March 23, 2020: David E. Carpenter (Forbes Online)
So much for the worn-out idea that cannabis consumers are an idle lot. As millions of Californians wade into the second week of mass-lockdowns and unprecedented business closures, marijuana entrepreneurs are gearing up this week for an online pitch event that could see their businesses flourish.
The upcoming event, which was originally scheduled to take place live at Runway in San Francisco – a tech co-working space located in the Twitter building near downtown – will now be live-streamed online Tuesday March 24th at 5:30 pm (PST) due to a shelter-in-place order imposed by California’s governor.
Produced by WeedClub.com, the pitch event has had a rich history discovering and boosting recognition of innovative businesses that create pioneering products and ideas in the emerging cannabis space. Evan Horowitz, co-founder & CEO of WeedClub.com says previous presenters have gone on to work with legendary Y Combinator, secured investment and successfully exited. Y Combinator has been a part of helping to launch over 2,000 companies since 2005 – including Airbnb, DoorDash and Instacart – and is extremely effective at getting companies whipped into the best possible shape to pitch to potential investors.
Horowitz describes how three recent presenters – Plus Edibles, Van der Pop and Librede – which all demonstrated their products at the same pitch by WeedClub, saw great success shortly after appearing in the @420 event. “Plus Edibles ended up going public,” says Horowitz, “Van der Pop was acquired by Tokyo Smoke, and Librede was acquired mere months ago.”
Presenters for the March 24th pitch event will include a range of businesses including makers of cannabis smoking accessories, starter plant technologies, and custom confections, from the companies ZAM Grinders, CB Therapeutics, Meristematic, Cannected, Incredibuds, 11Biomics, Murmmr, Flower Co, Daily Bonfire, and Herron Family Farms.
Competitors will receive assistance fine-tuning their strategies in some cases, as well as “pitch coaching and extensive networking to assist with their businesses and for investor introductions,” says Horowitz, who gives the example of one presenter at Tuesday’s upcoming event, ZAM Grinders, being connected with the well-known Bay Area smoke shop Pipe Dreams.
Connections like that can prove to be invaluable for upstart companies looking to stand out in a crowded field of competitors like the present-day cannabis industry.
Told two weeks ago that the live event was unlikely to happen at the bustling downtown Twitter building due to orders for social distancing, Horowitz consulted with his team and rapidly devised a strategy to move to an online format. “WeedClub is a digital network in the first place, so it is a natural transition or addition to add remote virtual events to our platform,” he says. “We are also racing to add live one-on-one meeting rooms for WeedClub and @420 pitch members to utilize.”
At a time when the global economy can certainly use some good news, let’s hope it’s these 10 enterprising cannabis companies that help give the economy a much-needed boost – and potentially light up these dark times a little.
View the pitch event on Tuesday March 24th at 5:30 pm (PST) online.
Author: David E. Carpenter (Forbes contributor)
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