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San Diego is beginning to build a name for cannabis ancillary and tech since the cannabis accelerator, Canopy San Diego officially announced its’ Fall cohort in October 2016. The first cohort showcased a diverse group of companies that impressed both the San Diego entrepreneurial and cannabis community. As Fall turns to Winter and Winter turns to Spring, a new cohort of startups are filling the Sorrento Valley Canopy SD headquarters.

Canopy SD officially announced their spring cohort today, out of 100 applicants 8 companies were chosen. Each company went through a thorough vetting process that included office open hour meetings, interviews, and background checks.

As part of the cohort, each company receives an initial $20k in capital. The cohort goes through a 16-week cannabis-specific program that is designed to spur development and prepare the portfolio companies to raise outside capital upon graduation in late July. While also gaining access to a collaborative workspace, introductions to mentors, and investors who are well established in either the cannabis industry or San Diego entrepreneurial community.

The eight companies selected include:

BudTender is a Canadian mobile application which, lets you purchase medical marijuana from your mobile device through licensed dispensaries. It allows customers to view dispensaries menus and lets them purchase products for pick up and skip dispensary lines.

Collectif is a peer-to-peer social marketplace for cannabis-friendly accommodations and cannabis-inspired experiences. Our goal is to grow and strengthen the cannabis conscience community.

EventHi is the world’s first ticketing and registration platform that is built for the cannabis culture. EventHi is an online technology that helps bring people together offline through a variety of events and social experiences in a cannabis-friendly environment.

MJ Hybrid Solutions is a start-up training platform that aims to fill the cannabis sales voids with compassion to increase company profits and retain customer loyalty. The legal cannabis industry will experience a new wave of sales leaders as a result of the MJ Hybrid System.

Ripe Metrics is a Customer Experience Management (CEM) platform helping businesses in the cannabis industry better understand their customers. We combine feedback with real-time analytics to enable companies to gain insight and drive better decisions based on the voice of their customer.

Traffic Roots is bringing digital display advertising to the cannabis industry. We are helping cannabis companies scale their digital advertising footprint by introducing a programmatic self-serve ad platform.

Urban Labs is the first scalable cannabis laboratory to embrace the peer to peer economy. Turnkey technology and processes come together to deskill a previously complex process into an affordable business opportunity for every entrepreneur.

VertiCann is the first turnkey vertical cannabis cultivation system developed for the commercial cannabis industry.  VertiCann’s innovative design reduces the cost of cannabis production by up to 50% while increasing the canopy size by up to 500% when compared to traditional cultivation methods.

When speaking with Jack Scatizzi, Managing Partner of Canopy SD, he shared some of the key strengths he saw in this upcoming cohort. “We have two companies that have management teams with deep industry expertise and we have two companies that are bringing expertise from outside of the cannabis industry to address real problems the industry is struggling to address. We have our first international company that is developing a consumer-facing app for the Canadian cannabis industry, which is also very exciting to us.”

The next four months each of these cohorts will go through what is an accelerated business boot camp, preparing each of their companies for demo day. When looking at the curriculum, Canopy SD team made a few changes to the roster for the spring program.

Canopy reviewed each of the previous mentor presentations, along with the cohort surveys, and have eliminated a number of mentor presentations that the fall cohort did not respond to and have reached out to a number of additional new mentors within the San Diego entrepreneurial and cannabis communities to help address any gaps they felt were missing from the fall curriculum. They also adjusted the format of some of the mentor presentations to help ensure each team receives key takeaway points as well as ample opportunity for one on one coaching/mentoring.

We got a chance to speak with a few of the cohort and asked them each a few questions.

Christian, Founder of TrafficRoots on why he applied to the accelerator: “I was very intrigued to find out that there was an incubator program that was cannabis-focused. Literally the day I found out about it, I reached out for the open office hours only to get an immediate reply that the fall cohort had begun and to check back next year. Fortunately a few months later I got a call back for open time slots and I jumped on it. I knew that if I could get into Canopy that would help expedite my roadmap to success in the industry. I knew I needed guidance in a space that I wasn’t too familiar, and Canopy seemed to provide the gap I needed to fill.”

Ali, CEO/Founder of Eventhi on what he and his team are looking forward to in the program: We are excited about growing EventHi with the knowledge and expertise from CanopySD’s mentors alongside our fellow cannabis companies!”

Melissa, CEO of MJ Hybrid Solutions on what makes MJ Hybrid Solutions stands out: MJ Hybrid Solutions puts a primary focus on people. My passion is developing and educating employees in this industry to be successful by having compassion towards the consumer, being able to build relationships and understand what is best for each consumer, and educating the consumer so they are aware of all the benefits and products available.”  

When looking at Canopy San Diego’s accelerator program as a whole, San Diego is on the quick path to being a hub for Cannabis tech and ancillary companies. For those who are looking at growing their business in the cannabis industry, Jack wanted to share some advice, “Remember, just because it’s problem/annoyance for you as a cannabis consumer it does not mean that it’s a problem/annoyance for the rest of the market. So take the time to figure out just how big your potential market is and whether or not your solution represents a niche to have or a need to have to your potential customer.”

Stay tuned over the next few months as DCN will be sharing more about each of these rising startups.

To learn more about canopy San Diego, watch our Inside Out segment by clicking here.

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