Each week we highlight entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry so our viewers can learn who is behind the team of the upcoming and leading businesses, organizations, and non-profits in the industry.
This week we would like to introduce Kurt Akers, CEO of Kannatopia. Kurt Akers is the co-founder and CEO of Kannatopia, a social network for modern cannabist’s aged 21 and older. Kannatopia aims to “Connect the Cannabis World” while reducing the social stigmas and stereotypes that exist around cannabis. The organization works out of Chicago’s premier tech incubator, 1871.
Kurt is also a co-organizer of CannaTech Chicago, a monthly meetup bringing together people interested in cannabis and technology in Illinois. He has been actively involved in the Cannabis Industry for 5+ years and has a very strong passion for the Cannabis Industry as his brother is an epileptic who uses Cannabis to help with medication side effects. Kurt’s activity also spans the industry as a cannabis angel investor and mentor of early stage startups.
In our interview we asked Kurt a variety of questions sharing his experiences, he had some insightful information and advice to share with each of you.
Please share with our viewers, a little about Kannatopia.
Kurt Akers: Kannatopia is the Facebook for the Cannabis Ecosystem. A social network for those who are 21 and older. It is “your” community to connect, socialize, experience, share, learn and explore with users who have similar interests. Our mission at Kannatopia is a simple one. We want to put an end to social stigmas and stereotypes that exist for medical patients and adult recreational consumers.
How do you stay balanced? Any hobbies outside of your work?
Kurt Akers: Balance is always a tough one to find between work, friends & family matters. I do yoga, periodic pickup hockey games, play video games, watch tv shows & play with my dog Derby (mini wiener dog).
What is the best piece of advice you can give to others looking to launch a company in the cannabis industry?
Kurt Akers: Become an expert of the industry, know your information & understand how it works.
What’s the hardest part of founding and running a startup?
Kurt Akers: Fighting against time is always one of the toughest parts.
Being a founder, we are bound to make a mistake or two, what is one mistake you made that turned up being one of your biggest learning lessons?
Kurt Akers: In Life- a personal relationship I had, In Business- estimation of time.
What book are you currently reading and for pleasure or business? or what book would recommend to a fellow entrepreneur, as a must read?
Kurt Akers: Business – Sprint by Jake Knapp, Branden Kowitz & John Zeratsky and a Must Read – The Hard Things About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz.
How are you helping the cannabis industry in a positive way?
Kurt Akers: My story is pulled from many different directions, a big one being that my brother is an epileptic using medical cannabis and is a big part of why I got into this industry years ago.
As a company, we are working on Connecting the Cannabis Ecosystem, Elevating Cannabis Experiences and reducing the stigmatization and stereotypes that surround cannabis use.
As I mentioned in my bio, I am also a Co-Organizer for CannaTech Chicago and involved as an investor into our industry as well.
How can we as an industry continue to make a positive difference in society?
Kurt Akers: Keep working together with one common goal of bringing our industry from the black market and cartels into a legal white market (taxed, regulated). Forge relationships with those that share this perspective and not about getting rich quickly.
To learn more about Kannatopia, you can learn more at www.kannatopia.com
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