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Highly Objective

Highly Objective

By Dai Truong

Conversations with leading executives and investors in the Cannabis industry.
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Green Flower, CEO, Max Simon

Highly Objective

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Grön, CEO, Christine Smith
Grön, CEO, Christine Smith
Grön (pronounced Grewn) is one of North America’s largest producers of adult-use cannabis-infused edibles. The Company uses ingredients are organic, single-origin, Fair Trade Certified, and locally sourced whenever possible. Product offerings include cannabis-infused chocolate, sugar-coated Pearls, Mega Pearls, and Candy-Coated Pips. Grön cannabis edibles are available in Arizona, Missouri, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, and across Canada, with multiple new markets that will be added in 2023.
39:26
December 07, 2022
Jane, CEO, Socrates Rosenfeld (2nd appearance)
Jane, CEO, Socrates Rosenfeld (2nd appearance)
Soc is back for a second time to provide updates on Jane, including the recently launched iOS app and how the company thinks about building adjacent products to create a win-win-win for retailers, brands, and consumers. If you're interested in Soc's first appearance, check it out here: https://www.highlyobjective.com/p/-podcast-jane-technologies-ceo-socrates
50:47
December 01, 2022
Treez, CEO, John Yang
Treez, CEO, John Yang
Treez is the leading enterprise cloud commerce platform that streamlines retail and supply chain operations within the cannabis market. Through Treez's innovative technology and open API platform for retailers and brands, the company provides a robust breadth and depth of software and digital payments solutions, along with dedicated 24/7 customer support, required to operate a successful modern dispensary. Solutions include point-of-sale, dispensary inventory management, omnichannel sales capabilities and multiple cashless payment options all on a mission-critical platform that ensures regulatory compliance across every supply chain transaction. The innovative technology also connects essential brands with their retailers through a centralized brand catalog with real-time market insights. The extensible open API platform provides smooth integration into a variety of best-of-breed solutions, including CRM, marketplace, cashless payments and data analytics across the partner ecosystem. Layered on top is a dedicated client success team and 24/7 customer support, giving retailers everything they need to grow their business. John Yang co-founded Treez in 2016. Prior to Treez, John was a consultant at Slalom Consulting - ranked #3 in the world for business technology consulting and specializing in program management, business process improvement, software development, CRM solutions, and business intelligence. John was also a consultant with Accenture as an experienced information technology management professional.
40:14
November 30, 2022
 Vicente Sederberg, Brandon Kurtzman, Partner // Jason Adelstone, Associate
Vicente Sederberg, Brandon Kurtzman, Partner // Jason Adelstone, Associate
Dai speaks with Jason on the NY and MA and Brandon on What's happening in Germany and Europe more broadly as it relates to regulation, licensing, and M&A. Jason Adelstone is an associate attorney in Vicente Sederberg’s Denver office, where he focuses his practice on federal and international policy, impact litigation, corporate and business law, and cannabis regulatory compliance. From advising clients on international policy reforms—especially as it relates to obligations under the three international drug treaties—to drafting contracts and performing market analyses, Jason is a valuable resource for his clients. Brandon Kurtzman is a partner at Vicente Sederberg LLP, focusing his practice on regulatory and licensing matters in Massachusetts and New York. Clients turn to Brandon for representation and assistance with navigating medical and adult-use application processes, preparation and submission of national merit-based license applications, ongoing compliance and regulatory matters with the Cannabis Control Commission, and regulatory due diligence in connection with M&A deals. Brandon is also a member of VS's national merit licensing team, where he served as the lead attorney for competitive marijuana licensing projects in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Illinois, and Virginia.
01:09:59
October 13, 2022
Safe Harbor Financial, CIO, Paul Penney
Safe Harbor Financial, CIO, Paul Penney
Paul leads the lending strategy, investor relations, and investment opportunities as well as assist with M&A strategy for Safe Harbor. Penney was previously CIO  of KreditForce Capital, a merchant bank focused on emerging growth industries including cannabis, where he managed a portfolio of both public and private equity positions as well as senior secured debt investments. He also served as a strategic advisor and board member to some of the nation's notable cannabis brands and vertically integrated public and private companies including Sunday Goods, Humboldt Farms, Stiiizy, Kikoko, TapRoot, and Kush Co. Prior to KreditForce, Paul became the first U.S.-based analyst to provide official research coverage on the legalized cannabis sector as a Senior Research Analyst and Managing Director at Northland Capital Markets. 
34:26
October 03, 2022
Kiva Co-Founder, Kristi Palmer
Kiva Co-Founder, Kristi Palmer
In 2010, Scott Palmer and Kristi Palmer were inspired by a visit to a local chocolatier and soon started crafting the first Kiva Bars in their home kitchen. They didn’t realize it at the time, but they weren’t just creating a premium edible product, and soon after, a top 3 CA Distributor in Kiva Sales & Services. Dai chats to Kristi about starting Kiva, Why Distribution in addition to Brands, AR, Geographic Footprint, Innovation, Competition, New York, and the current Capital Markets.
37:52
September 21, 2022
Dutchie, Chief Product Officer, Zach Lipson
Dutchie, Chief Product Officer, Zach Lipson
Zach Lipson is Co-Founder and CPO at dutchie, the leading e-commerce and point of sale provider for the cannabis space. As a Product Designer and Product Manager by trade, Zach is driven by beautiful design and solving complex problems in innovative and elegant ways, using technology and design.  We talk through buy vs. build with regards to Dutchie POS and Dutchie Pay, Data, How dutchie thinks about aligning itself with cannabis retailers, and more.
37:50
September 02, 2022
Presidential, CEO, Everett Smith
Presidential, CEO, Everett Smith
Dubbed 'The World's Strongest Pre-Rolls', Presidential is renowned and loved as the producer of the #1 ranked Infused Moonrock Blunt and is one of the top-selling brands in California. We speak to Everett on his background, Presidential's suite of products, collaborations, growth, and funding.
36:18
September 01, 2022
MXXN, CEO, Darnell Smith
MXXN, CEO, Darnell Smith
The recently launched product aims to take the cannabis-infused, non-alcoholic spirit market "to the moon" with three SKUs (Jalisco Agave, London Dry, Kentucky Oak). Darnell Smith is a CPG and alcohol industry veteran and cannabis entrepreneur, innovator and advocate. Smith is the founder and CEO of MXXN, a non-alcoholic, cannabis-infused spirits brand that is evolving today’s cocktail culture and disrupting the alcohol and cannabis industry. MXXN is the first product launch of MOJO Ventures, which is part of the digital + creative consultancy MOJO he founded that has done extensive work for Procter & Gamble Ventures, Barcardi’s Incubation group, PepsiCo and more. Prior to founding MXXN and MOJO, Smith was a Senior Digital Transformation Lead at Infosys Consulting working with the likes of Adidas, Ralph Lauren, AB InBev, Novartis, GSK, Pfizer, AMEX and more. Prior to that, Smith worked for over a decade in various agency and client side roles focused on innovation and commercialization for the likes of Diageo and Pernod Ricard.
39:55
August 03, 2022
Jetty Extracts, CEO, Ron Gershoni
Jetty Extracts, CEO, Ron Gershoni
Founded in 2013, Jetty is one of the true originals in the California cannabis market. Jetty began its operations in San Diego with a focus on craft and innovation while applying a strict adherence to compliance, fiscal responsibility, environmental concerns, and community commitment. Today, Jetty’s 65-plus employees work at the company’s 14,000 sq. ft. Oakland headquarters and various other locations throughout California. The company continues to focus on its state-of-the-art production facility, utilizing the latest technology to create industry-leading extracts including award-winning Solventless Vape, Live Resin Vape, and other products.
50:17
July 11, 2022
Bespoke Financial (George Mancheril, Judson Hill) x Blaze (Chris Violas)
Bespoke Financial (George Mancheril, Judson Hill) x Blaze (Chris Violas)
Bespoke Financial has announced an integrated partnership with BLAZE. The partnership establishes an embedded lending product providing cannabis retailers access to Bespoke’s financing at the click of a button within BLAZE’s Dispensary POS software. We speak on how the partnership came about, benefits to retailers, and how it works.
33:60
July 06, 2022
TILT, CEO, Gary Santo
TILT, CEO, Gary Santo
Gary Santo brings more than 25 years of experience in Consumer Credit, Financial Services, Gaming and Technology, Higher Education and Pharma. He has held a variety of senior-level positions at The First Marblehead Corporation, Fitch Ratings, International Game Technology (IGT), Lantheus Medical Imaging and, most recently, Columbia Care.
57:35
June 28, 2022
Ascend Wellness Holdings (AWH), CEO, Abner Kurtin
Ascend Wellness Holdings (AWH), CEO, Abner Kurtin
Abner Kurtin is the Founder and CEO of Ascend Wellness Holdings (AWH) and the Portfolio Manager for JM10 Partners Fund. Established in 2018, JM10 Partners operates two private equity funds that invest growth capital into the cannabis industry. Kurtin has been managing opportunity capital for over 20 years. Prior to AWH, he was the founder of K Capital Partners, a multibillion dollar hedge fund and Ca2 Group a high end real estate development firm in Massachusetts. He started his career at The Baupost Group and served as a member of the Presidents Council of Massachusetts General Hospital and Chairman of the Hill House.
32:49
June 13, 2022
WM Technology, CEO, Chris Beals
WM Technology, CEO, Chris Beals
Chris Beals oversees all aspects of WM Technology’s business and is also a member of the company’s board of directors. Prior to becoming CEO, Chris was WM Technology’s President and General Counsel. Previously, Chris was with Colbeck Capital, Deutsche Telekom, Covington & Burling and Davis Polk.
58:02
May 13, 2022
Alpine IQ, Nick Paschal (CEO) & West Paschal (Chief Revenue Officer)
Alpine IQ, Nick Paschal (CEO) & West Paschal (Chief Revenue Officer)
Alpine IQ empowers the legal cannabis industry by providing customer-focused technology to help retailers and cannabis brands of all sizes resolve growth challenges and generate revenue. The company provides customers with the industry’s most extensive suite of tools to protect, segment, and promote all in-store and online operations. I spoke with Nick and West on 4/20 during the Benzinga Capital Cannabis Conference in Miami, FL.
50:39
May 03, 2022
Bespoke Financial, CEO, George Mancheril
Bespoke Financial, CEO, George Mancheril
Bespoke Financial CEO George Mancheril discusses the company's background, products, customer success stories, and growth plans. Bespoke provides clients access to working capital by offering short term lending options to fuel business growth in the legal cannabis industry, reducing cash flow cycles and providing cannabis companies greater financial flexibility.
48:05
May 02, 2022
AeroPay CEO, Daniel Muller
AeroPay CEO, Daniel Muller
AeroPay provides alternative payment processing solutions to state legal cannabis businesses, offering a convenient and contactless digital payment option.
34:22
March 10, 2022
Pilgrim Soul CEO Shawn Gold
Pilgrim Soul CEO Shawn Gold
Prior to launching Pilgrim Soul, Founder and CEO Shawn Gold started his career as CMO, Head of Marketing & Content for MySpace, where he spearheaded the development and implementation of marketing initiatives and campaigns for MySpace during its growth from 25 to 110 million users worldwide. Following MySpace, Shawn then became the CMO of Lowell Herb Co. Shawn was additionally the CMO at TechStyle Fashion Group which launched the subscription fashion category with Fabletics, JustFab, ShoeDazzle, FabKids, and Rihanna’s SavageXFenty.
50:07
March 03, 2022
Seed & Smith CEO Brooks Lustig
Seed & Smith CEO Brooks Lustig
Brooks Lustig is the CEO at Seed & Smith, a Colorado-based cannabis cultivator and dispensary operator (Denver and Louisville). A native of Boulder, Colorado, Lustig witnessed the rise of craft beer and herbal tea (Celestial Seasonings), and set his hopes on normalizing adult-use cannabis as a similar societal staple. Seed & Smith started in early 2014, focused on two things—creating exceptional cannabis products and demonstrating passion and process for doing so. They rehabbed an old forklift manufacturing facility, turning a dated industrial space into a state of the art production campus that’s open to the public.
49:50
February 19, 2022
Pelorus, President, Rob Sechrist
Pelorus, President, Rob Sechrist
Since 2016, Pelorus has originated 59 commercial real estate loan transactions and deployed $244M to cannabis-use real estate owners, comprising nearly 2 million sq. ft. in eight states across the U.S.
44:53
February 11, 2022
Green Flower, CEO, Max Simon
Green Flower, CEO, Max Simon
Max and I chatted through his background, the company’s early days, raising his $20M Series A, his LinkedIn presence, growth plans for Green Flower, and much more.
51:06
January 15, 2022
Flower by Edie Parker – Founder & Creative Director, Brett Heyman
Flower by Edie Parker – Founder & Creative Director, Brett Heyman
The accessories sold by the Company seems to be on everyone's gift list. I caught up with Brett to talk through the company's history, current markets (IL, MA), why it seems to be so popular with celebrities, luxury smoke shops, and more.
30:04
December 23, 2021
MariMed CEO, Robert Fireman and CFO, Jon Levine
MariMed CEO, Robert Fireman and CFO, Jon Levine
The Company started out writing application & consulting before stepping in to acquire these assets, which is ongoing. Though MariMed is a Tier III MSO, it has margins and a cash position that stands out vs. peers. The podcast covers listing on the CSE, recent performance, markets of interest, product roadmap, and more.
47:22
December 10, 2021
Poseidon Asset Management, Managing Partner, Morgan Paxhia
Poseidon Asset Management, Managing Partner, Morgan Paxhia
I spoke with Morgan Paxhia last week to revisit their funds & performance, fundraising, the recently launched Poseidon AdvisorShares Poseidon Dynamic Cannabis ETF, Mastermind, and more.
01:05:58
December 02, 2021
Flowhub CEO, Kyle Sherman
Flowhub CEO, Kyle Sherman
Flowhub announced a $19 Million Series B (what I’m categorizing it as) round last month led by Headline (Series A Lead), with participation from Poseidon, Massive and Jay-Z. I caught up with CEO, Kyle Sherman, to revisit the early days, funding, and the company’s growth plans, among other things. Notes: Seed (May 2015 through April 2017) — multiple rounds to raise ~$8M from Arcadian, Altitude Investment Management, Phyto Partners, Poseidon $23M Series A (June 2019) — Headline, Poseidon, Evolv Ventures Wanted to broaden the reach as they had raised from ~80% of the Cannabis VC funds at that time Spoke to over 300 firms and individuals; came close with a fund but one of the LPs wouldn’t approve the deal given the vice clause Met his Series A investor, Jett Fein (Headline), at the Fortune Brainstorm Conference $19M Series B (October 2021) — Headline, Poseidon, Massive VC, Jay-Z Introduced to Jay-Z through one of their Angel investors The Company’s newest investor did sell his company, TIDAL, to Square back in March 2021—so I’m going to assume Jay-Z will have some helpful insights on digital payments Remote Work — heavily researched the 1918 pandemic virus, became a fully remote company back in May US Cannabis Council — one of the founding members of the Cannabis Trade Federation which became the US Cannabis Council. Kyle has been active in pushing to build an equitable, diverse, and fair industry Associate Producer on Weed the People Fox Business News Interview
42:27
November 24, 2021
springbig CEO, Jeffrey Harris
springbig CEO, Jeffrey Harris
- Started in 2014 serving - Pivoted in 2016 after seeing two Cannabis retailers on the platform spend 5-10x more than other retailers on the platform - Raised $3.2M Seed (December 2017) led by Mike Gamson (Next Play Ventures), Green Acre Capital and HALLEY Venture Partners also invested - Raised $5M Series A (December 2018) led by Altitude Investment Management, where they targeted only two Cannabis VC firms and got term sheets from both - Raised $11.5M Series B (August 2020) led by TVC Capital, which seems to have a thesis around Cannabis software (also invested in GrowFlow around the same time)
43:55
November 12, 2021
Jane Technologies, CEO, Socrates Rosenfeld
Jane Technologies, CEO, Socrates Rosenfeld
How the idea for Jane Technologies came about, Building a Cannabis Tech company in Santa Cruz, Raising the $6M Series A, Product Offerings, Cannabis Markets
54:12
October 28, 2021
Cannabis Investor – @mayortoby
Cannabis Investor – @mayortoby
Investing in Tier 1 & 2 MSOs, Multiple Expansion, Management teams
01:23:02
October 09, 2021
Harborside Interim CEO, Matt Hawkins
Harborside Interim CEO, Matt Hawkins
Matt is also Managing Partner at Entourage Effect Capital. We discuss M&A, Rerating, California, Verticalization, and Investing.
41:04
September 29, 2021
Planet 13 Co-CEO, Bob Groesbeck
Planet 13 Co-CEO, Bob Groesbeck
Bob Groesbeck talks about the Superstore vs. Neighborhood Stores concept, entry into CA, FL, and IL, House Brands, Wholesale, and M&A.
30:42
September 12, 2021
Ayr Wellness - CEO, Jonathan Sandelman
Ayr Wellness - CEO, Jonathan Sandelman
Jonathan Sandelman talks about the company's most recent quarter, it's trading discount to peers, recent acquisition of LEVIA, cutting down to three core brands, and why he recently joined twitter.
46:23
August 27, 2021