Executive Spotlight Archives - Green Market Report

StaffStaffNovember 1, 2019
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9min3060

Degelis Tufts, Co-Founder, and CEO of Tribe Tokes on the left, Kim Byrnes, Co-Founder & CMO of Tribes Tokes on the right

Company:

TribeTokes (Tribetokes.com) 

Two Boss Ladies:

Degelis Tufts, CEO & Founder

Kymberly Byrnes, CMO & Co-Founder

Years at current company:

 DT: 3 years

KB: 2 years

 

Education profile:

 DT: University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce (‘08, Concentrations in Finance and International Business), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Designation 

KB: 5 Pilates Certifications

Most successful professional accomplishment before cannabis:

 DT: Covered over $2 billion in investments in the Consumer / Retail sector at Sands Capital

KB: In 2017 after teaching Pilates for 18 years including owning my own studio in Florida, I was honored to become a Lululemon ambassador in my hometown of NYC. 

Company Mission:

 DT: Our goal for TribeTokes is to provide consumers with access to high quality, lab-tested cannabis-derived products at fair prices. We take the guess-work out of clean, sustainable, organic product selection because everything we offer is as functional and safe as it is beautiful and stylish. We serve our customers above all and pay special attention to customer service and education. 

KB: Our team’s motto is “Mindful, Fit & Lit.” TribeTokes’ mission is and always will be to educate and elevate our customers. TribeTokes as a company respects plant science, supports mindful consumption and purveys top quality products with an elevated aesthetic for the “next-generation cannabis consumer.”

DT & KB: We are both motivated by the cannabis movement and feel obligated to stay as true to the culture as possible. As our mission is to educate and elevate, that very much runs parallel with our own goals of educating and elevating ourselves. TribeTokes is built by girls, supporting women in the cannabis industry. It’s an honor to be able to employ and empower women from our community to join the movement along as part of our ever-growing Tribe.

Company’s most successful achievement:

 DT: Recently our brand was featured in Rolling Stone article written in response to the vaping crisis and the article mentioned our specific attention to detail when it comes to creating clean, safe, and transparent vape products. When we first entered the market, the CBD vape scene was dire – it is a very hard molecule to stabilize in a vape and very expensive, and even legitimate brands and farms were cutting corners. We advocated for “clean vaping” from day one and spent a year creating our proprietary strain-based formulations without fillers we identified as unhealthy. Since then, we’ve been taking extra attention to heavy metals testing and other aspects that help us provide the cleanest vapes possible. It’s been hours of meticulous work and it was an absolute honor to be recognized for that. 

KB: I am so proud of the rapid emergence of our wellness and beauty lines, TRIBEauty and TribeRevive. Both launched this year, each line consists of two organic, clean plant-based beauty and wellness products each. We’ve seen so many beauty lines misusing CBD or using low-quality CBD so consumers wouldn’t really feel the powers of this plant. We knew we wanted to create something that customers would want to put on their skin so we only use all-natural ingredients. We started with one eye CBD-infused eye cream which quickly became a must-have. Our pain cream came next and was so popular we launched it in a higher milligram of CBD and we just launched our CBD Superfood face mask which is already become a fan-favorite. It’s exciting to continue to launch products within these lines that transform the ways our customers see the potential of CBD. CBD is a superfood that is perfect for anyone who wants natural remedies for the stress of everyday life and we’re creating a whole range of products to cater to those needs. 

Has the company raised any capital (yes or no): 

DT: Our company is 100% funded, bootstrapped and run by the women on the founding team (launch capital and profit reinvestment). We put our own money where our mouth is! 

 Any plans on raising capital in the future? 

DT: I believe in raising capital when there is a profitable use of funds. We would raise money when it makes sense (for example, to invest in a license or to scale a profitable marketing channel). Many founders have a mindset that if they raise $2M in Series A they will be successful, which causes enormous pressure not only to spend the money but to grow at an unreasonable pace which can lead to irresponsible budgeting decisions. I always think of the Silicon Valley episode where Richard realizes he could have been successful if he raised LESS money. 

For better or worse, bootstrapping results in rolling up your sleeves and doing a LOT yourself, and growing in a more measured and thoughtful way. We have tight control over our supply chain which is enormously helpful for cash flow management and maintaining the best quality product.   

Most important company 5-year goal:

 DT: When national sentiment and legalization align, we, of course, want to someday be both a CBD AND THC brand!  We have built a community and customer base in New York and nationwide and want to leverage this consumer trust and our high product standards to sell THC products in addition to CBD. We’ve already become a resource and leader in plant wellness and CBD and we see similar potential for THC based products. We also want to make sure the voices and needs of female cannabis consumers are heard and met. The legal cannabis markets need more female leadership. 

KB: Everything that Dege said; we really need to see more female-founded brands and female-led investors in the cannabis industry There aren’t enough brands that truly understand what the female cannabis consumer needs and we’re trying to fill that gap. We also cannot wait for CBD and THC to be accessible for everyone. Dege and I love the culture and as we push the movement forward, we push ourselves. We see the improvements that can be made in cannabis and want the same potential for CBD to be met for innovative THC products that are mindful, fit and lit!


StaffStaffOctober 24, 2019
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4min3480

Tracey Mason is a 25–year veteran of the adult beverage industry with experience in nearly every facet. She has held executive–level marketing positions at some of the world’s largest beverage companies, including Diageo, where she worked her way up from sales management to Director of Commercial Innovation, and Fosters Wine Estates, where she held the position of Vice President of Marketing/Innovation until 2006, when she left to pursue her dream of running a small business. 

As Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Epic Wines, a mid–sized, California–based distributor of fine wines, Tracey honed her leadership and financial management skills while leading the company toward extraordinary growth. She left Epic in 2008 to take an equity position at ProVina Inc, a Silicon Valley startup focused on technology–based innovation in winemaking, and began consulting to a number of established and start–up companies, including Golden Star Tea and Clos de la Tech Winery.

In 2010, Tracey was drawn back into the corporate world to take the role of Executive Vice President of Global Marketing at Goelet Wines Estates (GWE). There, she championed the repositioning and renaissance of the iconic Clos Du Val Winery, solidifying her position as a brand renovation specialist.

Tracey left GWE in April 2013 and launched M3G, Inc. Today, M3G is leading brand marketing, PR, innovation and renovation projects for some of Northern California’s most renowned companies, including Valley of the Moon Winery, Silverado Vineyards, ZIATA Wines and others.

Title: Co-founder & CEO

Company: House of Saka, Inc.

Years at current company: 1.5

 

Green Market Report Executive Spotlight Q&A:

Most successful professional accomplishment before cannabis: President and Creative Director of M3G-Inc, My own consulting company.

Company Mission: To create the most luxurious and consistent female-centric cannabis-infused product experience ever offered.

Company’s most successful achievement: Acting as true innovators and trailblazers to bring our beautiful products to market in the manner in which we envisioned.

Has the company raised any capital (yes or no): Yes

Any plans on raising capital in the future? Yes, Series A pending, Q1 2019

Most important company 5 year goal: To be broadly acknowledged as the leading female-run company in cannabis in the US as determined by category leading brands, meaningful philanthropy, success-driven company culture, shareholder value and, of course, profit.


StaffStaffOctober 23, 2019
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6min4960

Ben Larson, CEO of Vertosa: Calling upon his experience as a serial entrepreneur, investor, and startup adviser, Ben and the Vertosa team enable mainstream businesses to enter the growing cannabis industry by providing water soluble active ingredients to infuse beverages and other products. Previously, Ben co-founded Gateway, the premier cannabis startup accelerator based in Silicon Valley. Additionally, Ben is a Director and Mentor for the Founder Institute, where he formerly managed global operations and helped grow the program into over 100 cities around the world. He’s also active on several boards inside and out of the cannabis industry and travels the world for speaking engagements. Ben was recognized in the 40 Under 40 Class of 2018 by the San Francisco Business Times.

Title: CEO

Company: Vertosa

Years at current company: 1

 

Green Market Report Executive Spotlight Q&A:

Most successful professional accomplishment before cannabis: Launching new businesses has been one of my greatest strengths throughout my career driven by my passion for helping fellow entrepreneurs realize their dreams. I am a serial entrepreneur and have a passion and indomitable appetite for building great products and teams. Before cutting my teeth in cannabis, I was the Director of Global Operations for the Founder Institute, where I helped launch over 100 startups locally, recruited and trained business leaders globally, and formed startup ecosystems around the world to spur economic growth outside Silicon Valley. I was instrumental in expanding the program into more than 100 cities around the world and on-boarded, trained and guided local leadership.

I’m still a Director and Mentor at the Founder Institute, and love working with entrepreneurs to shape the next generation of companies. I bring that same drive and industry knowledge to the cannabis industry, both through my portfolio I built with Gateway and the brands I work with every day at Vertosa. 

Company Mission: Vertosa creates the most effective and reliable active ingredients for infused product makers. At the forefront of the booming cannabis beverage movement, our mission is to work closely with client needs to create stellar market-ready products that are ready to scale. Built on a rock-solid foundation of bioavailability, flavor, clarity, stability and safety, Vertosa is breaking the stigma and unlocking the truths of cannabis by making it accessible to all. 

Company’s most successful achievement: Our state-of-the-art pre-suspended nanoemulsion technology is our founding achievement. Meticulously engineered to the specifications of every SKU to evenly disperse in water and remain stable no matter the conditions, our emulsions are not only the most stable you’ll find on the market, they’re also industry-leading in flavor and clarity and have an average onset of less than 10 minutes. We’re working with companies everywhere from early-stage startups to international beverage enterprises in both the cannabis and hemp markets.

Has the company raised any capital (yes or no): Yes.

If so, how much?: We’ve raised $1.55M to date 

Any plans on raising capital in the future? Yes. We have a big announcement coming in the next few weeks – stay tuned! 

Most important company 5 year goal: As a leader in manufacturing bulk active ingredients for infused cannabis products, our goal is to be the trusted supplier worldwide and create the platform that allows brands to scale and create consistent experiences for their consumers. We will continue bringing great cannabis products into the mainstream alongside our partners of all sizes. The infused cannabis market is just getting started, and as the industry grows we’re making sure Vertosa is at the epicenter. 


StaffStaffOctober 4, 2019
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6min3390

Ingo Wilhelm Mueller has been involved in the finance and advisory business for the past 20 years, having raised over $200M in the last 10 years. Ingo has been instrumental in the formation and strategic management of numerous companies globally, through executive positions, directorships and advisory roles – many of which involved the structuring and financing of resource opportunities.

He has either founded, partnered in and developed or advised companies in a broad cross section of industry sectors as an entrepreneur and visionary whose primary focus has been to identify market gaps or opportunities in nascent industries or in established sectors and align them with funding, while supplementing existing management teams with well respected international advisors and board members to establish or refine the strategic objectives of the business.

His previous executive experience includes being the CEO of Wigu City Edutainment Centres PLC, London Mining PLC (Colombia), and International Coal Company Ltd.

 

Title: CEO

Company: Canivate Growing Systems Ltd.

Years at current company: 2.5

GMR Executive Spotlight Q&A:

Most successful professional accomplishment before cannabis:

Raising $200M (Cdn) funding over a 15-year period for companies in a range of sectors including natural resources and gaming

Company Mission: To create a new standard of Clean. Green. Pure. in the cannabis and hemp industries.

Company’s most successful achievement:

Canivate is set to disrupt the cannabis and hemp industries. Our proprietary facility design and automated growing system is aimed at redefining industry standards for cannabis and hemp cultivation. 

The technology provides the potential to substantially increase yield per square foot, reduce operating costs, provide consistent quality, and decrease the environmental impact of traditional greenhouses and indoor facilities. It is also expected to result in significantly lower cost per gram on the market compared to conventional cannabis cultivation facilities. 

Canivate’s automated growing system is focused on providing a solution to the problems of consistent quality, meeting consumer demand, reducing operating costs, increasing profitability, and lowering the environmental impact of cannabis cultivation. 

Along with raising $14.3M (Cdn) to-date in funding for Canivate, executing on our business model for the first Canivate campus in Southern California as quickly as we have is a key achievement. 

Our business model is unique. Canivate does not act as the cultivator – in fact, we never touch the plant. Canivate identifies market demand before locating and building a facility, and then the facility and growing system is leased to an exclusive independent operator (EIO) for each state, pursuant to lease and licensing contracts. The EIO will be licensed in its local jurisdiction to engage in cultivation activities and will manage the facility and growing system using the Canivate IP. 

The EIO will work with commercial cultivators, while retaining control and management of the growing system process, allowing them to optimize yields and provide retailers with consistent, high-quality and environmentally friendly products. In addition, an offtake contract for each facility is put in place through the EIO and their commercial cultivators before it is built. This is done to provide high-profile brands – that have established distribution channels and retail outlets – with a consistent quantity and quality of product, which secures profitability for both the EIO and Canivate.

For Canivate’s first campus, there are currently signed offtake agreements in place with high-profile cannabis companies. The signed offtake agreements will produce estimates of a minimum of 6,500 kg annually for each growing facility. (These are low-end estimates – total expected production among signed agreements is 19,500 kg.) Offtake agreements are secured by a performance bond (purchase guarantee).

Has the company raised any capital (yes or no): Yes

If so, how much?: $14.3M Cdn

Any plans on raising capital in the future? Yes

Most important company 5 year goal:

Canivate is set to establish a new gold standard for cannabis and hemp consumption in the United States and Canada. We are committed to establishing an industry standard of Clean. Green. Pure. for cannabis cultivation and consumption. 

 


StaffStaffOctober 3, 2019
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5min7040

Milan Patel leads the strategic vision, financial health and global growth of PathogenDx, a Scottsdale, AZ based company which provides disruptive DNA-based pathogen testing technology and solutions for the cannabis, botanical, food and agricultural industries. 

Previously, Mr. Patel spent over 25 years working with large public, small private and entrepreneurial companies in numerous fields from the life sciences, to biotechnology, to government services and the automotive industry. Milan served as COO/CFO of GMSbiotech. He also was CFO of 2020 Company, LLC, a leading premier professional services firm that delivered business and technology solutions to the government, in the areas of health, education and science. 

Mr. Patel also worked at Intel Corporation in Sales & Marketing, Finance and Manufacturing. He has extensive experience in corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, business strategy and planning, infrastructure and organizational development, and controls, compliance and audit and has led several company exits. 

Milan earned his BS in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from the University of Detroit Mercy; a MS in Biomedical/Medical Engineering, University of Michigan; and a MBA in Finance and Marketing, University of Detroit Mercy.

 

Title: CEO

Company: PathogenDx

Years at current company: since founding (Almost 5 years)

 

GMR Executive Spotlight Q&A:

 

Most successful professional accomplishment before cannabis: Milan spent over 25 years working with large public, small private and entrepreneurial companies in numerous fields, from the life sciences to biotechnology to government services and even the automotive industry. He previously served as COO/CFO of GMSbiotech and CFO of 2020 Company, LLC, a leading premier professional services firm that delivered business and technology solutions to the government in the areas of health, education and science.  Has exited to two companies in Federal Government and Healthcare IT. 

Company Mission: Headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, PathogenDx’s mission is to become the new standard in DNA-based testing through widespread adoption of its advanced microarray testing platform for the cannabis, hemp, agriculture, food and beverage industries. PathogenDx’s technology can rapidly identify and detect up to 50 pathogens all in a single test, in 6 hours providing triplicate data per analyte for certainty in results with a simple and easy process. The company’s DNA-testing products – DetectX™, QuantX™, and EnviroX™– are disrupting the century-old practice of petri-dish testing to identify, detect and quantify pathogens like E. Coli, Salmonella and Aspergillus and a host of other bacterial and fungal microbial organisms in a fraction of the time, cost and labor to conventional methods that have been used by industries worldwide in microbial/pathogen testing. This technology will help growing businesses deliver safer products and healthier lives, while preventing millions of dollars in losses from contaminated or spoiled crops. 

Company’s most successful achievement: We’ve been successful in commercializing our disruptive, game-changing technology in the form of three separate products into cannabis to become the predominant microbial testing technology in the cannabis sector. 

Has the company raised any capital (yes or no): yes

If so, how much?: PathogenDx recently announced that they raised $7.5M in their Series B funding round, led by Cresco Capital Partners and joined by Altitude Investment Management, Arcadian Investment Partners, Panther Opportunity Fund, Salveo Capital, Halley Venture Partners and Flatiron Venture Partners.

Previously, PathogenDx raised $3.4M in a Convertible Note Round.

Any plans on raising capital in the future? Yes – we plan to raise more capital in order to scale and grow into other markets 

Most important company 5 year goal: PathogenDx aims to become the emerging microbial/pathogen technology of choice in Cannabis, Hemp, Food, Environmental, Agriculture and Healthcare – and ultimately become the gold-standard in microbial testing.

 


StaffStaffOctober 2, 2019
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6min4730

Tim Conder’s business emphasis has always been focused around delivery. His entrepreneurial journey began with the co-founding of Bootleg Courier Company, a bike messenger business in Reno. Tim found himself parlaying that expertise into a cannabis delivery business when the prohibition ended. 

Since founding Blackbird in 2015, Mr. Conder has overseen the rapid growth of his business in two of the most robust cannabis markets—California and Nevada. Under Tim’s leadership, Blackbird has efficiently navigated the complex regulatory structures of both states, and currently operates five fully licensed cannabis distribution facilities across the region with plans to expand into several additional markets in 2019.  

Tim’s success is founded is his philosophy that if you build good relationships, success will follow, “[Blackbird is] a great technology company. But the thing we do better than anyone else is build relationships. That’s why we are a customer service company first and foremost; the software and services are secondary.”  

Tim joined TILT Holdings as Senior Vice President of Software and Services following TILT’s acquisition of Blackbird Logistics, a company he founded. He was then promoted to COO of TILT Holdings in July of 2019 as Chief Operations Officer.

 

Title: Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer; also Chief Operating Officer at TILT Holdings

Company: Blackbird Logistics

Years at current company: Five

 

GMR Executive Spotlight Q&A:

Most successful professional accomplishment before cannabis: That would be founding and operating a highly successful courier company for 10 years in Reno, Nevada, at a time when the courier industry was in rapid decline. Bootleg Courier Company was an environmentally-friendly messenger business that promised fast deliveries via bike and fuel-efficient vehicles. Since its founding in 2008, Bootleg pedaled to completion over 50,000 deliveries.

The experience not only helped establish the logistics and delivery expertise that laid the foundation for Blackbird, we were able to continuously grow the business year after year, adding more and more employees along the way.

Company Mission: Be the best. Blackbird strives every day to service our clients and customers as efficiently and humanly as possible. People are everything. Blackbird’s value is derived directly from the happiness of our clients and fulfillment of our staff. We believe there is value in treating our employees with dignity and respect. That is why our mantra is to be good people and help good people.

Company’s most successful achievement: Gaining nearly 100% penetration in two of the largest and most robust cannabis markets in the world – California and Nevada. It has helped make us the largest software and logistics company in the cannabis industry.

Blackbird was the first to receive a license to distribute recreational cannabis to Nevada’s dispensaries, and now handles about 95% of all the state’s distribution.  We’ve since penetrated every retail market within California.

It wasn’t an easy achievement. We had to overcome a significant challenge from “Big Alcohol,” which

lobbied Nevada’s liquor lawmakers to pass a law allowing only liquor wholesalers to distribute products.  Instead of surrendering, we quickly secured our own liquor distribution license and used it to score the state’s first cannabis distribution license. Blackbird’s knowledge of medical cannabis distribution and logistics combined with our nimbleness gave us a first-mover advantage, enabling Blackbird to lock up most of the state’s distribution deals before the alcohol wholesalers could even start the process of filing for a license.

Has the company raised any capital (yes or no): Yes

If so, how much?: Blackbird was mostly bootstrapped from savings and personal investments from friends and family. As we grew, we ultimately raised around another $1.2 million before being acquired by TILT Holdings for approximately $5 million cash and $45 million in securities.

Any plans on raising capital in the future? Not at this time.

Most important company 5 year goal: Our long-term goal is to be in every possible legal cannabis market in some way, shape or form with our operations and software infrastructure. Having succeeded in Nevada and California, we plan to expand our business footprint into Massachusetts and Arizona next, and then to each and every other state that legalizes recreational and medical cannabis.

 

 


StaffStaffSeptember 30, 2019
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3min3360

Judy Yee is the co-CEO and co-founder of K-Zen Beverages, a new cannabis drinkables company committed to sharing the benefits of cannabis beverages by delivering consistent formulas, crave-able flavors, and rapid, predictable effects. A seasoned executive with 20+ years in healthy food & beverage, Judy’s expertise in new product innovation along with her passion for bringing fresh and healthier products to consumers are the driving forces behind her work to create great tasting cannabis beverages and brands people deeply enjoy and trust. Prior to K-Zen Beverages, Judy served as the Executive Vice President of Marketing and Innovation for Crystal Geyser Water Company, re-igniting company growth through new products, eCommerce and new market expansions. She was an early pioneer in expanding the consumer adoption and accessibility of organic food as Chief Marketing Officer at Earthbound Farm.. Judy has served on Boards of nonprofit organizations focusing on women leadership and development, environmental stewardship and advised various early-stage CPG Companies.

Title: Co-founder and Co-CEO

Company:K-Zen

Years at current company: Less than 1 Year

 

GMR Executive Spotlight Q&A:

Most successful professional accomplishment before cannabis: My most successful professional accomplishment before coming to cannabis was establishing organics food and beverage as an iconic category. 

Company Mission: K-Zen Beverages is committed to becoming a leader in the emerging cannabis beverage category. Its mission is to share the benefits of cannabis beverages by delivering consistent formulas, craveable flavors and rapid, predictable effects. 

Company’s most successful achievement: We launched our first brand, S-Shots, since the company’s founding within the last 6 months. 

Has the company raised any capital (yes or no): Yes. if so, how much?: In 2019, K-Zen announced $5 million in seed funding from global venture capital firm DCM. 

Any plans on raising capital in the future? Yes, likely in 2020 

Most important company 5 year goal: Our foremost goal is to establish K-Zen as the most preferred consumer brands for cannabis beverages over the next five years.


StaffStaffSeptember 27, 2019
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3min3230

Jeffrey Harris is Founder and CEO of springbig, a customer loyalty platform for the cannabis industry. springbig uses SMS, loyalty marketing, and other tools to encourage repeat business for cannabis retailers. Prior to spingbig, Harris founded a loyalty marketing company (Inte Q) which focused on developing and managing data driven programs for large retail and financial services firms.

Title: Co-Founder and CEO

Company: springbig

Years at current company: 7 years

 

GMR Executive Spotlight Q&A:

Most successful professional accomplishment before cannabis: Prior to spingbig, I founded a Loyalty Marketing Company (Inte Q) which focuses on developing and managing data driven loyalty and CRM programs for large retail and financial services firms.

Company Mission: Initially founded in 2012 and launched in the cannabis industry in 2017, springbig is the leading provider in customer-loyalty and digital communications solutions for dispensaries and cannabis retailers.  With customers across the United States, springbig is helping dispensaries & cannabis retailers keep their own customers connected and engaged while allowing the store owners to track their inevitable success and ROI of their loyalty program and marketing campaigns in real-time.

Company’s most successful achievement: In the emerging cannabis industry, springbig has reached a historic milestone. We have signed up over 8,000,000 consumers through our cannabis-focused customer loyalty program. Through partnerships with some of the leading POS providers in the cannabis space — including Flowhub, BioTrackTHC, MJ Freeway, Treez, Korona, LeafLogix, GreenBits, Blaze, and Cova — springbig has worked alongside retailers to send over 50,000 campaigns by way of over 225,000,000 text messages (130 million just in 2019) — and has seen close to over 740,000 rewards redeemed in return. Our dedication and expertise has allowed retailers to see immediate and significant ROIs on their marketing initiatives. 

Has the company raised any capital (yes or no): Yes

if so, how much?: 9.7 million

Any plans on raising capital in the future? Still undetermined but seriously considering raising a B round.

Most important company 5 year goal: Create a unique marketing ecosystem where retailers and brands can effectively communicate with cannabis consumers to drive brand awareness, omnichannel store traffic and sales growth that benefit both the industries brands and retailers.


StaffStaffSeptember 26, 2019
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4min10310

Andrea Brooks is a serial entrepreneur and lobbyist for social change with a passion for health, wellness and design. Following a disabling injury in which cannabis played a crucial role in her recovery, Ms. Brooks was inspired to enter the cannabis space. Building on previous experience working with NGOs around the world on program development, she applies her expertise in conducting needs assessments, developing strategic partnerships and creating new revenue sources to her latest venture – Sava. Sava is a digital platform providing e-commerce solutions for curated, high-quality cannabis goods that provides access to and education about cannabis medicine to patients throughout California.

She has previously consulted with NGO’s around the world including Israel and the Palestinian Territories, Tanzania, Nigeria and San Francisco. She is a former recipient of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission’s Fair Housing Award for developing new programming in the fields of fair housing and reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities. She has served as Vice-Chair on two separate San Francisco governmental advisory bodies, including the Commission for Animal Control and Welfare.

Title: Founder and CEO

Company: Sava

Years at current company: 2015-2019

 

GMR Executive Spotlight Q&A:

Most successful professional accomplishment before cannabis: In 2003, my passion for education and bettering the world led me to the non-profit sector, working in health and human services. Eventually I landed a position at PAWS (Pets Are Wonderful Support), where I developed an educational and housing advocacy program for housebound people with pets. For this I won San Francisco’s Fair Housing Award from the San Francisco Human Rights Commission.

Company Mission: Once upon a time, weed lived in the shadows. A secretive phone call. A late-night delivery. A cash payment. At best, it was a little sketchy. At worst, you had no idea what you were getting, or getting yourself into. Not exactly cannabis’s finest hour. Things have changed. Cannabis has come into the light.  It’s been recognized as the versatile, beautiful plant that it is. We’re here for that. Sava vets the vast world of cannabis, and bring you hand-picked products that meet your needs in unexpected ways. Like CBD bath bombs that replace your ibuprofen habit. Or the perfect tincture to get you a good night’s sleep. Because we believe that this magical plant has something to offer everyone. Sava. Cannabis at its best.

Company’s most successful achievement: Surviving the transition into a regulatory market — logistics, hire drivers, Sustaining 50% female-owned brands despite the industry, From the beginning part of our mission, even despite the challenges 

Has the company raised any capital (yes or no): Yes

If so, how much?: We do not wish to disclose. 

Any plans on raising capital in the future? Absolutely. We are raising right now. Priced round closes in October. 

Most important company 5 year goal: 1-2 years Expanding throughout California, 5 years beyond California. 


StaffStaffSeptember 25, 2019
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7min3840

Michael Christopher overcame debilitating childhood lung ailments (double pneumonia) and adult-asthma to become a full scholarship collegiate athlete who went on to launch multiple startup businesses across entertainment, media, mobile software and CPG industries.  He served as former Activations Director and the third hire for BreadcrumbPro Point-of-Sale (acquired by Groupon, Inc. in 2012) where he led product activations from beta launch to serving over 5000 active mobile payments and point-of-sale merchants across the nation, processing thousands of orders and hundreds of millions of dollars of payments for restaurants, cafes, bars and nightclubs. He then went on to serve as Business Development Director at Rodawg (renamed BUREAU) – a child-resistant cannabis packaging manufacturing startup serving licensed medical cannabis company clients in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Canada, and Uruguay. More recently he served as digital advisor and Managing Partner of CH3 Ventures – a Manhattan based cannabis technology startup incubator and investment firm focused on early stage technology, compliance and media companies.

Michael also co-founded NYC based new media production agency Sonic Platforms, with brand clients including BMW, Urban Outfitters, MoMA, Champion Sportswear and The Crated. During that time, Michael launched LOFT Infusions in 2014 – a first-to-market NY-based hemp CBD-infused beverage company along with his co-founding partner and healthy beverage pioneer, Eric Schnell. They both went on to co-create and launch the mood33 cannabis infused sparkling tonics brand, where Michael now serves full-time as Chief Mood Officer based in Santa Monica, California. mood33 cannabis infused beverages are sold throughout the state of California and can be found at leading licensed cannabis retailers like MedMen, Harborside, Harvest, Caliva, ShowGrow, among others.

 

Title: Co-Founder and CEO

Company: mood33

Years at current company: 2018 to present

 

GMR Executive Spotlight Q&A:

Most successful professional accomplishment before cannabis: Before entering the legal cannabis industry, Michael began his career in business development as part of a four-person point-of-sale (iPad) and mobile payments software startup, BreadcrumbPro, which was acquired by Groupon, Inc. in 2012 during its first year of launch in New York City. Michael managed keystone B2B client relationships for the entire Eastern half of the United States with some of the nation’s top hospitality management groups; EMM Group, Dinex group, Thomas Keller Restaurant Group, Atera, Linea/Next, Dovetail (John Fraser), WD50 (Wylie Dufresne), Alder and Top Chef Kitchen New York for Bravo TV. He lead the east coast hardware/software implementation from the first beta clients to over 2000 brick and mortar cafes, restaurants, bars and clubs in two years under the new Groupon business unit, generating $5.9M in hardware and software sales in it’s first year after acquisition, where he spent countless morning and late evening hours in some of nation’s best kitchens, bars and cafe’s; implementing mobile management and payment solutions for leading hospitality groups. It was during this time that he was inspired by molecular gastronomists like Wylie Dufresne, and decided to start brewing cannabinoid infused teas and cocktails using modern techniques for his friends and colleagues. 

Company Mission: mood33 offers people an ability to connect with themselves and each other in more meaningful ways. We invigorate local communities and empower people to increase their levels of happiness and sense of well-being. We infuse the world with compassionate cannabis products, created by compassionate people. We protect nature’s gifts to mankind by activating sustainable sourcing and manufacturing practices across our hubs of operation.

Company’s most successful achievement: This June we announced a distribution agreement with the most trusted name in cannabis, and one of the leading vertically integrated cannabis companies in California, Caliva. The partnership will expand the availability of mood33 across California, making it one of the most widely available cannabis-based drinks in the state. We expect to double its store count by the end of 2019 fueled by this new partnership, in addition to growing a robust online and direct-to-consumer sales channel for the brand.

Has the company raised any capital (yes or no): Yes

if so, how much?: We do not wish to disclose at this time, stay tuned for an announcement of our Series A closing, targeting for Q4 of 2019. 

Any plans on raising capital in the future? Yes, our first institutional funding round will commence in September of 2019.

Most important company 5 year goal: We aim to grow the mood33 family of products to top 3 category leaders in our core regions of operation, thereby increasing consumer access to trustworthy and consistent, smoke-free cannabis products for consumers seeking the health and wellness benefits of the cannabis plant and alternatives to alcohol, addictive prescription pharmaceuticals, and OTC medications.  We seek to grow an operational footprint and strong revenues to allow the company to support mental health initiatives, environmental sustainability efforts and plant-based lifestyle education for communities in need with innovative profit sharing and social impact programs as we extend the mood33 brand into all major cannabis and hemp marketplaces in North America over the next five years. 



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The Green Market Report focuses on the financial news of the rapidly growing cannabis industry. Our target approach filters out the daily noise and does a deep dive into the financial, business and economic side of the cannabis industry. Our team is cultivating the industry’s critical news into one source and providing open source insights and data analysis


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