Vestegaard begins working with The Carter Center, creating a simple mesh filter to remove Guinea worms from drinking water.



Mikkel joins the family business, but pursues his humanitarian interest by starting a division focused on products for development and emergency aid. Tsetse fly traps to catch vectors carrying sleeping sickness and blankets for refugees are its first products.
Torben’s son Mikkel (Vestergaard’s current CEO) closes his business in Nigeria following a military coup and returns to Denmark.



Kaj turns the business over to his son Torben, who had been working there since 1968.



Kaj adds sewing equipment, and from then on, focuses solely on manufacturing. The weaving department is eventually sold.



Kaj starts manufacturing clothes out of the woven fabric, doubles the number of looms, hires 4 people and engages contract sewing companies.



Denmark farmer Kaj Vestergaard Frandsen starts a textile weaving company. It’s run by family members using six weaving looms.