In 2015, CanopyBoulder, a venture fund, and business accelerator successfully raised $1.2 million to invest in 20 early-stage startups providing ancillary products and services to the legal cannabis industry. Two years later, the Canopy Accelerator has announced it’s 6th cohort of Cannabis tech companies in Canopy’s hometown, Boulder, Colorado.
When reviewing the lineup of the ten companies participating in this Spring cohort, the businesses range from geo-mapping technology to help consumers find the best value on cannabis products, to vending machines that use facial recognition technology to securely identify consumers to a cannabis digital media company breaking the stigma surrounding women and minorities.
The next 16 weeks the ten startups will go through weeks of intensive pitch practice, refinement of their business models, and prepare each company to raise outside capital while also providing access to local venture firms and key figures within the local entrepreneurial community.
Patrick Rea, CEO of CanopyBoulder stated that “A big part of how we help the companies who enter the Canopy Accelerator program is by tailoring the program to the specific needs of each company. Though there are standard elements of the program, Canopy is not a one-size-fits-all experience.”
Mason Levy, Program Manager of CanopyBoulder stated, “The first couple of weeks … expect everything to be turned upside down, it’s like jumping on already fast moving treadmill. You’ll meet a ton of mentors who have expertise in building and running cannabis businesses. Add to that a pile of assumptions to test, feedback to compile, and still push forward key business task.”
Each company accepted into Canopy’s program will receive $30,000 in seed funding with the chance to earn an additional $50,000 of funding later in the program.
The ten companies in the spring cohort include:
- Snapp Digital provides ad control for digital networks. Snapp’s platform allows advertisers to buy ad space and manage content from a simple dashboard, solving the problem of buying and managing ad space in a simplified and cost-effective platform. Founded by Dustin Lato and Ron Warner of Cleveland, Ohio.
- Solutions Vending believes smart vending machines aren’t smart enough. SVI utilizes facial recognition software to convert standard vending machines into an intelligent data collection kiosk, collecting valuable purchasing information. Founded by Dawn Dickson of Miami, Florida.
- Who Is Happy connects cannabis consumers around the globe with an international geo-location based social network. Launched in 2016, the app quickly grew to 170,000 users and has almost 1M check-ins to date. Founded by Joao Paulo Costa and Henrique Torelli.
- Cannabis Big Data integrates with data sources such as POS and accounting to publish critical business management reports that identify areas for improved efficiencies and revenue. Founded by Henry Finkelstein of Colorado Springs, Colorado.
- Sana Packaging believes current packaging solutions are wasteful, don’t store efficiently, and don’t allow space for branding and compliance labels. Sana offers rectangular, stackable cannabis containers made from biodegradable hemp-based plastic, resulting in a reduction of their carbon footprint by eliminating traditional petroleum-based plastic from the equation. Founded by Ron Basak-Smith of Easton, Connecticut and James Eichner of Montagnola, Switzerland.
- Bloom Automation provides robotics for the cannabis industry. A solution for the high cost of manual labor, Bloom creates high-tech robotics that allows for tasks within a cultivation setting to be automated. Founded by Jon Gowa of Boston, Massachusetts.
- CannaZoning is a platform that provides visualization of state and local marijuana zoning laws, helping businesses understand the lay of the land, filter the noise, and avoid costly pitfalls associated with cannabis business zoning. Founded by Ben Livingston of Seattle, Washington.
- Firesale uses geo-mapping technology to provide real-time information on cannabis deals in any location. Its user-friendly search functionality allows consumers to find flower based on potency, strain or price. Founded by Damien Payne and Clay Nutting of Sacramento, California.
- Estrohaze is a cannabis-focused media outlet designed to break the stigma surrounding women and minorities. The platform includes resources, career opportunities, and lifestyle content that focuses on women of color benefiting from the cannabis plant. Founded by Safon Floyd, Kali Wilder and Sirita Wright of Brooklyn, New York.
- Croptimize provides technology to drive efficiencies for growers, encouraging energy savings and conservation. They optimize demand profiles and reduce operating expenses through machine learning to leverage rate structure management and utility incentives. Founded by Kevin Mayer of Boulder, Colorado.
So what does CanopyBoulder look for when reviewing these applications? Rea stated, “The standards are still the same, is there traction with this idea, is there a larger addressable market and then most importantly, the founder and founding team is a top priority. We want to see intelligently driven team members who are also coachable.
Don’t forget to watch our interview with Jack Scatizzi, Managing Director of Canopy San Diego, where he gives entrepreneurs tips on how to apply to a cannabis accelerator.
We are looking forward to keeping you updated on their progress over the coming months and excited to see the growth each company reaches as they make their way to their demo day in May.
Wondering if you should apply to Fall cohort? Patrick offered some last minute advice, “The industry isn’t getting smaller, now is the time to take a chance and launch your business. Remember the quality of each applicant improves with every application process for every cohort and having an MVP or beta product and traction with your idea is important. Also, it is important to build a team; soul founders have to work 10x harder but make sure you do your due diligence with each team member. ”