Top Opportunities for Cannabis Investors and Entrepreneurs with Patrick Rea of CanopyBoulder

patrick rea canopy boulder

Patrick Rea is the co-founder and CEO of CanopyBoulder. CanopyBoulder is a seed-stage business accelerator program and venture fund for the cannabis industry.

Listen in as Patrick shares details about the most promising startups in the cannabis industry and gives tips to founders on how to talk with investors.

Why should you listen to this episode? 
If you listened to the first interview with Patrick three years ago, you took away prescient insights on where the cannabis industry is today. Patrick offers that 20/20 insight again in this episode and helps you understand the context of the cannabis opportunities for the next two to three years.

Key Takeaways:
[1:37] – What is CanopyBoulder
[4:08] – How life has changed since the beginning of CanopyBoulder
[5:55] – How cannabis entrepreneurs have evolved in recent years
[7:18] – Patrick talks about how he and his cofounder divide responsibilities
[11:25] – Patrick discusses the virtual accelerator model
[14:12] – Entry points in contributing to CanopyBoulder
[15:09] – Common questions from investors
[19:15] – Patrick highlights some success stories
[23:22] – Turning traction into momentum
[25:33] – Patrick talks about teaching entrepreneurs new skills
[32:40] – Patrick talks about a perfect pitch deck
[36:46] – Who is a good candidate for CanopyBoulder
[38:06] – Patrick answers some personal development questions
[43:21] – Contact details for CanopyBoulder

Learn more at:
http://www.canopyboulder.com

Read Full Transcript

Matthew: Hi. I’m Matthew Kind. Every Monday look for a fresh new episode where I will take you behind the scenes and interview the insiders that are shaping the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. Learn more at www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com. Now here’s your program.

The public has finally woken up to the massive opportunity in investing in the cannabis industry, but not all the opportunities are the same. Both investors and entrepreneurs have to decide if they’re going to pursue opportunities that touch the cannabis plant, or go after ancillary business models and investments that don’t. Here to help us get a perspective on this is Patrick Rea, Cofounder of CanopyBoulder. Patrick, welcome back to CannaInsider.

Patrick: Matt, it’s great to be here. Thank you for reaching out, and it’s always fun to talk with you.

Matthew: Tell us where you are today. Give us a sense of geography.

Patrick: I am in lovely Boulder, Colorado today. A place that I know you know very well Matt. In fact, our new Canopy office is just about five or six blocks away from The Cup, the coffee shop where we met first in 2014.

Matthew: Yes, great location. I’m really excited for you. That’s an incredible location.

Patrick: Yeah we love it.

Matthew: I want to get into all that, but for listeners that are not familiar with CanopyBoulder, because it’s been a few years since you’ve been on, give us an update. Tell us what CanopyBoulder is and everything you’re doing really quick.

Patrick: Cool. Really, CanopyBoulder, we are for investors. We’re an investment company. We’re a venture capital firm. We invest in a very active way in the form of a business accelerator, and we invest follow-on funds in the top companies that come through our business accelerator program. So, that’s for investors. For entrepreneurs, we’re a business accelerator, kind of a startup factory. We focus on ancillary products and services. We do not invest in any businesses that touch the plant for a lot of reasons. We love software, technology and services in any mix that can combine to solve the industry’s acute business problems in a unique way.

So, we’re looking for and wanting to solve the problems of the businesses that touch the plant. Generally, those licensed business that cultivators, extractors, infused products companies and dispensaries. For the entrepreneurs we’ll invest $30,000 in each company that we accept into our 16-week business accelerator program, which we modeled off of Tech Stars. During that 16 weeks, our investment community will review the companies and make recommendations for follow-on funding, usually in the form of a $50k convertible not, but we can do more. Everything culminates well with multiple demo day events where we bring in investors, industry pros, VIPs and media. Then for another month we help the teams with fundraising. For mentors and industry folks, it’s a way for them to engage in some of the most interesting dynamic and innovative startups coming into the cannabis industry. So, it’s pretty inclusive for a lot of people, and we love it.

Matthew: So, when we first talked it was back in 2014, and we met at The Cup there in Boulder, and you were telling me about this was more like a concept then, and then it just launched. Now it seems like CanopyBoulder is mature. It’s fully mature. You have an ecosystem. You have graduates. You have investors. It’s firing on all cylinders, but let’s just kind of rewind. What’s your life been like? This transition from the conception of CanopyBoulder to where you are now, to this full ecosystem of investors, entrepreneurs, all that’s happening. How has your life changed? How has your perspective on CanopyBoulder changed?

Patrick: You know, we have a bigger team. We have more experience. We have a larger ecosystem. So, I don’t know if we’re completely mature. I have a lot of friends that would probably never connect that word with me. Life gets better and better every day. We’re really, I think, executing on the original strategy, improving our tactics generally, and expanding that ecosystem of founders and mentors, industry pros, partners, investors every day. Sometimes I look at the numbers, and I’m just blow away. I mean, because so many people plan, but turning those plans into reality is like threading a needle while surfing pipeline. It’s such a hard thing to do and so many things have to come to place at the same time to make things work, and we’ve just been blessed through building a really great team, having great partners and engaged mentors and an alumni network that still comes around and helps out and does mentor presentations and shows up and makes instructions for the new teams.

We had an idea and did a bunch of research that indicated this model, this business accelerator model would work in the cannabis industry, but you never know until it starts to happen. It’s happening. So, we’re really excited about that.

Matthew: How would you say the entrepreneurs have evolved since the first cohort? How they’ve changed? Did they morph as the industry morphed, or is there any other differences that you’ve noted?

Patrick: The entrepreneurs are stronger. We certainly, in our first class, we had a really strong cohort. I know a number of them have been interviewed on the CannaInsider podcast. I think you’d probably agree that there are some teams in there with just really impressive people.

Matthew: Yeah definitely.

Patrick: By in large, the quality and the pedigree of the entrepreneurs and the teams that apply for the program is increasing and they’re more complete folks that really have that sort of entrepreneur product fit. They’re more complete teams. Fewer solo founders. It’s gotten better for sure. Still one of the biggest challenges in our business model is finding the entrepreneurs and the teams that are investment ready and worthy investment. We spend a lot of time in this big ecosystem that has been created around Canopy is really helpful in sort of herding those strong entrepreneurs into the program and we’re very grateful for that.

Matthew: How do you and your cofounder, Micah Tapman, divide responsibilities? How does that look?

Patrick: First off, really there’s four founders of Canopy, myself, Micah. We had an early stage seed investor out of Lake Forest, Illinois, Mark, who also is a cofounder. Then ArcView is a partner, and I like to consider them a cofounder of Canopy as well. So, we really have four, but from an operating standpoint, it’s Micah, myself and the staff. Micah is a perfect example of a cofounder that can really make a dramatic impact on teams’ capabilities, and we stress this to the founders here as well all the time. It’s always about team when you’re launching a business because you’re going to have to zig and zag and you need somebody that can zig and zag there right with you and support you on the down days and really amplify the up days.

I like to joke that Micah started law school around the age of five at the dining room table. His father, Ken, advised a lot of businesses that were working with tribes to build out oil and gas pipelines in the U.S., which is a very complicated business from a legal perspective. Ken is also now a thought leader in arbitration and mediation. Micah is very good with legal contracts, sometimes better than some of the lawyers we work with. He’s really good with business models, strategy and working towards shared, collaborative, positive outcomes amongst groups. So, he’s a real master here. It’s great to have him aboard. I couldn’t ask for a better partner.

In addition, Micah CanopyVentures, and that’s the growth fund that we’re raising for to focus on investments in the companies that make it to that growth stage where the company has found product market fit and the growth slope becomes really steep, capital is need to keep up with demand, not to generate it. We still have the early stage fund and the accelerator model, but we’re growing in to that next level up to support, not only the companies that come through and graduate from Canopy, but to seize on the opportunities with companies that don’t come through Canopy that we assess and think are right for investment as well at the right terms.

Matthew: Smart. Why limit yourself if you don’t have to. That’s a great idea, to work with other entrepreneurs too that didn’t go through the accelerator.

Patrick: Yeah. We get calls all the time from folks who want our help. I mean, we’ve invested in 73 companies, over 80 direct investments in these companies. You build up a lot of experience doing that. I think what we’d like to do is help not only the companies that are not coming through the program with investment, but also make sure that the other investors that come in and we build syndicates, we’re coming in at good terms that are fair and that are supportive to the entrepreneur but also balance in a way that will eventually be a win for the investor as well.

Matthew: There are other accelerators, most notably TechStars, looking to make a virtual accelerator model. TechStars is based there in Boulder, I should mention. What do you think about that model? What’s your thoughts on it? Does that take away from obviously some of the benefits of being together? Do you think it could work? Would it have to be a hybrid model where there’s some time in person or some time away? What do you think about that in general?

Patrick: Yeah, we’re very supportive of education, and we believe very strongly in give first mentality that TechStars has led with since day one. We’re very close with the TechStars group. They’re offices are very close to ours, and we’re very lucky to have a good relationship with them. We’re really comfortable right now with our approach that brings the team to Colorado for a very specific reason. There are advantages, very specific advantages, for ancillary products and services companies to find their footing in Colorado, in the cannabis industry. The reason is that the industry here is “mature”, relative to the other states.

Growth is starting to slow, but it’s still robust and a very safe and business friendly environment for not on the ancillary companies but the licensed producers. We talk to and stay very close to a lot of license producers, cultivators, the edibles, the extractors, the dispensaries. What we started hearing from them, which is very interesting, is that they’re not just trying to keep up with demand. They’ve got their head down in their business all the time, and they can barely take a day off. Things have shifted in the market and these CEOs are no longer just trying to figure out how to keep up with demand, but now they’re looking for ways to compete and steal market share from their competitors.

This has been a real interesting shift over the last 12 months here. I know you would see this right away, if you were back in town, but when you talk to these CEOs they get very specific, and we’ve heard it from a couple of them, that they’re no longer working in their business, they’re working on their business, which means they’re looking for the tech, the data, the software, the media, things that are going to give them a competitive edge. So, the business accelerator model works, and it’s great for the cannabis industry, but in Colorado, on the ground here, we think there’s a distinct advantage for the startups and the companies that come out and try to find their footing here because of that shift in the market, which isn’t really happening anywhere else right now.

Matthew: That’s really interesting. Tell me, what’s the minimum amount of money that is necessary to contribute to CanopyBoulder to become involved? I know you mentioned $50,000 convertible note. What are the different entry points?

Patrick: For investors we do have a minimum, but we find a way for people to be involved, through SPDs and the like. I’m happy to talk offline with any accredited investors about that. You can reach me at Patrick@canopyboulder.com at any point. We have opportunities for investors to come in to our funds always, if they’re accredited. We’ve got 70+ companies as well that are out there raising capital to fuel their businesses. If an investor wants to get involved in investing in the cannabis industry, I strongly recommend that they go to www.canopyboulder.com.

Matthew: What would you say is your number one or number two question, your most common questions you get from prospective investors or even current investors? What are they asking you that you hear over and over?

Patrick: Valuation is always a question. Valuation in the cannabis industry is an interesting thing. Certainly now we know pretty quickly where a company’s valuation should be, just based on the volume of experience that we’ve had. Not only are we making our own investments and negotiating terms, but we’re watching the teams go out and raise capital from outside investors, and we help with that. We’ll get involved and be a independent third party data point for another investor, for a team that’s come through Canopy and participated in that fundraising.

So, valuation is one of those things that every investor thinks that cannabis companies should have a discount on their valuation because it’s cannabis, and every entrepreneur thinks there should be a premium on their valuation because it’s cannabis. So, usually we all end up where we should, but sometimes it takes some good conversation and understanding and listening to make sure that we get there. So, valuation is a big one.

A lot of the time also we get investors that we’re introduced to and we have a talk with them and we try to understand their motivations, why cannabis and what areas they want to invest in. Have they made any investments already? We do a lot of consulting, unofficial consulting for these investors. Certainly more formalized consulting with our fund investors and our colleagues that are running funds here to help them make better decisions. We often hear from an investor that their friend has an inside track on this deal. At this point, we know the core questions to ask about virtually every segment in the industry. We spend a fair amount of time helping investors get up to speed and make maybe more informed decisions than they will on their own with their buddy who brought them a deal.

Matthew: Do you ever see investors get involved and be advisors for some of the entrepreneurs?

Patrick: Absolutely. One of the things that we’re trying to cultivate here at Canopy is more engagement. There’s a lot of investment funds out there and investors. They’re nice when they’re raising money, but then afterwards it’s kind of like a black box. The whole fund becomes this secretive thing and all the companies and what’s going on. We’re really an open model. We believe that this industry, and especially the companies that are starting in this industry, need all the support they can get, and that they need to be open to sort of the universe, and everyone who is involved, whether it’s mentors, industry people, media, to help.

We’re very supportive of that kind of concept where an investor becomes an active advisor. Maybe even become, and we’ve had a couple teams where this has happened, an investor, actually a mentor has become an investor and then joined the team. You can get some great experience on your team that way and really fill in some gaps on your team’s expertise by targeting specific mentors and investors. Right now we have a couple hundred mentors on our list that want to be active with the companies. We’ve got about 2,500 investors that have reached out to us and said they want to invest in either our funds or the companies that come out of the program. So, it’s a big community. It takes a fair bit of time to manage that.

Matthew: Okay let’s pivot to the entrepreneurs. Can you highlight a couple success stories from the different cohorts?

Patrick: Yeah, sure. Honestly every company that graduates from the program, because it’s a grind and it’s very demanding, I consider that a success. We have had a handful of teams, a couple handfuls of teams, that have done exceptionally well. BDS Analytics is one of those companies. It was a team that graduated from our first class in 2015 and they’re doing point of sale data and research and analytics for the cannabis industry. So, they collect all the data, the checkout data from the dispensaries and then they sort of mill it together, normalize it and sell that to the brands and companies that are interested in what’s really selling and what’s driving the market, not what they hear in the sales pitch from a vendor, but what’s really happening at the store level.

Roy, one of the cofounders, he was my first boss at a venture capital firm in Rhode Island, and we stayed in touch for 15-16 years and then kind of lured him into the space with this great idea because no one was doing it. We knew that it was going to be something that everybody would want, not just the brands or a CEO, but a marketing manager and even investors. They want to know what the truth is. How can you get to the real numbers? That’s one.

Wurk was founded by Keegan Peterson down in Denver, and that’s another success story where again there weren’t many, if any, players that were going after payroll processing and HR management. WE know that is a not sexy category. It’s not like VR or AI or something that is on trend right now, but as a business, it is incredibly sexy. You’re CFO is going to get really excited about this one where you have really high retention. You have really solid monthly recurring revenue and growth, and then exit multiples are astronomical in a very active M&A market.

The third I’d probably point to is Front Range Biosciences. That’s a situation where we had one of our mentors, Nick Hoffmeister, who had been a mentor at TechStars and raised a quarter of billion dollars for companies that he had started or worked with in the past. Had this idea and a team of entrepreneurs in the biotech space, and he utilized Canopy’s program and sort of wrangled them together. We made an investment in them and they’ve done exceptionally well. They’re doing tissue culture work right now, clean stock clones and things like that. Solving some major problems in the industry. All the teams, these founders have done this elsewhere, and they’re bringing over their skillsets to the cannabis industry, and they’re doing a great job building a community of supportive investors, advisors, board members around them that are there for them when they hit little speed bumps, as ever business will, they have really built a strong community around them.

Matthew: Anything you see in common among the entrepreneurs where they seem to get momentum and keep it? Because sometimes there’s these initial bursts and excitement, but since there’s not a proven business model yet, that fades quickly. When you see the spark and then the traction is there anything you can say there, any themes or trends you see where you see the pattern over and over again? Like this entrepreneur has the spark, has traction and then turns it into momentum.

Patrick: Well, I mean, I think it’s just generally their approach. The common threads that we see with the entrepreneurs, they listen. We say, you have two ears and one mouth, use them in that order. Engage and listen, be inquisitive, ask questions, take that feedback, work with your team and engage with the appropriate people to execute on these ideas. Inquisitiveness, great communication skills. They have that sort of entrepreneur market fit that they’ve done it and they have credibility and the right to win at what they’re doing. So, they have that expertise.

They even keel generally. They’re not erratic, or not horribly erratic, which enables them to be very decisive when they need to be. We had one of our founders hire in a senior member to his team recently who he had worked for in the past. So, kind of the same situation I had with Roy. This guy had been his boss, and things weren’t working out. It became apparent very quickly that this guy was just not the right fit, and that founder moved decisively and let him go. Now we’re working to find a replacement and that’s not easy. At the same time, life isn’t easy, business isn’t easy, and these are the hard things that you got to be ready and able to do. When you see those things happen you just got to really, it really bolsters your confidence in the people that you’ve invested in.

Matthew: So, you teach a lot of skills at CanopyBoulder that some entrepreneurs don’t have, specifically around negotiation and pitching and things like that. Can you tell us about that? How you get the entrepreneurs ready to talk to investors, ready to pitch their value proposition and so forth.

Patrick: A business accelerator is designed, in my opinion, it should be designed to be a very intensive process. There’s a lot you need to learn to be able to run a business, to do the sort of thrust and parry with investors and customers and partners and employees. So, we do a lot of mentor presentations and educational sessions. One thing that we focus on is venture finance and bringing everyone up to speed on the art and the science of raising capital, managing investors and connecting capital raise to your business.

We spend a lot of time talking about and making sure everybody understands venture capital, because if you’re going to go out and raise money, you will have investors that will try to throw you curveballs, or use one of multiple terms for the same thing to see if you get tripped up. It happens. People try to do that with me and I hear stories. We spend a lot of time there. We also spend a lot of time, almost every one on one meeting we have with a team. There are questions that come up and we say early on we’re not here to be the interim CEO. We just want to help you make better decisions. We encourage the teams to do the research. The saying is, we don’t care what you think, we care what a lot of other people think who will be your customers, your partners. So, go out and do the research. Get out of your head and out of your business plan and get in the market.

Pitching is a big thing as well. We’ll do pitch practice every week until demo day. Sometimes we’ll do multiple pitch practices per week. What we’re trying to do is make sure that those teams are very clear, there’s no confusion. It’s super apparent what they’re saying and how they’re going to do it. Communication is like pitching and catching. Somebody’s got to be able to catch what you’re throwing. A lot of the times you may be talking to what you think is one of the world’s most sophisticated investors and experienced people who have no idea anything about the business that you’re talking to them about. You got to keep it really simple and break it down to the fundamentals for everyone, and just go into meetings making sure that you are continually informing and educating and checking in and making sure people are picking up what you’re laying down. So, we spend a lot of time doing that.

Matthew: Well, now that you’ve mentioned it in terms of someone trying to use a different term for the same thing, I want to do a Jujitsu reversal on you, and ask you, can you give us an idea what that is. Because there’s people that don’t want to get tripped up and they want to catch that. Is there anything that you can tell us like, hey, if someone asks you this in this way and then this in another way, this is what they’re trying to get at or they’re trying to trip you up. Anything you can say here?

Patrick: In venture finance there’s a lot of terms that kind of mean the same thing. Discounts and coupons and (29:01 unclear). People will throw you curveballs. What I’ll do in the office in meetings or in pitch practice I’ll say okay I’m going to put my prickish VC cap on right now, so get ready. Then you just put on a different persona and you can just go after people and rip into them. I’ve been on the other side of the table where the entrepreneurs are and had a venture capitalist just lay into me or investors just really go after minute details and nuanced parts of a contract. It can really get you off base.

Often what they’re doing is they’re trying to assess you in how you react to stress and challenge, not necessarily how you’re going to act. When you’re uncomfortable and you’re stressed it’s really important to maintain calm and clarity and make sure you understand what they’re talking about. It’s okay to say you don’t know, and defer to your team. We coach the teams that if some investor is going deep on something, say, that is a great question that I don’t have the answer to, but what I can do is let’s schedule a call and I’ll have my lawyer or I’ll have my CFO or I’ll have somebody on, and we’ll workshop this one. I want to make sure you are completely comfortable with what we’re doing here. Sound good. Do the parry, deflecting off to another meeting is sometimes all you need to do.

Matthew: Yeah, I know what you mean. It’s okay as long as it stays in the realm of constructive, but sometimes, you’re right, you just someone that’s like I’m just going to move into the agitation gear and see if I can ruffle some feathers, and I just want to see what happens.

Patrick: It’s going to happen, it’s going to happen in life. In any relationship you’re going to have a moment where it moves into that uncomfortable zone. How you handle that is sometimes more important than how you handle the good times. Because if you can make it through those moments of agitation and uncomfortableness with someone, you then built another sort of block in the foundation of a relationship with someone. We definitely put our teams through that on a regular basis. In pitch practice, every week we do pitch practice and we say, after somebody’s done their pitch we say all right investors, what questions do you have. So, everybody in the group starts asking questions as if they were an investor. Then we’ll say okay, let’s shift to feedback and then we give feedback. It’s sort of like a dress rehearsal for the Q&A I guess.

Matthew: Let’s talk about pitches just a little bit more because investors want to use their time efficiently and give feedback to entrepreneurs, and entrepreneurs want to have a great pitch deck. So, if you were to wave a magic wand and give a perfect pitch deck template to an entrepreneur listening, what would it look like in terms of length, the number of slides, the size of the font, what not to include, what to include?

Patrick: That’s one of the first sessions that we do here. Right now I’m looking out and everybody has posted up on Windows, the walls, their first version of their pitch decks. We’re Tuesday in the second week of the program. It’s very important to keep it simple. We practice for a pitch in front of a room full of investors as our primary content piece. What do you need to pitch in front of a room of investors that are sitting around. You got a screen behind you. In that one, you want to keep the deck very visual. The more words, and there’s actually research that goes to support this, the more words and numbers that you have on a slide, the less effective of a communication tool that that slide will be.

We encourage the teams strongly to have strong visuals that support the narrative, because if your investors are reading your screen, they’re not listening to you or they’re just partially listening to you. They might miss some of the nuance that you’re trying to communicate. In addition, if they’re reading and they rip through the content of the deck and they reach for their smartphone, you just lost them. The smartphone is your enemy. You want to keep their attention and keep them nodding and following along as long as you possibly can.

Ideally we’re targeting a five minute pitch, and in that five minute pitch we want them to grab attention immediately. We want them to identify and to find a problem, a very acute market problem quickly. We want them to quantify that market or that problem. It’s not the size of the cannabis industry. It’s the size of the target addressable market that your business will specifically solve a problem for. So, then you want to go into the solution. How do you solve this for this problem? If you have a demo, can you show the demo? No, live demos. That’s always a recipe for disaster. Screen capture videos, animating, whatever you can do. Demo. Then talking about your team. Who’s going to do this and why are they uniquely qualified to be successful.

What have you done so far? What kind of traction do you have in the market or with your idea? That’s another important thing to show some data points and be tracking certain data points. Ideally they’re moving up and to the right. Then you want to talk about timeline. What are the financials, rough financials of the business? You know they’re going to be wrong. You just want to avoid that sort of crazy hockey stick or something that won’t tie to your more detailed financial model. You want to communicate how you’re going to make money. What’s your investment ask? How much are you raising and what sort of valuation metrics or caps or whatnot? What runway that’s going to give you. How are you going to use the funds. And then we like the teams to wrap up with those three reasons why they want to invest or investors will want to invest. Why they’re special. Of course at the end you want to say thank you.

Matthew: Great summary. That’s very helpful. For prospective and current entrepreneurs that are listening and are wondering is CanopyBoulder a fit for me? Am I too young, too old? Am I the wrong type of person. I’m not very techy, or I’m too nerdy? There’s a lot of ways people disqualify themselves in their mind where they say oh I’m not a fit for this or I am. Maybe you can tell us who you think is a good candidate and what you’re looking for.

Patrick: I think good candidates are folks that have experience in what they’re wanting to do. If their business is very IP heavy, they understand intellectual property. If they are data heavy business that they want to do, then they understand data and analytics. That’s really important. Age? Certainly if you’ve never worked really in a business before, or you don’t have any startup experience, maybe you should go and get some experience first before you launch into that first startup. For folks who have more experience, you’re in high demand. Investors really appreciate more seasoned managers and business people who come into the industry. They definitely have a better chance of raising money for sure.

Matthew: Patrick, I like to ask a few personal development questions for listeners to get a sense of who you are. With that, is there a book that has had a big impact on your life or way of thinking that you’d like to share?

Patrick: Yeah absolutely. There’s really two books, and they both were published by folks who have been a part of or have founded or have cofounded TechStars. The first one is Venture Deals. That is really a great primer for venture capital and venture investments. The idea is it’s written for entrepreneurs so they can be smarter than your VC or smarter than your lawyer in a negotiation. It really is something that I would highly recommend any aspiring entrepreneur read or download and listen to while they’re going for a jog or a walk or a bike ride. Very important to make sure that you know how and when and where and why people invest, and when, where, how people raise money.

The second book is Do More Faster, and it’s a real great foundational piece that helps the entrepreneurs that come into the Canopy program understand how we need to work. An accelerator is a set period of time generally, compared to an incubator, which it often doesn’t have deadlines. We’re also investing, so we want the teams to come in and be doers. They want to get things done and Do More Faster is a grouping of little stories that cover all sorts of different things, from avoiding cofounder conflict to optimizing your email communications, to any number of the things that we’re going to cover in the program here. So, it’s a great book to read and use to think about a lot of the important things that you’re going to cover when you are starting a business.

Matthew: Is there a tool, web-based or otherwise, that you consider vital to your day to day productivity?

Patrick: Yeah, absolutely. I’ve got three. Slack. Slack is our internal messaging service that we have all the teams on. We encourage all the teams to get their teams on it. Again, something that TechStars uses and is really a great way to get your team out of your inbox. It works really great, sort of these private text and chat ribbons for business. The second is Calendy. It’s a scheduling tool for folks. The thing I probably like to avoid most in my job is that nauseating email back and forth trying to set up a phone call. Can you do it at this time or that time? Sometimes I’ll be like hey, just to avoid this, do you want to pick a time that works for you and works for me. Here’s the link to my calendar. For the right people it works really well.

The third thing is DocSend. DocSend is this great tool that we encourage all the entrepreneurs and founders when they’re putting together better due diligence packets to put it up on DocSend. What you can do is kind of like Dropbox or Google Drive, but it has all these analytics. So, you put a password on a document, upload it to DocSend and send that to an investor, he or she clicks on the link, puts in the password. You get an alert. They’ve gone and looked at your documents. Then, you can actually go in and look at their experience with your documents. So if you have a 15 slide deck, you can go and see that investor is looking at for the longest period of time. Are they interested in the finances? Are they more interested in the team? That can help you have a more productive and informed conversation with that investor.

Matthew: Very cool. You’ve got a lot of legal documents whirling around there, between entrepreneurs and investors and stuff. Do you use a tool to manage that at all?

Patrick: Yeah. We have a great group of law firms that we work with, and they help keep everything together, but that’s just one of those things where you’ve got to be organized and diligent about tracking, organizing and keep tabs on all the investment documents. It’s one of the easiest things to drop, and I’m not saying I’m perfect or we’re perfect with it, but yeah we have a ton of legal docs. We use a Google Drive for our teams where we put in all those things from subscription agreements to safe templates to convertible notes to operating agreements, IP assignment and contractor. We’ve got a library of legal documents that we give to the teams. That can be a massive savings for them when they’re trying to develop their own stuff.

Matthew: That’s great. Well, Patrick, how can listeners connect with you and find CanopyBoulder?

Patrick: We believe very firmly that there’s nothing better than showing up. So, we’re right downtown Boulder. If you’re interested in being involved in the cannabis industry, we strongly encourage you to come out to Colorado and spend a day or two just seeing what it’s really like. Because sometimes media representations of what’s actually happening aren’t necessarily accurate. We love to have people into the office to sit in. If you’re an entrepreneur, reach out to us through www.canopyboulder.com, and we can schedule some time for you to sit in and learn about what’s going on.

For investors, same thing. We have a whole forum on www.canopyboulder.com where you can go and express your interest. Again, we’ll reach out to you, follow up, profile, get an understanding of what you’re trying to accomplish and try to honestly help you make better business decisions because I think the more and better business decisions that we can all make, the healthier this industry is going to be. On social media, I’m pretty active on Twitter @patrickrea. We’re very accessible all the time because we’re trying to build this really fun, exciting, helpful community so we welcome all comers.

Matthew: That’s great, and I want to encourage any listeners that are serious entrepreneurs and also accredited investors to reach out to Canopy because we need everybody to make this the biggest industry in the United States. We really need talented people out there, both in the investor community and entrepreneurs. I’ve had people ask me if it’s too late. I’m like are you kidding me? It’s not too late. It’s nowhere near too late. This is perfect timing. Please reach out to Patrick and Patrick thanks so much for coming on and telling us what’s happening in the investor/entrepreneur realm, and I wish you all the best for this cohort. I’m sure we’ll be having some of them on the show to let listeners hear what they’re doing.

Patrick: Thank you Matt. We are having a great time, and the vision of helping the industry grow is something we’re working on every day. You’re doing that as well, and I just want to applaud you for what you’ve accomplished and what you’ve done also for the industry as well. It’s something that should not be overlooked at any point. So, thank you.

Matthew: Thank you Patrick.

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