Direct Cannabis Network https://www.directcannabisnetwork.com Direct Cannabis Network provides the latest cannabis business news on tech, entrepreneurship and innovative companies. Wed, 25 Apr 2018 20:50:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.5 https://www.directcannabisnetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/cropped-ICON-32x32.jpg Direct Cannabis Network https://www.directcannabisnetwork.com 32 32 Hotbox Reviews: Vapor Slide V2 https://www.directcannabisnetwork.com/hotbox-reviews-vapor-slide-v2/ https://www.directcannabisnetwork.com/hotbox-reviews-vapor-slide-v2/#respond Wed, 25 Apr 2018 05:14:17 +0000 https://www.directcannabisnetwork.com/?p=15286 Lucia got to test out the Vapor Slide V2 on this episode of Hotbox Reviews. What is the Vapor Slide V2? The Vapor Slide V2 is a revolutionary distillate vaporizer that is the perfect hybrid between pen and dab. Our team has been focused for the past 2 years developing a product with optimal vapor […]

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Lucia got to test out the Vapor Slide V2 on this episode of Hotbox Reviews. What is the Vapor Slide V2?

The Vapor Slide V2 is a revolutionary distillate vaporizer that is the perfect hybrid between pen and dab. Our team has been focused for the past 2 years developing a product with optimal vapor production while maintaining a leakproof and clean cartridge. The V2 delivers great smooth hits, true flavor, and has a battery that lasts 3x longer than the competition.

You can now use 1 product for everything you need with this small, discrete, powerful vaporizer. Use on the go or in any water pipe with a female down-stem!

Vapor Slide V2

Check out below to learn more about Lucia’s review or click PLAY above and enjoy!

Welcome to HotBox Reviews! I’m your host, Lucia, today’s review is on the Vapor Slide V2!

Vapor Slide’s mission is simple. Create a powerful vaporizer that is both reliable and versatile for the user.

I was surprised by how fun this vape was to review. The V2 comes off as a regular vape but one key difference is this vaporizer can be used in a water pipe.

The team is committed to ensuring their vapes stay true to their mission. Vapor Slide has 22 points patented on the design and technology of the V2.

Give it five clicks to turn on. One click to activate the 2-second pre-heat. Two clicks show battery life. Green indicates full. Blue is mid, and Red is low.

Three clicks let you change the voltage from 4 different heat settings, and the V2 has a 14 second shut off feature.

Charging the V2 is made easy since it only requires a micro USB connection.

I’m able to use this “on the go” and when I’m feeling a different type of hit, I can use the V2 in female down stemmed water pipe.

What does the Vapor Slide V2 come with? The box is cool looking. Inside it comes with a micro USB charging cable and an empty magnetic cartridge to fill.

Make sure to use a standard cartridge with the V2 or fill the magnetic cartridge with whatever you like.

Now for the Pros. [pause] Pros of the V2 are it’s sleek, metal design, and the fact it can be used as a show stopper when you use it in a water pipe. Overall it’s a reliable vaporizer that I like using in all settings.

If you have any questions on the Vapor Slide V.2 or like this review, please comment and share this video!

More about Vapor Slide

At Vapor Slide they dedicated to producing cleaner, more effective, more powerful vaporizers. Our mission is to combine the best cartridge and coil technology with the best battery technology to give consumers the most versatile, durable and reliable vaporizers on the market today. Vapor Slide is the brand you can trust.

Meet Brendan Gillis

Brendan P. Gillis, founder, and CEO of Vapor Slide, LLC, has over 10 years of experience in sales and marketing. Since getting his business degree from Full Sail University, he has excelled in growing as a manager and a leader. Gillis is a self-starter and is always thinking big about future products and how current trends will grow. He started Vapor Slide, LLC because of his ability to see growth in the market and his passion for sales.

To get your hands on your very own Vapor Slide, check out: VaporSlide.com

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Advice From The Booth Mom | Pre-Show Strategy and Supporting Tactics https://www.directcannabisnetwork.com/booth-mom-strategy-supporting-tactics/ https://www.directcannabisnetwork.com/booth-mom-strategy-supporting-tactics/#respond Wed, 25 Apr 2018 05:11:41 +0000 https://www.directcannabisnetwork.com/?p=15075 You and your team have been working hard over the past few months preparing for your upcoming shows. First, you mapped out your critical initiatives for your next show. You now understand exactly what your goals are for the show and you have shared them with all of the staff working the booth as well […]

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You and your team have been working hard over the past few months preparing for your upcoming shows. First, you mapped out your critical initiatives for your next show. You now understand exactly what your goals are for the show and you have shared them with all of the staff working the booth as well as the executives of your company.

Then you went out and met with your trade show exhibit house to help you design your booth; you were able to identify different ways to design an exhibit to support your trade show goals.

So what comes next? This week’s article from the Booth Mom will be on building a pre-show marketing strategy. The pre-show marketing strategy will allow you to not only identify and segment your target market efficiently but drive the right people to your exhibit. After all, it is important to try to minimize the amount of money spent on people that will most likely never spend money with your company.

Now, when I am asked what the biggest mistake I see exhibitors make at trade shows is, the answer is a no-brainer. For years, I have started every conversation with a new client with the same question:    

“Pretend the show is over. What happened? Did you get the results you wanted?”

This allows me to quickly find out what an exhibitor’s priorities are – or if they haven’t really given much thought to what specific results they want from their exhibit. At this point, they often realize that although they know they’re not thrilled with past shows’ outcomes, they hadn’t really determined why. And this revelation can make the difference between a wise strategic investment and a large, wasted one-time expense.

To paraphrase Ben Franklin, “Exhibitors who fail to plan are planning to fail.” A successful exhibit starts with a strategic plan and a clear vision of the desired outcome.

So why exhibit?

The ten most common reasons companies give for exhibiting are to:

To generate and gather qualified sales leads (a.k.a. “sales inquiries”) or sell their products or services. By customizing your qualifying questions and taking good notes on your conversations with prospects, you’re ready for a productive post-show follow-up.  

To promote new products. The word “new” is the most persuasive word – and an attendee magnet – when on the show floor, about ¾ of all attendees visit exhibits to keep current on industry products, services, and trends.

To enhance corporate image (brand) and corporate message (awareness). Trade shows are a great place to establish your company as an industry leader, to get the word out on what your company has to offer and to share what sets you apart from your competition. Your key message should be brief, compelling, and showcase the benefits (not the features) of your product/service.

To educate your audience regarding your products and/or services. This can be done in a variety of ways such as with in-booth activities like presentations, demos, or experiential activities that will increase your message’s memorability.

To cement existing client relationships with current customers and key industry partners. By meeting with customers, you can create an opportunity to share your latest and greatest products while also increasing customer loyalty and retention, not to mention boosting additional and repeat sales.

To conduct business meetings with high-profile attendees/prospects who you can’t otherwise reach in the field. These meetings don’t have to be held in your booth during show hours; you can schedule 1-on-1 meetings before or dinner meetings after hours when you don’t have to rush.  

To obtain press/media coverage that extends the show’s reach after the show’s over. It also can be used to establish credibility with prospects who didn’t attend the show.

To identify and recruit new distributors, dealers, representatives, and employees. Don’t miss the opportunity to make contacts where your industry’s distribution channel is all in one place. Moreover, some exhibitors provide their HR Department with space in their booth for recruiting activities.  

To perform competitive and market research. Where else will your staff be able to find all your competitors in one place and evaluate their new offerings? You can utilize this time to gain feedback on current products or future customer needs, use your exhibit for filming current-customer testimonials or holding mini focus groups.

To attend educational conference sessions. Educational conference sessions give your staff the opportunity to stay current and meet prospects in sessions on topics that matter most to them.

Any of these ten can be fine-tuned to help to reach your corporate marketing and sales goals, but to stay focused, most exhibitors hone this list down to their top 3 or 4 exhibiting goals and prioritize them.

Set Objectives, Budget, and Implement

Next, evaluate your written goals into more specific objectives. This includes determining how you’ll measure success and putting timeframes on the objectives that are time-sensitive. 

For example, if you set the goal of “Improve awareness in our target market” as your #1 reason for exhibiting, the objective for this goal could be “To promote our key message to our target audience of 100 CEO’s before, during and after the show via integrated email campaigns and social media to reach each prospect a minimum of 4 times, from a month before the show to a month after the show”. After you’ve determined your show-specific objectives and drafted an implementation plan, you will want to allocate budget dollars to be spent meeting your top objectives.

Write it down!

All prioritized strategic goals, measurable objectives, tactics timeline, and budget that will support implementation should be put in writing and shared with your staff to gain their commitment and support. 

Like the old saying goes, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.” But it won’t get you positive trade show ROI!

Keep an eye out for my next article, as I will dive into lead gathering and management. Do you have a question or want me to go over a specific topic? Click here. 

To stay updated on the latest tech, entrepreneurs and innovative companies in the cannabis industry, click here.

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Growers Spotlight: The Grow Behind Kind Love https://www.directcannabisnetwork.com/growers-spotlight-grow-kind-love/ https://www.directcannabisnetwork.com/growers-spotlight-grow-kind-love/#respond Wed, 25 Apr 2018 02:50:25 +0000 https://www.directcannabisnetwork.com/?p=15278 In this Growers Spotlight, Hunter Wilson of Growers Network interviews Idan Spitz of Kind Love about their grow. Read up about it! Growing Style Tell us about the space you’re using to grow. We’re an all-indoors hydro grow, measuring around 8000 square feet currently. We grow indoors because that’s the only way that you’ll get the best quality […]

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In this Growers Spotlight, Hunter Wilson of Growers Network interviews Idan Spitz of Kind Love about their grow. Read up about it!

Growing Style

Tell us about the space you’re using to grow.

We’re an all-indoors hydro grow, measuring around 8000 square feet currently. We grow indoors because that’s the only way that you’ll get the best quality cannabis. You can grow outdoors and get some acceptable cannabis, but the best stuff can only come when you are able to control every variable. We’re also currently in the process of expanding. A new facility is under construction which should give us a lot of options for growing.

The Kind Love store is in Denver on Alameda Avenue, but the grow itself is northeast of Denver.

Tell me about the plants you’re growing.

We carry over six dozen strains. Some are proprietary strains that we grow to flower, and the others are sold commercially as clones. Over 30 strains are produced to be sold as clones, and we’re one of the bigger clone stores in Denver, as we can crank out about 10,000 per month right now. We may soon expand to 30,000 clones a month with the new facility.

What’s the difference between propagation for resale and propagation for flowering?

We maintain two separate systems for cloning and flowering.

Plants we intend to grow to all the way to flowering are put into an aeroponic system. Aeroponically grown plants are healthier and stronger, but take longer and require more attention.

The clones we grow for resale are placed into jiffy cubes with a nutrient medium, allowing them to grow quickly and relatively easily.

Tell me about your growing equipment.

Environmental Control

We use Stulz HVAC units to control both temperature and RH. We manually control light levels by changing ballast wattages, and we’re looking to add a fertigation system and automation for the entire grow.

Lights

We’re currently in the process of changing our lights. Right now we’re using 1000W single-ended HPS lights. We’re switching to double-ended HPS lights and LEDs. DE HPS has a high PPFD output and a more favorable grow spectrum than single-ended, and LED lights give you the ability to control the spectrum relatively precisely, which is great for the photoreceptor enzymes that modify gene expression in plants.

Media and Nutrients

Veg and flowering grow in coco coir. We have a comprehensive protocol for nutrients depending on the strain and the current part of the cycle the plant is in. While our mix is proprietary, we do use New Millennium Nutrients and Botanicare.

What’s your approach to Pest Management?

We’re restricted heavily on what pesticides we can use, and we can only apply a few things. Therefore, our number one approach is to keep everything away that might infect the plants. Thus we have a very stringent cleanliness policy. Employees who work with the plants are required to take showers in the morning and put on scrubs and shoes that have never left the facility. Visitors are not allowed in the grow rooms, and must wear booties at all times in the grow space.

The main pests we deal with are typical to Colorado. These include:

Spider Mites
Grubs
Root Aphids
Thrips
Mealybugs
Powdery Mildew

Should we ever encounter any of these pests, we have a scorched-earth policy. The infected plant is immediately removed and other plants it may have come into contact are closely inspected. We sanitize the room from top to bottom after each grow goes through.

This article has been paraphrased with permission from Growers Network.

Want to read more? Head on over to Growers Network to read the full article.

To stay updated on the latest tech, entrepreneurs and innovative companies in the cannabis industry, click here.

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Entrepreneur of the Week: Kerri Accardi of 420MEDIA https://www.directcannabisnetwork.com/entrepreneur-week-kerri-accardi/ https://www.directcannabisnetwork.com/entrepreneur-week-kerri-accardi/#respond Fri, 20 Apr 2018 18:44:36 +0000 https://www.directcannabisnetwork.com/?p=15158 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 Kerri Accardi, Co-Founder of 420MEDIA. Kerri Accardi left NYC in December 2013 on a mission to educate the world about cannabis after losing her Aunt Kathy. She remembers seeing and […]

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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 Kerri Accardi, Co-Founder of 420MEDIA.

Kerri AccardiKerri Accardi left NYC in December 2013 on a mission to educate the world about cannabis after losing her Aunt Kathy. She remembers seeing and experiencing first hand the lack of education, knowledge, and information available about cannabis, especially medically. Her background is producing, directing, and acting.

In our interview with Kerri Accardi, we asked a variety of questions to learn more about 420MEDIA, and what it takes to build a business in the cannabis industry!

DCN: Kerri Accardi, congratulations on being featured as this week’s entrepreneur of the week and for all that you do! Can you please share with our readers your elevator pitch for 420MEDIA?

Kerri Accardi: 420MEDIA works with cannabis companies to build their digital strategy, create content, and distribute to the mainstream on TV and digital as well as in the industry across multiple platforms.

DCN: What ignited the spark in you to launch your business? Or how did your idea evolve? 
Kerri Accardi: Soul mission.

DCN: When you finally decided that you wanted to launch a business in the cannabis industry, what was your experience like when telling your family and friends? Were they supportive?

Kerri Accardi: It’s been a wild ride! Mostly supportive friends and family.

DCN: How is your organization/business helping the cannabis industry in a positive way? 

Kerri Accardi: We are helping cannabis brands and businesses go mainstream while working on multiple TV and digital projects to bring cannabis education and entertainment to market in 2018.

DCN: As we go into 2018, what is one huge accomplishment that you or your team achieved last year that you would like to share with our readers?

Kerri Accardi: Approval for cannabis industry commercials during prime time on mainstream TV.

DCN: What are some challenges you faced early on and how’d you beat them? 

Kerri Accardi: This could take a long time lol Some of the biggest challenges we dealt with and still deal with is the constant change of rules when it comes to advertising and marketing cannabis. It is also interesting to try and get cannabis brands to understand why they need marketing when many were used to having to hide. We have dealt with issues such as paying bills as well as bait and switch in both mainstream and industry projects. Being a women founder has played a significant role -both good and challenging.

DCN: Did you raise capital to fund your business or what creative strategies did you use to execute on minimal cash flow?

Kerri Accardi: Bootstrap- everything went back into the company.

DCN: What did you give up to get where you are today? What did you have to sacrifice?
Kerri Accardi: I’m all in- left everything I knew to make this a reality.

DCN: What is the best piece of advice you can give to others looking to launch a company in the cannabis industry?

Kerri Accardi: Know your why.
Be humble.
Stay laser focused.
Do not let anyone’s opinion change your big picture goals/objectives.
Learn your lessons.
Eat well, do yoga/exercise, and laugh.
Be nice.

DCN: What’s the hardest part of founding and running a startup?

Kerri Accardi: Capital.

DCN: Is there anything that surprised you about being an entrepreneur in the cannabis industry? 

Kerri Accardi: Everything lol

DCN: What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur? 

Kerri Accardi: Passion, persistence, adaptability

DCN: How do you stay balanced? Any hobbies outside your work? 

Kerri Accardi: Yes! Yoga, running, creative things, lots of herb, and spending time with family+friends

DCN: What book has inspired you the most? (OR What is your favorite book?) 
Kerri Accardi: “Think and Grow Rich”

DCN: Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?
Kerri Accardi: Seattle Hempfest

DCN: How can we as an industry continue to make a positive difference in society?

Kerri Accardi: Lead by example and be a good person.

DCN: Thank you, Kerri, for sharing your story and offering such real and insightful advice! It was so great being able to feature you as this week’s entrepreneur of the week! Any final words before we let you go?

Kerri Accardi: Thank you for all you’re doing for cannabis and the industry DCN!

To learn more about 420Media, visit www.420media.us.

Want to be featured? Click here to tell us why you should be an entrepreneur of the week on DCN.

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Growers Spotlight: Interview with Kurtis Johnson of TFO LLC https://www.directcannabisnetwork.com/growers-spotlight-tfo-llc-2/ https://www.directcannabisnetwork.com/growers-spotlight-tfo-llc-2/#respond Fri, 20 Apr 2018 18:29:10 +0000 https://www.directcannabisnetwork.com/?p=15155 Hunter Wilson of Growers Network interviews Kurtis Johnson of TFO LLC about his experiences producing large quantities of cannabis in a confined space. Grow Operation Where are you located and why? We grow in North Las Vegas, in a former ice-cream manufacturing plant. The facility was built with 3 medical-grade, sealed freezer rooms which are […]

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Hunter Wilson of Growers Network interviews Kurtis Johnson of TFO LLC about his experiences producing large quantities of cannabis in a confined space.

Grow Operation

Where are you located and why?

We grow in North Las Vegas, in a former ice-cream manufacturing plant. The facility was built with 3 medical-grade, sealed freezer rooms which are perfect for growing in a confined, environmentally-controlled space. We added HVAC, dehumidification, powers, generators, and more, and started the grow.

Indoor/Outdoor/Greenhouse and why?

Our grow is indoors, and our medical license is intended solely for an indoor grow. Nevada is a “no-see” state, meaning that if you can tell what is being grown from the outside, the state will take away your license.

What does your grow layout look like?

We have a 5000 sq. ft building divided into 3 – 20’ x 40’ rooms that are double-stacked. We run a perpetual harvest, sea of green system, and we’re able to pull out roughly 2 ½ pounds of cannabis a day.

What’s your approach to pest management?

Three things are a critical function when it comes to pest management:

  1. Prevention
  2. Cleanliness
  3. Management

Prevention is focused on Integrated Pest Management. People have been growing crops forever, and we’ve only truly cultivated cannabis relatively recently. Instead of repeating old mistakes, learn from other people’s experiences. If you ever have a concern about a specific pest in your area, check in with the local department of agriculture and learn what you can.

Cleanliness is all about making sure nothing enters the grow room that you don’t want in there in the first place. Ideally, everything, including your employees, should run through some form of cleanliness procedure, and your air and water should be sterilized.

And of course, management is about staying on top of what’s going on in your grow. If you have an infestation of some pest, they appeared because you weren’t keeping a close eye on things. Pests don’t appear out of anywhere. As I always say to my new employees, “the opposite of pests is persistence.”

Plants and Equipment

You mentioned that you skip veg, how does that work?

We grow large clones. Once they’re well-rooted, we transplant them into trays where they’re completely rootbound. By keeping the clones rootbound, the plant realizes that it’s confined and quickly pushes towards flowering.

How do you give your clones enough time to root?

We’ve built an aeroponic dome system that gives the clones plenty of time to root. A tray with holes for the rooting medium has aeroponic sprayers on the bottom so that the clones stay nice and humid while their roots grow.

How many plants are you growing and how do you grow them?

We’re growing 6,000 plants in our 5,000 square feet of growing space. We grow small plants and we’re double-stacked. Nevada is not a plant-counting state. It doesn’t matter how high your plant count is, so training isn’t a big concern.

What strains are you growing?

We grow:

  • Grape Ape
  • Grape Stomper
  • Lemon Larry
  • Blue Dream (a few varieties, since there’s no one definitive Blue Dream)
  • Cherry Diesel
  • And more depending on their sales value and usefulness.

What is your current feeding style?

Adult plants get drip-fed via a drain-to-recycling system. The way it works is like this:

  • We take in municipal water or recycled water and run that water through an RO system.
  • Check the pH and EC, adjust appropriately.
  • Add in the nutrient mix.
  • Drip-feed the plants.
  • Extra water drains back to the RO system.
    • We also recycle transpired water via our dehumidifiers.

About the Company

What makes TFO LLC unique?

TFO LLC is a grow that has been challenged by competing interests in its management. The grow itself is technically sound and well-designed, but the management team didn’t understand growing, and the profit model wasn’t based on a full understanding of how cannabis is grown or sold in the medical cannabis community. I have worked diligently to help turn that around and make it a successful grow using mathematics and meticulous note-taking.

Any advice for new commercial growers?

First, figure out what you know and what you don’t know. It’s ok to not know everything. That’s what books and reading are for.

Second, take plenty of notes. My notetaking allows me to develop best practices over time that I can share with my employees, which we can turn into procedures for new hires. I need to make new mistakes, not repeat old mistakes.

Third, when you’re setting up a business, make sure that you have aligned your priorities with your partners. Everybody has different needs from a business venture, and relationships require compromise.

Fourth, don’t start a business if you don’t have the passion for it. Money may be important, but you can always make more money tomorrow. Spend your time in good health and in joy.

This article has been paraphrased with permission from Growers Network.

Want to read more? Head on over to Growers Network to read the full article.

To stay updated on the latest tech, entrepreneurs and innovative companies in the cannabis industry, click here.

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Keegan Peterson, CEO of Wurk Discusses $3.2 Million Bridge Round https://www.directcannabisnetwork.com/keegan-peterson-wurk-3-2-million/ https://www.directcannabisnetwork.com/keegan-peterson-wurk-3-2-million/#respond Thu, 12 Apr 2018 23:53:01 +0000 https://www.directcannabisnetwork.com/?p=15066 Founded by Keegan Peterson in 2015, the first and only workforce management company for the cannabis industry, Wurk, announced that it had raised $3.2 million in a bridge funding round. Looking back at Wurk’s Growth Wurk launched in the industry to offer businesses a range of workforce management tools and solutions, including payroll management, employee scheduling, […]

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Founded by Keegan Peterson in 2015, the first and only workforce management company for the cannabis industry, Wurk, announced that it had raised $3.2 million in a bridge funding round.

Looking back at Wurk’s Growth

Wurk launched in the industry to offer businesses a range of workforce management tools and solutions, including payroll management, employee scheduling, and human resource management solutions. On November 8th, 2016, Wurk successfully raised $1 Million in its’ seed stage funding. On April 11, 2017, Wurk raised an additional $2 million in an extended seed round.

The Investors

Returning investors, Poseidon Asset Management led this round. Phyto Partners, Altitude Investment Partners, Arcview Investor Network and Arcadian Fund also were apart of this round.

Poseidon Asset Management has been providing access to a diverse range of companies in the cannabis industry since 2013 and investments include Flowhub, Meadow, Baker Technologies and Wurk.

Keegan Peterson

Keegan Peterson, CEO of Wurk and I had the opportunity to discuss more on this round, where the funds would be used and even gained a bit of advice and insight on raising capital to share with the DCN community.

First off, congratulations on this round, it is so exciting seeing the growth of Wurk over the past few years. Going into this round, what will the funds be allocated?

Keegan Peterson: Wurk plans to use this funding to make key strategic hires and further build out its cannabis labor management technology. The industry is growing at a rapid pace, and it’s imperative that our systems are able to withstand this expansion and continue to provide our customers with the highest level of service and support as possible.

We also plan to scale out our team internally to better allocate time and skills to specific aspects of our operations. We need to stay up-to-date on changing state regulations, and the larger our team, the better we can perform on this front. The platform is designed to scale nationally with the growth of the cannabis industry while incorporating local laws and regulations unique to each state.

Wurk closed $2million in funding last year, let’s talk about achievements. What significant milestones can you share what your team achieved with that round of funding?

Keegan Peterson: We’ve increased our client portfolio tenfold, and have expanded to 27 states across the country. Wurk is now the largest tax processor in the cannabis industry, with our main hub of operations in Denver, a small service center in Indianapolis, and we’re looking to open an office in Los Angeles within the next six months.

Building a good relationship with your investors is critical, what advice or lessons can you share with our readers who are new in the fundraising process?

Keegan Peterson: Finding an investor that understands each phase of the startup process and approaches the situation in its own frame is key. It’s important to negotiate a deal that works for everyone involved. As entrepreneurs, we often enter these deals thinking there should be a premium, while investors believe with risk there should be a discount. In the cannabis industry, this is heightened since there’s so much more risk involved.

You also want to create a strong foundation for a working relationship. There are ups and downs in the fundraising process, and utilizing VCs’ knowledge, and insights can go a long way in maximizing the personal transaction. Find investors that inspire you as the entrepreneur to make good decisions and move forward in ways that are productive and strategic for the company and its growth.

Thank you, Keegan, for taking the time to give us some insight into Wurk. We can’t wait to see what 2018 brings for you, the team and for the companies you are helping along the way. 

To learn more about Wurk, visit www.enjoywurk.com

To stay updated on the latest tech, entrepreneurs and innovative companies in the cannabis industry, click here.

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Entrepreneur of the Week: Jeffrey Samuels of Alpharoot https://www.directcannabisnetwork.com/entrepreneur-week-jeffrey-samuels/ https://www.directcannabisnetwork.com/entrepreneur-week-jeffrey-samuels/#respond Thu, 12 Apr 2018 00:24:34 +0000 https://www.directcannabisnetwork.com/?p=15053 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 Jeffrey Samuels of Alpharoot. Meet Jeffrey Samuels Capitalizing on successful roles in mobile tech, social media, enterprise SaaS, and now cannabis, Jeffrey has immersed himself in the startup […]

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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 Jeffrey Samuels of Alpharoot.

Meet Jeffrey Samuels

Jeffrey SamuelsCapitalizing on successful roles in mobile tech, social media, enterprise SaaS, and now cannabis, Jeffrey has immersed himself in the startup ecosystem.

Building impactful relationships has always been central to Jeffrey’s mission, leveraging a strong network of entrepreneurs, investors, and friends to create collaborative opportunities.

As General Manager of AlphaRoot, Jeffrey continues to work with innovators in the cannabis and agriculture space by providing the best in insurance coverage expertise to protect rapidly growing businesses.

In our interview with Jeffrey Samuels, we asked a variety of questions to learn more about Alpharoot, and what it’s like being an entrepreneur in the cannabis industry!

DCN: Jeffrey Samuels, congratulations on being featured as this week’s entrepreneur of the week and for all that you both do! Can you please share with our readers your elevator pitch for Alpharoot?

Jeffrey Samuel: AlphaRoot is an insurance brokerage and technology platform providing custom insurance solutions for cannabis businesses.

DCN: What ignited the spark in you to launch your business? Or how did your idea evolve?

Jeffrey Samuels: As an early employee at Founder Shield (foundershield.com) our goal was to provide a new-age view on ensuring startups using technology to create streamlined experiences. As we built out our expertise in the broader startup landscape, NY had just launched the compassionate care act, and cannabis was a hot topic. Canopy Boulder had just launched their first cohort, and I had the opportunity to meet with some of the early founders.

It quickly became evident that there was a need for an insurance business solely focused on the unique risks in the cannabis space. While my team and I have been working with cannabis companies going on 5+ years, I launched AlphaRoot October 2017 to focus on the industry full time.

DCN: When you finally decided that you wanted to launch a business in the cannabis industry, what was your experience like when telling your family and friends?

Jeffrey Samuels: I am in insurance which is conservative by nature. At the same, I’ve worked in and with startups for the past ten years, so my family and friends knew I liked working in emerging markets. It took some time explaining to my parents how the industry was evolving and this was not the Grateful Dead hippies that were once the face of cannabis (P.S. I love The Dead)

One of the coolest things as of late was taking my wife, Carly to a party at Baker’s new office in downtown Denver, watching her interact with so many clients and friends in the space was really special for me. I always say, “if I knew in high-school what I would be working on when I was 30 I’d…laugh hysterically and then I’d give myself a high-five.” Definitely full-circle for me!

DCN: How is your organization/business positively helping the cannabis industry?

Jeffrey Samuels: I believe insurance is something that legitimizes the industry and is a best business practice regardless of what business you are in. We are providing protection for an entrepreneur’s most valuable assets – their business. When things go wrong, my team is the first call you make.

DCN: As we go into 2018, what is one huge accomplishment that you or your team achieved last year that you would like to share with our readers?

Jeffrey Samuels: The most significant accomplishment for me is the amount of knowledge and breadth of clients we were able to establish across the industry. We work with the some of the most prominent companies in the business via ag-tech, canna-tech, large-scale cultivation, extraction, dispense, distribution, Venture capital, and Hemp.

DCN: What are some challenges you faced early on and how’d you beat them?

Jeffrey Samuels: For insurance one of the most significant challenges was finding markets and underwriters who wanted to take on these type of risks. Hours of meetings, breaking down business models, risk analysis, and ultimately establishing the right relationships allowed us to overcome.

DCN: Did you raise capital to fund your business or what creative strategies did you use to execute on minimal cash flow?

Jeffrey Samuels: We are fortunate to be bootstrapped and at the same time have support from our parent company, Founder Shield.

DCN: What did you give up to get where you are today? What did you have to sacrifice?

Jeffrey Samuels: My last role I was in was at IBM so job security, lofty health & benefits, matching 401ks, cash. The biggest sacrifice has been my reputation, putting myself out there in the space can have potential negative effects on my career longterm some may think. I personally don’t believe that!

DCN: What is the best piece of advice you can give to others looking to launch a company in the cannabis industry?

Jeffrey Samuels: Be targeted, be specific, be compliant, and be cautious. This is not a get-rich-quick business contrary to what many say. There are still huge gaps in the market, and if you can network with the right people, stay up on the news, and remain hungry, you can succeed.

DCN: What’s the hardest part of founding and running a startup?

Jeffrey Samuels: I am fortunate to have the support of the FS founders. Operating a subsidiary and a very targeted business has been challenging simply from the fact that I wear so many different hats on the day-to-day. All sales, business development, social media/marketing, conferences, blog posts are run through me!

DCN: Is there anything that surprised you about being an entrepreneur in the cannabis industry?

Jeffrey Samuels: What surprised me about the industry was the number of people willing to help you! Super collaborative and open industry.

DCN: What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

Jeffrey Samuels: Focus, empathy, stamina

DCN: How do you stay balanced? Any hobbies outside of your work?

Jeffrey Samuels: Massively important! I’ve played hockey for over 25 years and still play once a week. During the game, I feel like a kid, after can get a bit painful. I am a huge music head. Anyone who knows me would confirm I proudly have an eclectic taste in music. Anytime I can get to some live music in NYC, my wife and I always jump at the chance. As of late, I’ve been getting back into drawing, which I can see becoming a life-long hobby.

DCN: What book has inspired you the most?

Jeffrey Samuels: A few books I really love that I recently read are; The Alchemist, The Fish who ate the Whale, and The Dip.

DCN: Excluding yours, what company or business do you admire the most?

Jeffrey Samuels: Tough 1! Nike – another great read, ShoeDog, was really amazing as to how Phil Knight was able to break into the ancient shoe market. After I finished the book, I remember looking around my apartment (which was a mess that day) and seeing sneakers, sweatshirts, a basketball.. all Nike. The boom in the sneaker culture and the reach that Nike has outside of just sports is amazing to me. I love their marketing campaigns on Instagram which are super innovative.

DCN: How can we as an industry continue to make a positive difference in society?

Jeffrey Samuels: One of my favorite things about the industry is the collective demand for inclusion. Ensuring the future of cannabis is a level-playing field which can benefit the best and the brightest no matter what gender, race, sexual orientation, geography. That is huge to me. If we can continue putting that message out front, I think the cannabis industry will do great things.

DCN: Thank you, Jeffrey, for sharing your story and offering such real and insightful advice! It was so great being able to feature you as this week’s entrepreneur of the week!

For those looking to learn more about Alpharoot, please check out www.alpharoot.co!

Want to be featured? Click here to tell us why you should be an entrepreneur of the week on DCN.

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Growers Spotlight: Growing Off The Grid With Pickens Mountain Cannabis https://www.directcannabisnetwork.com/growers-pickens-mountain-cannabis/ https://www.directcannabisnetwork.com/growers-pickens-mountain-cannabis/#respond Wed, 11 Apr 2018 23:34:55 +0000 https://www.directcannabisnetwork.com/?p=15040 Hunter Wilson of Growers Network interviews Brian Knopf from Pickens Mountain Cannabis about his outdoor, off-the-grid grow. Growing Outdoors Where are you located and why did you choose that location? We’re a 20-acre property on the side of Pickens Mountain. I didn’t intend the land for cannabis; I merely purchased it when I was investing in land. It […]

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Hunter Wilson of Growers Network interviews Brian Knopf from Pickens Mountain Cannabis about his outdoor, off-the-grid grow.

Growing Outdoors

Where are you located and why did you choose that location?

We’re a 20-acre property on the side of Pickens Mountain. I didn’t intend the land for cannabis; I merely purchased it when I was investing in land. It was a sweet deal at $12,000. So when I got my license, it was really a no-brainer. Just needed some initial setup and we were in business.

Why did you decide to grow outdoors?

We don’t have an electric bill, period. If you ask any indoor grower, you’ll learn that their electric bill is one of their largest costs. Our cost per gram is minuscule compared to almost any other grow, and Pickens Mountain paid for itself by the first harvest season because of this.

How do you financially weather the off-season?

I usually earn around $450,000 to $500,000 per harvest season, and our operating costs are incredibly low. Split between myself and two other employees, it’s more than enough to do it all over again the next year.

What are some downsides to growing outdoors, off the grid?

The biggest downside is your vulnerability to the weather. We can get high winds that are really destructive to 8-foot tall cannabis plants. We also can get early freezes and fires.

Why go off the grid?

It would have cost me nearly $30,000 to bring power lines to the property. Instead, I took that money and made the grow self-sufficient. With some exceptions, the renewable energy sources are enough to do everything I need.

Any advice for new commercial growers?

My recommendation is to keep your overhead as low as possible and grow the best cannabis you can. Don’t get lost in the shuffle of mediocre cannabis, and don’t anticipate getting rich quick. It takes time and dedicated effort to really shine.
Plants

How many plants are you growing?

This season we grew approximately 1600 plants to full term. Each plant measured roughly 8 feet tall, and 8 feet in diameter. We also grew about 12 strains this year, down from 24 last season.

The reason we’ve grown fewer strains over time is because we’ve picked hardier, more productive strains that sell well. These strains are resilient to weather changes, differences in nutrients, high in terpenes and cannabinoids, and just all-around happy plants to work with.

How do you keep the soil healthy for each season?

The soil in the region wasn’t bad, to begin with, and each season we truck in premium CANNA soil and fill in augered holes with that; essentially we make “ground pots” every year. The result is that the soil in the entire grow keeps getting richer and richer every year.

What’s your approach to pest management?

Because our location is subject to a lot of wind, we don’t get fungi for the most part. Many insect pests struggle with the wind as well, so we don’t usually see mites. Our most common pests are grasshoppers, aphids, and rogue seeds blown in by the wind. For insects, we use beneficials to deal with them and we spray neem oil as a preventative. We’re all organic here.

Equipment

How are you watering your plants?

Our grow is located on the side of a mountain with a relatively high water table. We only need a well about 20 feet deep to get lots of water.

We pump the water up to a10,000-gallon reservoir that’s high up on the mountain. Gravity does all of the work from there. We simply set timers to enable the flow of water from the reservoir. We stagger their timing so that the water pressure doesn’t drop too low, but otherwise, everything is done with the assistance of gravity.

Do you use any supplementary lighting? How do you implement it?

We use supplementary lighting purely for cloning and propagation. We generally use T5s for clones and seeds. There’s also general lighting for workers in certain areas dependent on our workers’ needs.

What automation are you using?

There are a few key points of automation, but the rest is all done by hand:

Our irrigation system is on timers.
We use a John Deere Tractor with an auger drill trailer.
We use a golf cart to pull supplies and other things around.
And we use two Centurion double-barreled automatic trimmers for the post-harvest.

This article has been paraphrased with permission from Growers Network.

Want to read more? Head on over to Growers Network to read the full article.

Growers Network

To stay updated on the latest tech, entrepreneurs and innovative companies in the cannabis industry, click here.

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Plus Products Closes Series B Round of $6M https://www.directcannabisnetwork.com/plus-products-closes-series-b-6m/ https://www.directcannabisnetwork.com/plus-products-closes-series-b-6m/#respond Wed, 11 Apr 2018 07:53:10 +0000 https://www.directcannabisnetwork.com/?p=15017 One of the fastest growing cannabis-infused product companies in California, Plus Products, closed a $6 million Series B funding round. This round was led by Serruya Private Equity Partners (SPE) and Navy Capital Green Fund LP. The beginning of Plus Products Founded in 2015, by Jake Heimark, Roy McFarland and Justin “Crunchy” Crunchington, Plus Products […]

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One of the fastest growing cannabis-infused product companies in California, Plus Products, closed a $6 million Series B funding round. This round was led by Serruya Private Equity Partners (SPE) and Navy Capital Green Fund LP.

The beginning of Plus Products

Founded in 2015, by Jake Heimark, Roy McFarland and Justin “Crunchy” Crunchington, Plus Products tested out the market with their first official product the PLUS™ Gum. Each piece of gum provides 25 milligrams of THC, which delivers its effects within 15 minutes of chewing. After the successful response from their initial product, they moved the business to California and launched its second product, Plus gummies.

In 2017, they closed a $2 million Series A Round which was led by The Green Organic Fund and Verde Mountain Fund. Plus Products also received the eighth temporary manufacturing license in California and was one of the first brands to bring fully compliant products to the legal market. All Plus products are produced in the company’s 12,000 square foot food-safe cannabis manufacturing facility in Adelanto, California.  This facility was adequately equipped for scalable food production with the funds from their Series A Round.

The Investors

Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, Serruya Private Equity (SPE) is a family managed venture group that oversees the investment activities of the Serruya family. The Serruya brothers have over 30 years of experience in building global food and retail chains. SPE specializes in private equity and venture capital.

Founded in 2017, Navy Capital Green Fund provides investors with a cannabis-focused portfolio that’s uncorrelated with the overall market. The fund focuses on acquiring undervalued cannabis companies with strong fundamental and technical profiles.

Plus Products

Jake Heimark, CEO of Plus Products and I had the opportunity to discuss more on this round, where the funds would be used and even gained a bit of advice and insight on raising capital to share with the DCN community.

First off, congratulations on the raise, can you give us any insight into what the funds will be allocated?

Jake Heimark: The funds will be used to rapidly expand our production capacity, factory automation, working capital and new product development.

Can you give share with us the elevator pitch for Plus Products?

Jake Heimark: Plus Products is a branded cannabis products manufacturer. At Plus we have introduced fast-acting edibles positioned for a healthy and active lifestyle audience seeking a premium cannabis experience. All products are hand-crafted with high-quality ingredients without the gluten and calories found in competing edible products.

Serruya Private Equity Partners (SPE) and Navy Capital Green Fund LP. led this round, can you provide some insight into how these relationship evolved?

Jake Heimark: We actually were connected to Serruya Private Equity Partners and Navy Capital Green Fund LP through existing investors. One thing I learned coming from Silicon Valley is that you always have to be working on relationships with investors and potential investors and in reality, you never know where the funding will end up coming from.

In 2017, Plus Products successfully closed a Series A round which allowed the opportunity to expand into California. With the expansion, I would love to share with our readers, what that overall process was like? 

Jake Heimark: Being in Colorado was a great initial start however with California’s long use of Medicinal Cannabis, and it made sense to come to California. We knew it would be a harder market to compete in, but we knew it would be the best opportunity for the Plus Product line.

When looking at the product line of Plus Products, it has mainly focused on gummies and gum, any interesting facts you can share with our viewers regarding any additional developments in the pipeline?

Jake Heimark: We have a new special edition gummy for the April holiday!

What advice can you share with our readers that you learned when going through the due diligence process?

Jake Heimark: Trust is the most important thing. You need to build a good company with good people and then find investors that align with them. When looking at the due diligence process and seeing the difference between how raising capital in Silicon Valley is to raising capital in the cannabis industry, I was so surprised at how in-depth the investors go in their due diligence process. What is extremely important is making sure that you have your documentation and team prepared.

Any tips or advice to offer to other entrepreneurs who are going or will begin the fundraising process?

Jake Heimark: The reality is you should never stop, fundraising becomes a 24 hour day job. When it comes to investors make sure you interview them as well and when you find the right ones, do consider their advice, many of them do have good ideas.

Thank you, Jake, for taking the time to give us some insight into Plus Products. I am excited to continue to see the growth of Plus Products. Before I let you go, what is one thing you would like to share that our readers may not be aware of?

Jake Heimark: One thing that we truly value at Plus Products are the people from sales to the production line. When you have a team, who take pride in what they do it carries onto the product which we believe is why the market has been receptive. Looking back to a year ago, we launched our gummy product line to a handful of stores, and now we are in 250 shops. We also are 1 of the top 10 edible companies in California.

To learn more about Plus Products, visit www.plusproducts.com.

To stay updated on the latest tech, entrepreneurs and innovative companies in the cannabis industry, click here.

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High Times Acquires Cannabis News Site, Green Rush Daily https://www.directcannabisnetwork.com/high-times-acquires-green-rush-daily/ https://www.directcannabisnetwork.com/high-times-acquires-green-rush-daily/#respond Wed, 11 Apr 2018 06:00:28 +0000 https://www.directcannabisnetwork.com/?p=15028 High Times Holding Corporation – the parent company of cannabis-focused magazine High Times – announced the acquisition of fast-growing online site Green Rush Daily. What is Green Rush Daily? Founded in October 2015 by Scott McGovern, Green Rush Daily is a cannabis-oriented publication covering up-to-date and breaking content on politics, news, business, technology, and culture. […]

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High Times Holding Corporation – the parent company of cannabis-focused magazine High Times – announced the acquisition of fast-growing online site Green Rush Daily.

What is Green Rush Daily?

Founded in October 2015 by Scott McGovern, Green Rush Daily is a cannabis-oriented publication covering up-to-date and breaking content on politics, news, business, technology, and culture. Headquartered in New York City, Green Rush receives more than 9.5 million page views each month, with more than 4 million unique users. The site also has more than 1 million followers on social media.

The Estimated Deal

High Times terms with Scott McGovern, Founder of Green Rush Daily are as follows: 577,651 Class A shares – worth $6.4 million at the $11 Reg A listing price – and $500,000 in cash. High Times will also bring on McGovern as an employee, paying him a $250,000 annual salary and allocating him 289,630 in Class B non-voting stock options at an $8.11 purchase price that vest over a three-year period.

Green Rush DailyTo gain a bit more insight into this acquisition for High Times Holding Corporation I spoke with Adam Levin, CEO of High Times.

First off, congratulations on the acquisition, what does this acquisition look like for the founding team of Green Rush Daily?

Adam Levin: The entire Green Rush team is extremely excited about this acquisition, and to work alongside the title publication in our industry. The team grew up reading High Times, and they were a big inspiration for the initial launch of GRD, so joining the family is a dream come true.

After the acquisition, will Green Rush Daily continue to operate in New York City as Green Rush Daily?

Adam Levin: After the acquisition, Green Rush Daily will continue to operate as its own entity. Though we will be pooling some resources, GRD is not shutting down as a result of this acquisition – they will continue to provide the content it’s audience has come to know and love.

When looking at this acquisition what were vital factors for you and the founding team?

Adam Levin: It was essential to the founding team that GRD continued to operate in its own identity, and not just be absorbed into the larger magazine. Green Rush Daily will continue to provide the editorial content its audience has come to know and love.

Our more seasoned cannabis entrepreneurial audience is familiar with Green Rush Daily, however for our newer audience, can you please share more about your Green Rush Daily?

Adam Levin: Green Rush Daily is a cannabis-oriented publication offering up-to-date and breaking content on cannabis politics, news, business, technology, and culture. The primary mission is to provide the public with truthful information and education about cannabis.

Following the acquisition, what else does Green Rush Daily and High Times have in store for 2018?

Adam Levin: High Times has a ton of exciting events coming up throughout the year, and we’re very excited to be a part of them. Further, High Times will be going public this quarter, and both teams are incredibly excited to be a part of this historic move.

Thank you, Adam, for giving us a bit more insight into this acquisition with High Times and Green Rush Daily. Before I let you go and with a significant holiday coming up are there any big announcements the DCN community should be aware of?

Adam Levin: Come hang with us at the Cannabis Cup in SoCal from 4/20-4/22, and join the family yourself later this quarter when we’re live on the NASDAQ!

To stay updated on the latest tech, entrepreneurs and innovative companies in the cannabis industry, click here.

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