Welcome to Outside-In with DCN where we interview upcoming startups and businesses in the cannabis industry. Each interview you will get to meet the founders taking a leap into building a company they believe in. Gain knowledge of their services, their mission and what makes each of the unique. On this Outside-In, with DCN we spoke with Joshua Bareket, CEO & Co-Founder of Bushl.
Bushl is the first platform that provides one centralized place for cultivators and product manufacturers to list their available products for retailers to identify and purchase, and for consumers to discover these products and the dispensaries carrying them.
Bushl started with one not-so-simple idea: how do we unite the fragmented cannabis industry? Where a lot of software companies specialize in solving a piece of the problem, Bushl’s goal is to fill the gaps across the larger ecosystem all under one roof.
DCN: Who are the founding team members?
Joshua Bareket: After earning his degree in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech, Joshua rocketed into the wild world of financial SaaS project management. Inspired by the electric energy of his fellow Manhattanites, he tapped into his entrepreneurial spirit, technical brain, and Cannabis loving heart to answer a budding question: how do we fill the business gaps in a rapidly growing and highly untested industry? He took a deep breath, ditched his 9-5, and started watering that Bushl seed. Flash forward two years. Bushl has flowered and flourished and is now plugging business needs in every level of the Cannabusiness supply chain. He is honored to be able to contribute his ideas to support and to learn from the veterans of this diverse industry every day.
Jenn Geist is the Co-Founder and Chief Marketing Officer at Bushl. Jenn has built her career in digital advertising and is a self-proclaimed social media addict. A branding expert, she’s been lucky enough to work on some of the largest luxury and spirits brands in the world. Getting to know people in the Cannabis industry, she’s inspired by the overwhelming energy and sense of pride among this community. To her, being a part of Bushl means being part of a company that’s positively impacting the accessibility to and perception of one of the most influential industries of our time.
DCN: What is Bushl?
Bushl: Bushl is a community-oriented platform designed to streamline Cannabusiness’ revenue generation efforts in both B2B and B2C applications. We service brands, retailers, and distributors in Oregon and California, with plans to launch our consumer platform in Fall 2018.
DCN: Can you share the backstory of Bushl and how the idea evolved?
Bushl: Before Bushl, Josh developed a marketing platform in New York City for bars and restaurants. Great concept, super-saturated industry. Let’s call it necessary learning. Josh partnered with his branding guru and friend, Jenn, and pivoted his newfound Know Your Customer know-how into a fresh platform in a different industry in which he happens to have over a decade of experience: Cannabis. They saw an opportunity to create a tool in a still-murky and somewhat un-marketable sector, with a goal to connect brands and retailers with consumers seamlessly.
Bushl started as a wholesale marketplace focused on deals, rewards, and loyalty programs that brands can offer retailers. It will soon serve consumers in a similarly incentivizing and inclusive format.
DCN: You cater to brands, consumers, dispensaries, and distributors when working with each of these audiences, what issues are you helping solve?
Bushl: How We Help Brands- We’ve identified a gap in Knowing Your Customer in this industry. While Cannabusiness brands are selling products to retailers, there’s a disconnect between buyer and seller that is diminishing repurchase and long-term in-bound sales support. Brands can collect customer data from a few existing platforms, but there is a hurdle when it comes to actioning those insights. Bushl enables brands, goliath, and minuscule, to act on their marketing intelligence by targeting customer segments that have a high intent to buy at both wholesale and retail levels. Through Bushl’s proprietary software, all businesses can participate meaningfully along Bushl’s sliding budget scale. Brands are able to post products to a digital marketplace, collect and track orders, streamline logistics, convert leads quickly, manage repeat customer costs efficiently, and maintain strong vendor communication without ever leaving Bushl’s site.
How We Help Dispensaries
We’ve listened to intake managers express frustration with the current state of vendor discovery and acquisition: their days are peppered with phone calls, emails, texts, and walk-ins from prospective brands. Bushl simplifies this. We have empowered intake managers to track market trends and buy product confidently from all participating vendors in their state. They can easily select delivery dates that fit their schedules and track their shipments. Those cold calls and drop-bys can become a simple search and click on shopbushl.com – and intake managers can purchase the product through Bushl, earning them rewards that will benefit them and their shoppers along the way.
How We Help Distributors
Bushl is a white-labeled solution for distributors to track intake from the brands they represent as well as to promote their menu to retailers. Distributors plug directly into the system to receive all of their orders from their brand clients so that they can easily fulfill orders without delay while allowing the brand to manage their marketing efforts themselves. In addition, distributors can prospect brands through Bushl, too!
Starting this fall, consumers will go to Bushl to browse retail menus and earn rewards from their favorite brands!
DCN: What has been the hardest thing about launching a cannabis product?
Bushl: Staying agile, expert, and most importantly, human. We’re all learning as we go – us, and our vendor partners. There’s no standard roadmap in this industry, which is simultaneously dizzyingly thrilling and dizzyingly terrifying.
DCN: What services does Bushl offer?
Bushl: Bushl provides brands a marketplace platform with tools to increase exposure to their products, incentivize first time buyers, and decrease repeat customer costs.
Working with our dedicated base of beta testers from pre-launch, we pride ourselves on our consistent agility and ability to be the industry’s tech team, building software solutions for any cannabusiness problem. Our goal of connecting brands and retailers with customers, existing and unknown, in a bespoke and novel way. We are poised to continue evolving in step with the industry itself.
DCN: Where are your services available? What are your expansion plans for 2018?
Bushl: We’ve stayed loyal to our first market, Oregon, with plans to take our talents south to California in July. The rest of 2018 will bring Bushl to more zip codes with increased opportunities for businesses to earn rewards.
DCN: When looking at your competitors, what would you say are your competitive advantages?
Bushl: We are the easiest to use marketplace. It takes less time to set up a brand or retailer profile on Bushl than it does to brush your teeth and pretend to floss. We also believe that businesses are only as reliable as their people, so we pride ourselves on always being ready to talk on the phone with our vendor partners at any time.
That leads to our next point: we’re not just a tech company, we are a community. We built an Equity Share Program into Bushl’s business plan from day one so that everyone we do business with has an equity stake in our company. This engages our partners on a level that’s deeper and more authentic than a transactional relationship. If they succeed, we succeed, and vice versa.
DCN: As we all start fresh for the new year, what is the best piece of advice you would like to share with your fellow entrepreneurs?
Bushl: Believe in your vision, listen to your customers, and don’t get caught up worrying about what your perceived competition is doing. It’s like what your 3rd-grade teacher used to say: don’t peek at your neighbors’ test, who’s to say their answers are right.
DCN: The DCN community is here to help out our fellow startups, how can the DCN community help Bushl?
Bushl: If you’re interested in the space — whether it’s starting your own business, wanting to educate yourself on the industry, learning how you can help, wanting to invest, or just looking to make a new connection, please email Josh at Josh@shopbushl.com with subject line “DCN Made Me Do It.”He’ll answer immediately.
DCN: For those looking for a demo, what is the best way they can contact you?
Bushl: The best way to schedule a demo would be to reach out directly to me – you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a chat!
DCN: Goals are crucial to success for any startup, what are your goals as a company for 2018?
Bushl: Our goals for 2018 are that we will raise a Seed round. We will expand operations into California. We will achieve a consistently best-in-class product that seamlessly integrates with the market.
DCN: Thank you, Josh, for giving our readers more insight into Bushl and what you and your team have been working on the past year. Before we let you go, any final words to share with the DCN audience?
Bushl: We are so appreciative of any and all support, whether it’s in the form of questions or comments or just telling your friend about this company you heard of – can’t quite place the name, but it’s another one of those startups that dropped a vowel for copyright reasons. Bushl: The Cannabis Marketplace.
To learn more about Bushl, please visit their website: ShopBushl.com.
Want to follow them on social media, visit them @shopbushl
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