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 Joe Hodas, COO of General Cannabis Corporation.
Meet General Cannabis Corporation
Founded in 2013, General Cannabis Corporation (OTC: CANN) is essentially a publicly traded holding company which is developing a platform that vertically and horizontally will touch every part of the cannabis industry. To date, they have built a strong base corporate infrastructure to support investment and M&A activities that enable them to offer a helping hand to both established business who need back office support, leadership, and capital, to cannabis startups looking to raise capital or execute a business plan.
In addition, through their executed acquisitions, they provide security services, apparel, and branding support, full-service seed to sale consulting as well as capital solutions and other business necessities that propels them several steps ahead of other cannabis investment firms.
Meet the Founding Team
Robert Frichtel, CEO
Mr. Frichtel served as a managing partner of IBC Capital Group, a commercial real estate, and finance company, from 2002 to June of 2013. Since 2010, Mr. Frichtel has consulted for numerous clients throughout the nation that are engaged in the medical marijuana business and has written articles for Bloomberg News regarding the cannabis industry. Between 1999 and 2001, Mr. Frichtel was the president and Chief Operating Officer of EOS Group, a division of Health Net, an NYSE listed healthcare company. Mr. Frichtel received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from Colorado State University.
Michael Feinsod, Chairman of the Board
Mr. Feinsod, who has two decades of experience in mainstream investment and acquisitions, began working with General Cannabis in 2014 when he helped them work through U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission processes. Mr. Feinsod started his career in business finance in the late 1990s by handling mergers and acquisitions for a large law firm. He then moved over to evaluations and was an investment analyst and portfolio manager at Mark Boyar & Company, Inc., a broker-dealer. In 1999, he created his own New York-based investment management firm, Infinity Capital, where he serves as Managing Partner. He also served as the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ameritrans Capital Corporation until 2013. Mr. Feinsod holds a J.D. from Fordham University School of Law and a B.A. from George Washington University.
The Interview with Joe Hodas, COO of General Cannabis Corporation
DCN: What services does General Cannabis offer?
General Cannabis is made up of a group of diverse companies, each of which is a top performer in its division. Among our specialized brands:
Next Big Crop provides an array of cannabis consulting services, from marijuana business license acquisition to cultivation facility design to operations management.
Cannabis security firm Iron Protection Group, founded by a Marine veteran, has a company mission to hire military veterans and provide employees support and opportunities for personal growth by offering physical security as well as security planning for cultivations and dispensaries throughout CA and CO.
Brand design and apparel firm Chiefton develops thoughtful branding for cannabis-affiliated companies and creates hemp-based apparel customized for business clients and retail distribution. Chiefton is paving the way for creating a hemp forward element to the fashion and apparel industry along with apparel giants like Patagonia and Prana.
DCN: General Cannabis recently announced the closing of private financing; it was stated that the funds would be primarily used to fund the Company’s expansion and for working capital, can you give any insight into the expansion plans?
Joe Hodas: We will continue to target strategic investment in established small- to mid-cap companies that are in need of a capital infusion, and also startups with a strong business plan that factors in scalability.
DCN: What does General Cannabis Corp look at in a company, when investing in a cannabis startup?
Joe Hodas: While we, of course, perform due diligence on cash flow, assets, P&L sheets and so on, we also work to get to know the company leadership, from its founders to executives. We look for teams with entrepreneurial passion about the business they’ve built but with a clear sense of business process and profitability. A reasonable valuation of their company makes discussions go much easier/quicker. And we want to be sure there is a cultural fit with General Cannabis, as we need a level of cohesion across the companies we have or hope to acquire.
DCN: For new entrepreneurs raising capital, what are the best tips on how to prepare when going through the due diligence process?
Joe Hodas: Be realistic in valuations, and be prepared to back up your ambitions with data. Show some profit, or a realistic path to profit and your discussions with investors become much more reasonable.
DCN: Within the past month, General Cannabis added a new portfolio company to their portfolio! Congratulations, can you provide some insight into how this relationship evolved with DOPE Media?
Joe Hodas: Thanks very much! But, just to clarify, at this point, we have only made an investment in DOPE, vs. there being a full-blown partnership. That said we do believe that there are potential opportunities in the cannabis media landscape as legalization proliferates in the United States. DOPE Media rose to the top among the companies that have demonstrated strong expansion potential, and solid leadership in both their events and media platforms.
DCN: DOPE Media is a leading cannabis consumer lifestyle media. However, many other outlets also are paving the way for cannabis lifestyle, when looking at DOPE what key advantages led you to fund this note?
Joe Hodas: DOPE already has strong brand equity in print and digital media, as well as in the events space, and we view them as taking a leadership role in bridging the gap between cannabis and mainstream lifestyle media. DOPE’s leadership team and business model were also strong factors.
DCN: What is in store for General Cannabis in 2018?
Joe Hodas: Hopefully a TON of growth, both for our existing portfolio companies, but also with those that we hope to add to the family. California offers exciting opportunities, but so too do nascent markets that are just getting into the licensing phase like VA or OK. Opportunities abound, and we are rapidly making changes within our organization to capitalize on the ones that make the most sense.
DCN: Thank you, Joe, for giving our readers more insight into General Cannabis Corporation. Before we let you go, any final words to share with the DCN audience?
Joe Hodas: Hiring veterans and providing them with education and training opportunities in the business sector is important to General Cannabis. Through our cannabis security division, Iron Protection Group, about half of our employees are veterans. Relatedly, we also have a very philanthropic worldview within our Company, and we are fast to support local organizations within the communities we serve.
Lastly–our maniacal focus on compliance and transparency makes us a unique partner in a space that has its share of questionable businesses and business practices. We were recently uplisted to the OTCQX, which is a testament to how we treat our SEC filings. All of which makes us fully transparent to our partners, employees and investors alike.
To learn more about General Cannabis Corporation, please visit their website: generalcannabis.com.
Want to follow them on social media, visit them @generalcannabis
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