The ArcView Group has been helping shape the cannabis industry since 2010, and last year they announced their plan to work with Canopy Boulder in 2015 to connect startup companies in the cannabis industry with the tools they need to thrive. Applicants who were accepted to the first Canopy Boulder business accelerator program this spring received $20,000 in seed funding, three months of intensive business training, and contact with mentors who are longtime professionals in the cannabis industry. The initial group of ten companies finished their training just in time for the ArcView investor forum, held in Denver on June 26th and 27th. I was able to speak with the co-founder of Healthy Headie Lifestyle and winner of the Best Pitch award at the ArcView forum to hear about her experience during the CanopyBoulder training and the ArcView investor weekend.
Holly Alberti and her husband Steve founded Healthy Headie in Massachusetts in 2014. Building their business model off of the Mary Kay concept of in-home, direct-sales, Healthy Headie works with independent distributors to set up customized demonstrations of top of the line vaporizers. Upon being accepted to the Canopy Boulder program in February of this year, they relocated to Boulder with their small team of associates. Overall, there were ten companies accepted to the Canopy Boulder program, and they were taken through a comprehensive 13 week course on starting a business in the cannabis industry. The training was from the ground up, starting with an overview of basic cannabis products available on the market, to taking each team through rigorous practice pitches in front of potential investors. Throughout the process there were networking opportunities, and qualified mentors to guide each team in creating the most effective pitch for their target investors. The diverse group of companies accepted to the program shows how truly expansive the cannabis industry is becoming. Healthy Headie was joined by entrepreneurs seeking to improve analytics, advertise cannabis friendly activities online, and sell all-in-one grow setups, among others.
Canopy Boulder provided the ideal training to prepare participating teams for their chance to pitch at the ArcView Investor Forum. Companies who pitched that weekend had to qualify for this event separately from CanopyBoulder, by first scoring high enough on a Q&A with investors at the beginning of June. Qualifying teams then got a chance to give a 7 minute, shark-tank style pitch for their startup company in front of close to 500 potential investors. As alumni of Oaksterdam University and longtime networking professionals, the Healthy Headie team was feeling prepared for this intense experience. “I knew there was a lot riding on my performance, and how I was able to present the company, but I felt extremely confident given my experience in the industry,” Holly said. This combination of experience, confidence, and a great business model won Alberti and her team the best pitch award at the end of the weekend, out of approximately 250 startup companies to participate.
According to ArcView Group’s president and co-founder Stephan DeAngelo, “There is no shortage of business opportunities or investors ready to get into the cannabis industry. What’s missing is an abundance of well-qualified, and well-supported teams executing pressure-tested, investment-ready business plans.” ArcView and CanopyBoulder will continue working to bridge the gap between investors and entrepreneurs, with another cohort beginning their training on September 1st.