Meet The Founders is a series of interviews with our Fall 2017 class founders. Each team is working to bring a product or service to the cannabis industry through the Canopy accelerator (and in some cases, are currently operating in the space), helping to alleviate the pain points in this growing industry. Want to know more about how to launch a cannabis business? Canopy's JumpStart Conference for Entrepreneurs & Startups is on October 19th in Denver, CO. This FREE half-day conference is packed with panels on brand trends, the regulatory environment, cultivation best practices, dispensary operations and more. Space is limited - register now!
Ryan Sterling, Founder /CEO (Turner, ME)
Martin Defrance, Co-Founder/COO (Jackson, MI)
Jeremy Klammer, Co-Founder/CTO (Wheat Ridge, CO)
What is GreenScreens, and what problem does it solve in the cannabis industry?
GreenScreens is a TV Network for cannabis retail dispensaries. We launched into the cannabis industry after experiencing the retail environment from within: budtending at a small dispensary in Aspen introduced us to the customer experience in the retail environment, where we saw a need to create a system that educates consumers about cannabis. There are many different consumption methods and brands, and creating customer comfort throughout the experience was the driving force in forming the GreenScreens Network.
Our system solves the problem of lack of consumer education, reduces perceived wait times for customers, and increases total transaction dollars per customer. Customers entering dispensaries are often unaware of the array of products for sale. GreenScreens is dispensary-focused, and tailors the content to the customers that patronize those dispensaries while increasing brand awareness for vendors and units sold.
What is your background? Do you have cannabis industry experience, or is this your first venture in the industry?
My (Ryan) background consists of over a decade in management with high-end hospitality. I also received an MBA in 2010 with a focus on trainign and leadership. I have a performance background and have traveled around the world as an entertainer. More recently, I entered the cannabis industry as a budtender, where I spent 6 months on the front lines of the industry analyzing the customer experience from the dispensary perspective. Budtending also gave me first-hand experience in the depth of regulation and inefficiencies of the retail environment.
How did you find about the Canopy Accelerator, and why did you decide to apply?
I found Canopy Accelerator through researching the cannabis industry and start-ups. Separately, I was referred to a recent alumni of the spring 2017 class. After seeing a great fit between their product and ours, we decided to apply and gain the valuable experience. We feel as though the best way for us to get to market quickly is to go through some of the largest networks in the industry. I'm most excited about the opportunity to learn processes in fundraising, and to have the mentorship and workspace available. Feeling like we are part of a team is critical to solving all the problems that can be overwhelming individually.
Where do see the biggest changes in the cannabis industry?
I feel this is the infancy of an industry that will effect change in other industries. The innovations happening in this Information Age will help this emerging industry grow faster and more efficiently than any other industry to date.
Cannabis as a product in its various forms will eventually outgrow the "reefer madness" taboo it has had since the 1940's. We feel the federal prohibition will be lifted in some form by 2020 and open the industry to large-scale distribution and less restrictive regulations. We are committed to maintaining the integrity of the culture of the industry and rewiring the corporate bottom line to include the social and environmental capital involved with industry.
Our fears include the Big Pharma and Big Tobacco coming in and eating up processes and freedoms that exist to monopolize the new industry. The social constraint has not allowed the regulation to keep up with the potential innovations and create unnecessary issues with the ability for the consumer to have an enjoyable experience.
The retail experience is changing quickly and we feel the modern experience should be as easy as the consumer as possible. Mass education is needed so that the consumer can comfortably explore options in the best product for them. Quality control at scale will be a daunting task with the variables in growing techniques, but we would like to see more consistency with strain production.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I love the outdoors. Snowboarding is a passion of mine and I enjoy any and all times in the mountains. I also like to balance the altitude with scuba diving; I'm a dive master with PADI. I have recently taken up rock climbing and have fallen in love with the thrill and the workout. I am also afraid of heights, which makes it more exciting getting out of the comfort zone. Music has always been in my life and I enjoy piano and composing.
Indica or sativa?
I enjoy Indica. My brain is always running a thousand miles an hour. Indica keeps me focused and "In-da Zone".