1964 Supply Co. was created to both capture and respect a moment in time in cannabis history: the year the THC molecule was discovered. Through its collaborations with artists, 1964 Supply Co. has helped capture the creative essence of cannabis users.
Q&A with Entrepreneur & 1964 Supply Co./Rubicon Organics
What do you think are the biggest misconceptions cannabis industry?
The biggest misconception about our industry is that cannabis is not a product for the mainstream consumer. As the fog of prohibition lifts, the general population will experience both the therapeutic potential of cannabis as well as cannabis’ use as a healthy alternative to alcohol. Cannabis has a massive disruptive potential for many industries, in a particular the alcohol and pharmaceutical industries. The recent $5 billion investment by Constellation Brands into Canopy Growth Corporation is demonstrative of both the threat and opportunity that cannabis poses to such sectors.
How is your business innovating?
The cannabis industry is ripe for innovation, which will be a key value driver for companies as the industry matures. Rubicon is focused on innovation across the value chain, from certified organic cannabis production and plant breeding, to mainstream branding and marketing with Supplied by 1964, to IP development in processing and new form factors. We are constantly striving to deliver new products to consumers and manage the ever changing legal and political environment. As an international company, management is careful to work closely with regulators to create a legal and sustainable business environment for a thriving cannabis industry.
What was the biggest hurdle you had to overcome in your business?
After co-founding Whistler Medical Marijuana Corp., we wanted to push the limits of certified organic cannabis production. The exact timing of the repeal of prohibition was uncertain and in 2014 when we began to raise capital for a U.S.-focused cannabis company, many investors thought we were insane for even asking! It took us 18 months to raise the first few million of seed financing, plus our founder put in his life savings into Rubicon. We're certainly enjoying where Rubicon has come as our last capital raise was upsized from $7 million (Canadian) to $13.2 million (Canadian) due to tremendous interest from investors.
What is your favorite aspect of working in this industry?
The unbelievable passion and entrepreneurial spirit that we encounter in this community is inspiring. This passion extends down to the consumer and we're regularly asked about where the opportunities are and how the small-time entrepreneur can get involved. The landscape is constantly in flux and as management we need to check and adjust our risk regularly. While there will certainly be dominant players that emerge in this space, there is still a ton of opportunity for the small players to innovate and find a segment where they can create real value. This is a once in a generation entrepreneurial opportunity.
What inspires you?
We're inspired by the intellectual challenge of building a business. We've learned so much from my team, especially the importance of listening and providing strong leadership. If you want to inspire others you need to understand motivations and help set them up for success. Rubicon Organics is a product of building a high performing and functioning team who are genuinely committed.