Tag Archives: cannabis business

marijuana business; interesting read.

Admin; this is an encouraging read for the male dominated marijuana business.  It looks like the contributions of these ladies will be inspiring to those women that grow, sell both medically and recreationally.

 Debra Borchardt Contributor

I write about the business of marijuana.

BUSINESS 5/28/2015 @ 12:37PM

The Top Businesswomen In The Cannabis Industry

The non-traditional world of the cannabis industry looks very much like the regular corporate world – all men, but these women are out to change that. If marijuana were legalized for general use nationwide, the industry could grow to $45 billion, second only to the beer industry according to MarijuanaBusiness Daily’s 2015 Factbook. As a result, there has been a boom in start-up companies hoping to get into the industry early and the amount of capital willing to fund these companies has increased by 900%. There are some impressive, influential women that have jumped right into the industry with hopes of establishing a strong foothold and breaking down traditional corporate barriers. They are positive, strong willed women and they run their companies “like a boss.” These are the top business women in the marijuana sector.

Emily Paxhia – A co-founder of Poseidon Asset Management, Emily and her brother Morgan decided to get into the cannabis industry after the tragic loss of both parents to cancer. They saw first hand how medical marijuana could have helped ease their parents illness. When she and her brother found themselves out on the west coast, the former New Yorkers saw that the timing was right to strike out on their own and return to their entrepreneurial roots. Paxhia brought to the table ten plus years of work as a brand consultant and market researcher. Emily’s ability to reach out to investors and her brother’s investing skills were the magic for founding Poseidon Asset Management. Along with their third partner Christopher Otchy, the fund was established in January of 2014. Poseidon is hoping to raise $10-15 million dollars in capital this year.

Emily Paxhia of Poseidon Asset Management presenting at the WomenGrow Leadership Conference on May 17th of this year.

Emily Paxhia of Poseidon Asset Management presenting at the WomenGrow Leadership Conference on May 17th of this year.

Jazmin Hupp – WomenGrow was founded in the summer of 2014 by Jazmin Hupp and Jane West. WomenGrow is a national professional network that connects leaders and entrepreneurs in the marijuana industry. The group cultivates female leadership through programs and events across the country. In just a short time the group has grown to 30 chapters nationwide. Hupp is the Executive Director and spends a whopping 35 weeks of every year on the road. “We were attending these cannabis events and we weren’t finding our tribe,” said Hupp. “So we decided to set up these events meant to welcome women into the industry and be the first place they come when they are interested in the industry.” The group is sponsored by companies within the industry and has received commitments from fifty different companies and uses the #First50 to recognize this campaign. The group’s next big event they are involved with is the Cannabis World Congress in New York June 17-19.

Amy Poinsett and Jessica Billingsley – Cannabis software company MJ Freeway  is headed by two dynamic women. Amy Poinsett is the co-founder and CEO and Jessica Billinsley is the other co-founder and COO. Billingsley followed a traditional business path of starting a company when she couldn’t find the product she needed in the marketplace. She had invested in the first licensed marijuana business in Colorado and was asked to choose the software needed to run the business. Nothing existed. That’s when she and Poinsett decided to use their tech backgrounds and create a platform that tracked every gram of marijuana and every dollar, now known as seed-to-sale software. MJ Freeway has 1,000 licenses in 19 states. It is one of the few American companies to translate its product into Spanish and they were also one of the few American companies to attend the World Cannabis Conference in Spain. These girls are going global.

Dr. Lakisha Jenkins – This woman is a powerhouse. She holds a Doctorate in Naturopathy and a BSA in Holistic Nutrtion. She is the founder and CEO of the Kiona Foundation and its subsidiary The Farm’acy, which operate two health cooperatives. She also serves as the founding director and President of Jenasis Cooperative which is a business and employment cooperative. This superwoman is also President of the California Cannabis Industry Associationand serves on the board of the National Cannabis Industry Association. As part of the NICA board Jenkins advocates for responsible business practices and corporate accountability. As President of the CCIA, Jenkins has pushed for regulation of the marijuana industry in California and the group is working with politicians to craft legislation that will cut down on illegal cannabis cultivation and protect those willing to work within new regulations.

Juliana Carella – Carella founded Auntie Dolores in 2008. Auntie Dolores is a line of edible medical marijuana products, whose name is a play on the Spanish term pain. Infused products are a small slice of the medical marijuana world, but when it comes to recreational use, some stores are seeing edible products outsell smoked product. Infused owners expect to see a 65% increase in business this year and if more states legalize retail marijuana, the group will see more increases. Auntie Dolores products are available in 150 dispensaries in California and are hoping to expand to other states. The products consistently contain 10mg of THC and range from savory to sweet products. In addition to the brownies, cookies and nuts, Auntie Dolores also makes pet treats. The company hopes to license its brand and has plans to look for more opportunities with investors.


Cannabis is the growth industry


Start-Ups Seize Marijuana Opportunities as Big Companies Hold Back


When Garett Fortune’s brother was found to have cancer in early 2013, it was so advanced that all he could do was to try to live out the remainder of his life in as little pain and discomfort as possible. That meant taking about 30 pills a day, Mr. Fortune said — until his brother tried marijuana.

“I saw him go from 30 pills a day to almost zero,” he said. “It helped his appetite and the nausea. He had a way better quality of life at the end than he would have without the cannabis. It made me a proponent of the industry.”

It also gave Mr. Fortune the idea for a business. With more states legalizing marijuana for medical uses — and, in Colorado and Washington, recreational ones — Mr. Fortune identified one of the industry’s challenges: packaging. The old standby, the resealable plastic bag, was not sufficiently effective, especially for a regulated industry, and Mr. Fortune already owned OdorNo, a company that made odor-proof bags for human and animal waste.

Mr. Fortune proposed a new product, odor-proof and child-resistant marijuana bags, to OdorNo’s advisory board. He expected the members to laugh him out of the room, but they did not. “Every single one of them told me: ‘This is the biggest opportunity on the planet right now. Follow that.’ ”


Garett Fortune is chief executive of FunkSac, a company that makes odor-proof, child-resistant bags for packaging marijuana.CreditDavid Maxwell for The New York Times

In May he licensed out production and distribution of OdorNo, and he and his team began building FunkSac in Denver. Although FunkSac bags are awaiting government approval, Mr. Fortune said he had hundreds of thousands of orders from cultivators, dispensaries and wholesalers. The company plans to begin delivering them this month and estimates it will have first-year revenue of about $2 million.

Mr. Fortune said he had been contacted by dispensaries in 17 of the 22 states where medical marijuana was legal. “Right now,” he said, “it’s like drinking from a fire hose.”

To many, today’s cannabis industry resembles a modern-day Gold Rush. Troy Dayton, co-founder and chief executive of the ArcView Group in San Francisco, a network of 250 high-net-worth investors that backs cannabis start-ups, said more than 30 early-stage companies contact it every week. In the last year, he said, the group sent about $12 million in funding to 14 companies.

The size of the legal cannabis industry in the United States, measured by sales of the plant, was $1.5 billion in 2013, according to ArcView, which projects it will reach $2.6 billion in 2014 and $10 billion by 2018 — figures that do not include the growing numbers of ancillary businesses. The entire industry is dominated by small businesses, Mr. Dayton said, both because it is so new and because marijuana’s legality remains murky. Banks, for example, have been reluctant to take deposits or make loans to dispensaries because the drug is still illegal under federal law.

“You can’t have a national business,” Mr. Dayton said, because the laws vary by state. Opportunities for small businesses also exist because the stigma associated with the industry has discouraged bigger companies from getting involved. “You can’t find another industry growing at this clip that doesn’t have any major players,” he said. “That gives the little guy a chance to make a run at this.”

That potential has spawned a wide array of cannabis start-ups — many incorporating novel technologies.Potbotics in New York City has raised almost $3 million from friends and family and has three cannabis-related products in the works, including a “virtual budtender” known as Potbot that it expects to be available for sale next year. A budtender is a dispensary worker who is knowledgeable about and sells marijuana; Potbot is a robot with a tablet-size monitor that is meant to replace the budtender.

The plan is to place Potbot robots in dispensaries and medical facilities where marijuana patients can ask questions and get information. “Dispensary budtenders almost always have an agenda — they are trying to sell what they have most in their stock,” said David Goldstein, a founder of the company, which was started in October. “We created a software and technology platform that is able to talk to patients and educate them about what strains are actually best for their ailments.”


Although the bags are awaiting government approval, Mr. Fortune said he had hundreds of thousands of orders. CreditDavid Maxwell for The New York Times

A San Diego start-up, Herbalizer, makes a small, sleek vaporizer with a heating system that took three years and two engineers to develop. Its co-founder and chief executive, Josh Young, previously designed advanced NASA computer systems and military programs; Bob Pratt, a co-founder and the chief technology officer, was a designer of stealth bomber radar systems. And yet, Mr. Young said, the technology behind the Herbalizer “has been the greatest challenge of our lives.”

The vaporizer heats up in seconds and uses a 32-megahertz processor, a 300-watt halogen bulb and a temperature sensor to release active compounds in the plant selectively, without creating smoke. Ninety percent of Herbalizer’s customers use it for marijuana, Mr. Young said, although drug paraphernalia laws prevent the device from being marketed for that purpose (it is sold instead for use with herbs like peppermint and lavender). The company expects first-year revenue of more than $2 million.

Fund-raising has been tricky for Herbalizer and similar companies. Traditional investors remain leery, said Christian Groh, a partner and the chief operations officer at Privateer Holdings, a private equity firm in Seattle that invests in cannabis start-ups. “In the U.S., marijuana remains a Schedule I narcotic, so you still have this outlaw mentality within the community,” he said. “I know there’s a lot of exuberance now, but I don’t think we’re at the point where we’ll see real institutional money or a Fortune 500 company making a play in this space. Not yet.”

In 2011, Privateer bought Leafly, a Seattle start-up that provides consumer ratings and reviews of marijuana strains, dispensaries and recreational shops. Most dispensaries carry 20 to 50 strains, Mr. Groh said, and the lack of standardization and consistency is a big issue. Leafly has about 80,000 reviews in its system.

“That information has to come from the community right now, because there is no WebMD for marijuana,” said Cy Scott, one of Leafly’s founders. The company also offers tools for dispensaries that let them manage inventory, update menus online and respond to reviews. Dispensaries and recreational shops pay a monthly subscription fee of $200 to $2,000 a month, said Mr. Scott, who expects revenue this year of $3.6 million.

SpeedWeed, a Los Angeles delivery service, allows customers to place an order online or by phone and have it delivered — depending on traffic — within 45 minutes. Although there are hundreds of marijuana delivery services in Los Angeles, AJ Gentile, a founder, said SpeedWeed was the largest. “Delivery services here are typically guys driving around in their car with a big box of weed,” he said.

Mr. Gentile said that SpeedWeed worked only with cultivators its legal team had vetted and that along with its delivery service, it planned to sell proprietary software to dispensaries nationwide. He estimated that the company had 20,000 legal customers and that revenue would double this year, up from $1.7 million in 2013.

Biological Advantage, founded in April, has a system of products it plans to introduce this month that are applied to a marijuana plant’s soil and leaves to enhance photosynthesis. The company’s chief executive, John Kempf, is also founder of Advancing Eco Agriculture, a crop-nutrition consulting company he started that has invested $400,000 in Biological Advantage.

Mr. Kempf said his companies were a bit ahead of the game, anticipating what the market would need. “Growers aren’t yet looking at nutrition as a means for improving the medicinal concentrations in plants,” he said. “But they will.”