One year ago CanopyBoulder wasn't even a dream. Today we're sitting in a beautiful office with ten amazing teams and over twenty founders. There is something magical about starting anew. A certain energy and vibrancy to life that reminds us of how bland everything else tends to be. Just checkout the video of our opening day to feel the energy, see the smiles, and experience the joy of the startup world.
In June 2014 Patrick Rea had an epiphany while sitting at the Unreasonable Institute here in Boulder. That dream, to create a community of cannabis entrepreneurs, is now a reality. A reality created through hard work, dedication, and a commitment to a larger vision for the industry. Mark Nottoli, our partner and co-founder, helped Patrick expand the dream into the framework for CanopyBoulder. ArcView, led by Troy Dayton, stepped up and became a key partner. And I joined the team in December to help bring everything to fruition. Nine months. Four partners. $1.2 million in funding. One vision. And ten companies.
Who are those ten companies?
- Adistry, Longmont, CO – An online advertising network for compliant advertising of cannabis-related products and services.
- Cannagrow, Israel – An innovative smartphone-controlled home grow for consumers.
- ColoradoPotGuide.com, Denver, CO – The definitive online guide to cannabis in the Mile High State, and beyond.
- Glasshous, Los Angeles, CA – An high-end e-commerce head shop startup appealing to discerning consumers.
- Healthy Headie Lifestyle, Boston, MA – Direct to consumer sales distributorship (network marketing) for cannabis-related ancillary consumer products.
- Highest Reward, Superior, CO – Bringing outsourced and data driven human resources solutions to the cannabis industry.
- BDDS, Providence, RI – Quantitative retail sales and consumer trends data & analysis firm for the cannabis industry.
- Shivanysa, South Lake Tahoe, CA – A brand for women interested in the cannabis industry.
- Stashlogix, Boulder, CO – A stash bag brand in the business of enhancing safety and security for the cannabis consumer.
- Tradiv, San Diego, CA – A technology platform redefining the B2B ecosystem for registered cannabis businesses.
Ten companies, one common theme. Exceptional founders. We invest in founders first, ideas second. That investment philosophy created a dynamic energy and community feel evident from the first minute of the first day. Handshakes, smiles, and collaboration were the hallmarks of our first week as founders figured out where to sit, the best nearby lunch spots, and started the hard trek towards the finish line, Demo Day on June 29th (join our community for more information).
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the exceptional turnout and energy of the kickoff party. We hosted well over 200 people from all over the country, even a few international visitors, on our rooftop deck. Live music and great Korean food (courtesy of Heart and Seoul catering) kept everyone energized and our founders kicked the program off with a full night of networking. Steven DeAngelo, our special guest, spoke and fired up the crowd. I've been hearing all week about Steve's speech, which just demonstrates the power of exceptional orators to unify a community around common goals. Speaking of goals, our goal for the kickoff party was to raise awareness and money for Students for Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP) and that we did to the tune of about $600! Thank you to everyone who donated, particularly those that went above and beyond with a larger donation. CanopyBoulder is committed to helping establish philanthropic giving as a core part of every business in the cannabis industry.
The first week tested the CanopyBoulder staff, as we knew it would. Patrick and I had some tense discussions...OK, arguments. Lisa shook her head in disbelief a few times. And Dustin is going to need all weekend to recover from spending 60 hours shooting and editing video. In the end it all came together amazingly well. A tribute to the dedication, determination, and terrific attitude of everyone involved. Most importantly, we were able to facilitate the founders interacting with our amazing group of mentors and stay out of the way as teams started figuring out direction and goals.
Mentors stepped up to help us make this week a resounding success. Mentors like John Gaddis of KKO, Nick Hofmeister (serial entrepreneur), Josh Kappel of Vincente Sederberg, and Travis Howard of Shift Cannabis helped set the tone, provide advice, and perhaps most importantly introduce the cohort to the industry. Founders will be spending this weekend unwinding from the whirlwind of activities, gearing up for next week, and starting to establish formal relationships with key mentors.