Ben Larson Archives - Green Market Report

StaffStaffOctober 23, 2019
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6min13510

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. 


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtApril 10, 2018
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4min14650

Financial experts at the CNvest conference held on April 9 in San Jose California gave cannabis entrepreneurs solid advice on Monday. Ben Larson of Backplane Capital said, “There’s a lot of excitement around cannabis but that doesn’t give you an excuse to build a shitty product. Investors want to see companies that are built on actual business models.”

Larson is a serial entrepreneur in the San Francisco area and is a General Partner at Backplane Capital, an early stage venture fund that invests in the cannabis industry. He is also a Co-founder of Gateway, a cannabis accelerator.

Larson told the audience that cannabis companies should be treated like any other company and rather than building a cannabis business, just build a ‘good’ business. He gave four pieces of advice for business owners. The first was vetting relationships. Larson said to get references and dig into backgrounds. “Be skeptical,” he said. “It only takes a phone call to vet someone.” He likes it when a potential investment questions his background.

Then he said he reviews the companies supply chain. “I look for that one slide that says ‘we have control over our destiny.’ Not necessarily supply chain meaning logistics, but where do they get their source of materials or content.

 

Next was the vision. He said companies need a vision that’s bigger than a given product. Larson though sympathized that bouncing between visions and what needs to be executed today is challenging.

Finally, – capital. Larson said there was a lot of capital interested in the space, but it wasn’t coming in like a fire hose. There is a lot of competition for those investment dollars and that conceded that entrepreneurship is hard.

Ultimately, Larson said he believes in cannabis because he thinks it will become a recession-proof commodity.

Sumit Mehta, is the Chief Executive Officer at Mazakali a firm that provides investment banking, consulting and capital advisory services to the cannabis industry. He is also a consultant for the Arcview Group. Mehta said that for every $1 dollar spent on cannabis there is a trickle-down effect of $5 around the plant. He also believes that the adult-use marijuana market will become 90% of the industry.

Mehta noted that the cannabis industry is only second in growth to the era of booming wifi access. He said that there are 12,000 business licenses in the U.S. and that the industry doubles in size every 32 months.

Still, he said that deal flow was heating up because marijuana is expected to become legal by 2021. Many in panels following Mehta’s presentation quoted him when he advised companies and founders to be ‘true to their stripes.’ Meaning if you’re good at tech, stay with tech, but then apply those skills to cannabis.

Mehta also implored the group to give to organizations that help change cannabis laws.

 

 

 

 



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