It’s official. Cannabis has gone from niche to mainstream. Whether medical marijuana and edibles or hemp clothing and building materials, this budding industry is poised for explosive growth. While regulators and municipalities are still sorting out the rules of the cannabis game, what’s clear is that opportunities in this sector for investors and intrepid entrepreneurs are sprouting like, er…well, weed.
Carmen Brace, founder, Aclara Research
Carmen Brace is the founder of Aclara Research, an insights driven data products company with a survey panel of 30,000 cannabis patients, consumers and CBD users. She is also a former CPG executive leading teams across sales, analytics, consumer inisghts and business strategy for Conagra Brands, Mars-Wrigley and the Campbell Soup Company. Carmen earned her undergraduate and graduate degrees in agricultural economics from the University of Illinois, Urbana — Champaign and the Ohio State University.
Jeff Cantalupo, managing partner, Listen
As an entrepreneur and investor, Jeff has taken his passion for brand and helped entrepreneurs build theirs since founding Listen in 2010. He honed his craft at global ad agency, Leo Burnett, where he strategized, energized, and innovated some of the world’s largest brands. Jeff also serves on the board of directors for Interior Define, Here, Factor75, and Codeverse.
Emily Paxhia, co-founder and managing partner, Poseidon Asset Management
Emily is a co-founder and managing partner of Poseidon Asset Management. Emily has reviewed thousands of companies in the cannabis industry and has worked with countless founders in many capacities. She had helped to shape founders’ pitch preparations, their go-to-market strategies/product launches, and advised on day-to-day business operations. Emily has held board seats for multuple portfolio companies and participates as an adviser to multiple teams. Emily is a graduate of New York Univeristy where she received her MA in Psychology in 2008 and Skidmore College where she received her BA in Psychology in 2002.
Ryan Smith, co-founder & CEO, LeafLink
Prior to co-founding LeafLink, Ryan Smith successfully founded and exited two companies, one of which he sold to an NYSE public firm. Smith brings his experience creating and managing B2B firms and online marketplace investing in a highly-regulated space to LeafLink as chief executive officer. Smith is a graduate of Colgate University where he received his BA in International Relations and Philosophy.
Greg Coleman is the former president of BuzzFeed, and advised the company starting in 2010. Most recently, Coleman was the President of advertising technology company Criteo. He has previously held roles as President and Chief Revenue Officer at the Huffington Post and the EVP of Global Sales at Yahoo. Coleman also served as President of Platform-A at AOL from February to April of 2009 and was formerly Senior Vice President of Reader’s Digest Association and president of U.S. Magazine Publishing. At CBS, Inc., he spent 10 years leading advertising efforts for Woman’s Day as Vice President and National Sales Manager. Coleman holds a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Georgetown University and attended the M.B.A. program at New York University. He currently lives in Greenwich Village and is an adjunct professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business where he teaches a class on digital marketing and innovation.
NYU Entrepreneurial Institute
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