Ben Kovler brings his extensive experience managing complex operating companies and his deep commitment to philanthropy as Founder, CEO and Chairman of Green Thumb Industries. Ben founded GTI in 2014 and has successfully grown it into a national cannabis consumer packaged goods company and retailer that manufactures and distributes a portfolio of branded cannabis products including Rythm, Dogwalkers, The Feel Collection, and Beboe, among others. The company also owns and operates a rapidly growing national chain of retail cannabis stores called Rise™.
Ben is frequently featured as an industry thought leader in media outlets such as Bloomberg, Barron’s, Business Insider, CNBC and Forbes.
He is also co-founder and CEO of Invest For Kids (IFK), an annual forum bringing together portfolio managers, family offices and analysts to share investment ideas to benefit children in llinois. In its first nine years, IFK generated more than $11 million to benefit 40 youth organizations that have helped 85,000 children. Ben is also on the board of the Providence St. Mel School and the Academy for Global Citizenship.
Ben earned a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy, politics and economics from Pomona College and an M.B.A. in accounting and finance from The University of Chicago. Ben and his wife, Amy, enjoy living in Chicago with their two children.
GMR Executive Spotlight Q & A:
Full birth name: Benjamin Kovler
Title: CEO, Founder & Chairman
Company: Green Thumb Industries Inc. (commonly known as GTI)
Years at current company: Since starting the company five years ago in 2014, we now have over 1,000 team members across the country – it has been quite a humbling experience.
Education profile: Earned a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy, politics and economics from Pomona College and an M.B.A. in accounting and finance from The University of Chicago.
Most successful professional accomplishment before cannabis: In 2009, I co-founded Invest For Kids, an annual hedge fund investor conference that brings together the Chicago investment community and renowned investment managers to share their best ideas to benefit children’s charities in Chicago. Over the past 10 years we have raised more than $14 million supporting over 60 youth organizations and 85,000 children.
Company Mission: GTI is on a mission to empower the right to wellness by progressing responsible adult use of cannabis through an authentic family of brands and people-first retail experiences while being committed to community and sustainable profitable growth.
Company’s most successful achievement: It’s difficult to name just one achievement –our incredible team, over 1,000 strong, has navigated a highly complex and rapidly evolving industry to become a market leader. GTI was among the first to go public and access the capital markets, which is just one example of our team being ahead of curve to position our business for the future.
Has the company raised any capital (yes or no): Yes
if so, how much?: Over $350 million since being founded in 2014.
Any plans on raising capital in the future? We recently completed a $105 million debt financing which was a huge win for our business and shareholders. This type of self-conducted debt financing was the first of its kind in our industry and helps us continue to drive down the cost of capital to position our team and infrastructure for long term success.
Most important company 5 year goal: Continue to lead the industry through fast-paced regulatory change and be a place where our team can grow both professionally and personally – ultimately positioning GTI to generate over $1 billion in sales.