Innovation and Ingenuity Surprise Judges at Cannabis Pitch Contest
Four businesses attended the Winter Emerge 2020 Virtual Cannabis Conference & Expo to compete in the Investor Pitch Contest hosted by Leafwire and Regennabis.
In order to qualify and win, the companies had to show a comprehensive plan that included a focus on sustainability in the cannabis industry.
Each was given the opportunity to make a 4-minute pitch, followed by a 4-minute question and answer period with potential investors.
Geoff Trotter, co-founder of Regennabis, and Peter Vogel, CEO and co-founder of Leafwire, moderated the event.
Out of the four presentations came four very distinct and unique ideas.
Just BioFiber Pitches a Perfect Plan
Just BioFiber was the event’s clear winner with a project that has global implications environmentally and financially.
Dave Ladouceur, CEO of Just BioFiber, explained that the company produces a truly sustainable building solution.
The company produces custom building blocks comprised of hemp fiber combined with a proprietary lime slurry mix to create one of the most sustainable building materials on the market.
Hemp agriculture can produce 250% more fiber than cotton and 600% more fiber than flax on the same amount of land.
Hemp processing uses one-tenth of the energy that it takes over years and years to fully develop a forest for timber construction.
Ladouceur said the company desperately needs to expand its factory to increase production. He added the company is losing out on millions in business right now because it simply can not keep up with demand.
“We’ve had to stop taking orders,” he said. “There’s a backlog because the company is too small to keep up with demand. A 3-5 million annual block production facility could net a substantial profit.”
An investment would allow Just BioFiber to stabilize the company, work off the sales backlog and stop turning away orders, become cash flow positive in Q3 2021, and allow them to upgrade their plant to handle 20,000 bricks per month.
“It’s an environmental gem that will be a great solution for the people, the planet, and prosperity,” Ladouceur said. Another benefit to the fiber blocks is that construction time is cut drastically. The time needed to frame a 2,000 sq. ft. home is about half the time of traditional wood-frame construction.
The blocks also offer a substantial increase in safety. They have a two-hour fire rating at 1,800 degrees. “These things will not catch fire,” Ladouceur said. “We’ve tried with torches directly heating them and nothing. No smoke. No fire.”
One judge pointed out that could make the blocks very desirable for places like California where wildfires are a way of life.
They can also withstand up to 250 mile-per-hour winds.
The pandemic hit Just BioFiber particularly hard, which is why they entered the contest. A $30 million investment to take the company global was called off in March 2020 as the pandemic sent life to a screeching halt.
“The company licked its wounds and pushed forward,” he said. After naming Just BioFiber as the winner, Trotter said the next steps in the process would follow close behind.
“I will be working with each of the investors as a follow-up with Peter [Vogel] to see what opportunity there may be to reach out with each of you for an even longer conversation,” Trotter said. “One that gets into the guts of your businesses and to give you really a fair crack at an investment.”
Gladbrook Holdings Customizes Your Prescription
Coming in second place was Gladbrook Holdings of Long Beach, CA. Warren Blesofsky, president and co-founder, made the presentation.
Gladbrook holds a variety of assets in the cannabis space, including both real estate and retail sales.
The project for which the company is seeking investors is its Dial It In subscription service. Dial It In is a medical marijuana subscription service that will deliver your specific, regular order directly to your door.
“When the big money came into California, it rushed for recreational marijuana,” Blesofsky said. “It left the medical market mostly neglected.” That space is where he feels Dial It In could provide a valuable service. He said the company will use all-electric automobiles and is developing truly sustainable packaging.
In addition to plant-based biodegradable plastic, the company is developing a child-proof cardboard packaging system.
While not complete, Blesofsky said he believes the next iteration of the cardboard package will be the final product.
The company is seeking approximately $9 million in funding this year and believes the majority of that will come from private investors.
Gladbrook also plans to operate a recreational marijuana leg of Dial It In, known as Discreet St. Between the two businesses, Blesofsky believes the company will set the industry standard in sustainable packaging for years to come.
Feel State Inc. Offers Turn-Key Solutions
In third place was St. Louis, MO-based Feel State Inc. CEO David Melnick made the company’s pitch.
Feel State is offering a franchise option for cannabis dispensaries.
The Feel State licensing system is designed to offer a turnkey solution for business owners looking to delve into the cannabis space.
“We’re giving people new to the industry a way to take the guesswork out of opening a dispensary,” Melnick said. “We’ll provide our partners with the tools needed to succeed.”
Feel State will open its first dispensary in St. Louis this spring.
The company is finalizing additional deals in Missouri, Oklahoma, and Colorado.
Judges for the competition were Codie Sanchez, managing director and partner of Entourage Effect Capital; Emily Paxhia, co-founder and managing partner for Poseidon Asset Management; Kellie Seringer, portfolio manager at Symmetry Capital Management, LLC; and Lindsay Blackett, CEO of PeakTerra Ventures Inc.
The next Investor Pitch Contest will take place during Spring 2021 Emerge on March 30-April 1, 2021. Visit emergecanna.com for tickets and for more information on the contest.
July 27, 2021 11:00 am