Each week we highlight entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry for our viewers to learn more about the leading cannabis executives of our time.
This week, we highlight Kyle Powers of PrestoDoctor. Kyle Powers is an experienced technology veteran in the San Francisco Bay Area. Before founding PrestoDoctor in 2015, he worked at large technology corporations such as PayPal and IBM, as well as a few startups.
Kyle originates from the Midwest and attended the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. Immediately following graduation, he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to pursue a career in technology and startups, ultimately landing in the cannabis industry. Today, he focuses on using his technology expertise to build high value and explosive growth companies.
In our interview with Kyle, we asked a variety of questions to gain further insight into being a cannabis entrepreneur:
Welcome, Kyle, as this week’s Entrepreneur of the Week. It is an honor highlighting you this week. For our readers who may be unfamiliar can you please share with us more about PrestoDoctor?
Kyle Powers: PrestoDoctor is the easiest and most private way to speak to a doctor about medical cannabis and get your card in California or Nevada. Try it for yourself and find out why we’re the #1-rated telehealth company online.
What are the most important advantages your customers get when working with your products?
Kyle Powers: Access to the highest-quality and best-educated doctors in medical cannabis, as well as the best customer service in the industry, guaranteed 🙂
How do you see PrestoDoctor helping the cannabis industry positively?
Kyle Powers: PrestoDoctor is aimed at bringing professional software and medical service to the cannabis industry, breaking away from the typical “stoner” stereotypes.
Is there anything that surprised you about being an entrepreneur in the cannabis industry?
Kyle Powers: Recruiting the right team can be a challenge. Some people aren’t comfortable yet working in the cannabis industry, as it’s still a bit taboo in many places. Lots of people see the potential and would love to join, but I’ve had a few people who said they’re not ready to come out to their friends and family as a cannabis user. You don’t get that reaction in most other industries.
As a founder, we are all bound to make a mistake or two, what is one you’ve done that in return ended up being one of your biggest learning lessons?
Kyle Powers: Early on we were partnering with many different companies in the industry to help customer growth. One of them turned out to be below our standards, and it was hurting our professional image. We quickly cut ties with that company, but from that point, we decided to do a bit more due diligence before agreeing to share our brand with other businesses. Don’t let another company bring you down; only work with companies who are moving upwards.
What is the hardest part about launching a startup?
Kyle Powers: The most difficult part is figuring out what’s important and keeping the company moving in the right direction. We had some very innovative technology when we first launched (related to verification of recommendations inside dispensaries), but it was a bit of a chicken and egg type problem and was too difficult to sell without having a large customer base. It was a hard choice to leave it behind, but it was the right decision.
What is the best piece of advice you would like to share with fellow entrepreneurs who are looking to launch a business in the cannabis industry?
Kyle Powers: You need to have a problem-solver attitude, as there are more challenges in this industry than any other that I’ve encountered. From banking, advertising, and rapidly changing laws, there’s a new problem every week that needs to be solved. It can get overwhelming at times, but if you enjoy a good challenge, it is very rewarding.
I would love to hear about one of your proudest moments or achievements that you consider to be most significant to your career.
Kyle Powers: The most important accomplishment is probably just deciding to make the leap and quit my comfortable (yet boring) corporate job and start building PrestoDoctor. I had never worked in cannabis or healthcare previously, so there was lots of learning to be done. It was a big risk, but I decided that it was necessary to go full-time on PrestoDoctor in order to get it to where it is today. Two years later and we’ve got the top-rated healthcare company online (including non-cannabis companies) and tens of thousands of happy patients.
Wow, that is awesome. Is there someone you consider a role model that you believe helped provide you with motivation and inspiration?
Kyle Powers: Bill Gates – he has dedicated his life to improving health, education, and quality of life around the world, and is saving millions of lives through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, even as many countries are cutting back on humanitarian aid efforts.
Now you sound like a busy man, how do you stay balanced? Any hobbies?
Kyle Powers: My life is a little bit unbalanced, working a bit too much on making PrestoDoctor the best company in the industry. I try to get to the gym at least a few days per week, and I’ve decided to learn how to snowboard this year (switching from skiing, it’s work-in-progress). I’ve also set out a goal to build a robot this year, as it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. If you don’t hear from me in a few months, you can assume the robot became too powerful 🙂
What about books, any books you are currently reading?
Kyle Powers: I read mostly non-fiction, and I’m currently working through Practical Electronics for Inventors: It’s not related to anything I’m doing in the industry right now. But got to get my robot chops somehow. I suppose I should have just done some electrical engineering in college, but c’est la vie 🙂
What are the tools of the trade that you use the most? Favorite gadget?
Kyle Powers: Lots of email (too much email). Instagram messages tend to work better than cold emails, in my experience. My favorite gadget that I’m playing with lately is called a Fidget Spinner (warning: addictive): https://en.
Where do you see yourself and your business in 10 years?
Kyle Powers: I see PrestoDoctor being the leading telemedicine provider for cannabis in hopefully all 50 states (and maybe internationally!) in 10 years, but I also hope to advance the medical research into cannabis as I’m certain there are many benefits yet to be discovered.
Now on that note, how can we as an industry make a positive difference in society?
Kyle Powers: Focus on improving people’s lives through cannabis, and don’t cut corners. Cannabis is finally at the tipping point where most people view it positively, and we want to keep that momentum going. I always try to go the extra mile to help out those in need, and hopefully, the good karma will be worth it!
To learn more about PrestoDoctor; you can go to www.PrestoDoctor.com
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