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Alumni Spotlight: Cannabis Big Data Helps you Help Yourself

Posted by Celia Daly on Oct 30, 2018 1:42:54 PM


Starting a business is hard. Ask literally any entrepreneur and they will tell you how consuming it can be. Limited resources and uncertainty about how the market will receive a new product or service keep many entrepreneurs up at night. Now add being in a brand new, federally illegal industry to the mix and imagine the challenges that cannabis entrepreneurs are up against.

Cannabis entrepreneurs are operating in a constantly changing landscape between new regulations and unproven consumer preferences. But, could there be a way to lift that veil and give these cannabis businesses greater control over their businesses?

In other industries, the last decade has seen the growth in popularity of “big data”, a term used to describe all the information we’re able to collect from people in this modern era of technology & tracking. Businesses are leveraging this data - both to get a better sense of who their customers are and how their business is performing.

Henry Finkelstein, CEO and founder of Cannabis Big Data, saw an opportunity for data in the cannabis industry. In 2016 he began working on an idea to utilize his skill set as a Yale-educated behavioral economist to give cannabis businesses more control. Knowing that he wanted to build an acquirable business before his kids could walk, Finkelstein started looking for venture capital and found CanopyBoulder.

“I didn’t need technical help” explains Finkelstein of his decision to attend the CanopyBoulder accelerator, “but I did know that if I was going to build a venture capital-backed ancillary business, I was going to need to expand my cannabis network and level up my investor pitch prowess. CanopyBoulder was the obvious choice”.

Cannabis Big Data joined the CanopyBoulder spring 2017 class and promptly began iterating on their alpha offering and testing their business model. Finkelstein familiarized himself with the data plays in the industry and found a major gap - granular, day-to-day internal business reporting. For any business, having a clear understanding of your operations, what’s making you money and how things are running, is key to success. It’s how businesses find opportunities and shut down threats to profits. But collecting data is the easy part. What becomes challenging is extrapolating actionable insights that increase profits or decrease stress.

“A common issue businesses run into is that they have all this data, and they know the data is valuable, but they don’t know how to put the numbers to work for them” explains Finkelstein. “So we built Cannabis Big Data to help them make dollars and cents of that data so their businesses can run more efficiently.”

For the first year, the company focused on proving its concept, bringing on clients and solidifying the messaging and the offering. That winter, the company closed its seed round with much support and guidance from CanopyBoulder which enabled them to start 2018 with a bang. This year, the company has really taken off, honing their message and brand, attending conferences and focusing on what they do best - helping companies understand their businesses.

Just spend 15 minutes with Finkelstein and you understand the purpose behind everything that he does - empowering people and companies to make the best decisions for them. At the heart of Cannabis Big Data is that same goal. The company now offers dozens of free resources to help businesses make sense of their operations, saving time and money. The company’s mission is to provide cannabis businesses with a comprehensive data toolkit. After all, a talented carpenter *can* build a house with a shoe heel & nails, but everything will be stronger, faster, and a whole lot easier with a hammer. Go get that hammer.

If you’re a cannabis business or investor, check out all the free tools that Cannabis Big Data offers at

Topics: Company Info, Entrepreneurship, cannabis companies, cannabis business, marijuana, canopy alumni, cannabis tech, startups, business intelligence, cannabis data, data