Lit Up Founders: A show about the founders of the Modern Cannabis Industry and the Organizations they are building. Each episode features the founder themself, sharing their journey in creating Modern Cannabis.
Creating a cannabis beverage company with Good Feels Founder & CEO, Jason Reposa
For a large part of his early life, today's guest lived in the shadow of his very popular, but very different, older brother. It wasn't until he found his passion for technology in high school, something he found an immediate aptitude for, did he start to come into his own identity, and gain the confidence to pursue his own path in life.
Entering technology just post the dot com bubble was humbling. From working on innovative projects to, having to say yes to anything, even gig-economy moving jobs, he did what it took to survive another day.
Many years later, a stressful exit from a technology company he co-founded coupled with a physically demanding high-altitude hiking trip, caused a lot of compound health issues to come to the surface. With traditional western approaches not working, a podcast on the healing powers of cannabis piqued his interest; our gust decided to revisit the plant. After a lot of exploration, coupled with his natural tendency to dive deep, he eventually found his cure.
With his health on the mend, his exit complete, a lot of deep knowledge of the cannabis plant, a working product, a proven but under-supplied product category, and the funds to get it off the ground; the door was wide open for this next adventure in entrepreneurship.
Please enjoy the Founder's Journey of creating a cannabis beverage company with Jason Reposa of Good Feels
Jason Reposa is a lifelong dreamer and the Founder and CEO of Good Feels. The mantra ‘Do No Harm’ has become the guiding principle that steers his serial entrepreneurism after 20+ years of experience in software development and as the lead developer of multiple nationally-recognized brands. Jason transitioned into the cannabis industry two years ago to address personal ailments and is now focused on spreading Good Feels to all. His tenacity to overcome challenges comes in part from his mother who immigrated from Honduras when she was 16 without knowing how to speak English. Growing up in a family without a lot of technology, Jason found himself doing whatever he could to get his hands on old computers. Later he would graduate with a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Worcester Polytechnic Institute and become a professor of computer programming. Jason has developed his skills as an innovator and leader in two CTO positions. Jason co-founded the personal finance tool MyBankTracker as their CTO before transitioning to CEO. He also co-founded the digital product agency AD:60, which developed products for Stash, Christie’s, Nutrisystem, Songza, and many more. Each month Jason volunteers time on the Medway Energy and Sustainability Committee (MESC) in his hometown where he’s a resource to many locals on recycling. He is also a proud husband and father of three children. From his very first lemonade stand to becoming a 2nd time CEO, Jason has always pushed himself to become a better technologist, business leader, and creator of positive change.
Good Feels brings people together with their fast-acting line of ready-to-drink cannabis-infused seltzers and go-anywhere beverage enhancers. An alternative to alcohol, smoking, and vaping, Good Feels products have zero sugar, and zero calories and are flavored with essential oils from real fruit. Good Feels uses 100% renewable energy in its carbon-neutral facility. As a Massachusetts Minority Business Enterprise (MBE), Good Feels is committed to social equity and has a company minimum wage of $20/hour. Learn more about Good Feels products and values at getgoodfeels.com or follow us on Instagram, a...
Starting a disruptor event for Cannabis Brands and Retailers, MJ Unpacked, with Co-Founders George & Kim Jage
Being an entrepreneur is tough! Start that same business in Cannabis and it’s at least 10x more difficult. What about starting a business with your spouse as a co-founder and business partner? Maybe try to start an in-person events company a month before a global pandemic?
Yeah… George & Kim Jage have done all that. Still love each other! And after two events in Las Vegas and New York, they are onto something disruptive, and are returning to Las Vegas this September!
Kim is the energetically connected to the Universe type. Someone who would choose a college major to travel and understand the humans of this world better. She loves people, their energy, and sharing their passions. George is the stolen motorcycles, gas station weed, mushroom walks with undercover cops kind of guy, who unsurprisingly always got himself into trouble. In doing so he built a key skill of how to get out of it and that essential “make it work” drive that helped him start many successful businesses.
Following her passion for plant medicine, their meeting at a Tea expo George was running was predicted by Marcus, Kim’s naturopathic friend. The connection was immediate! The resulting story is how they came to start a journey as life and business partners, pandemics and all.
Please enjoy the founders journey of starting a disruptor event for Cannabis Brands and Retailers, MJ Unpacked, with co-founders George & Kim Jage
Kim Jage is an award-winning B2B brand developer and marketing executive. She is co-founder and chief marketing officer at Jage Media, as well as their affiliated cannabis CPG trade show, MJ Unpacked, and their media arm, MJ Brand Insights, which provides news and intel to cannabis industry professionals. Empathetic, energetic, and innovative, Kim is an expert in messaging and developing meaningful connections that build community and deliver return on investment. Prior to founding Jage Media and its properties, Kim was partner and vice president of sales & marketing at World Tea Media, director of sales & marketing at F+W Media, and president of Frost Jage Consulting. Under Kim’s leadership, World Tea Expo was three times named Fastest 50 by Tradeshow Week Magazine. Kim has won numerous awards in advertising and brand development. She was named Expo Elite by Expo Magazine in 2013. Kim holds a Bachelor in International Politics from Hofstra University and is a certified yogi trained under the guidance of acclaimed practitioner Annie Carpenter. She enjoys spending quality time with her family, photography, hiking, and traveling, extensively — Kim’s traveled to over 35 countries! For more information, please visit: https://www.jagemedia.com
George Jage is an award-winning event producer and media executive with nearly 3 decades of experience. He was a founding partner and lead executive for the Off-price Show (’93-’01) and World Tea Media (’02-’14. George entered the cannabis industry in 2014 as President of MJBizDaily and was the lead architect of MJBizCon from 2014 through 2017, scaling the event from 20 table tops to over 100,000 net sq ft of exhibits at the Las Vegas Convention Center. George went on to serve as CEO of Dope Media and lead the sale of company assets to High Times Holding Corp in 2018. In 2018, George launched an exclusive microcap event to help drive investment into the growing number of publicly traded cannabis companies. In his latest media play, George launched Jage Media in partnership with his wife, Kim Jage, to meet the needs of the market and provide focused events to the CPG brands and retailers driving the industry forward.
All it takes is a spark. MJ Unpacked is the first cannabis event of its kind that places passionate cannabis retailers and THC CPG...
Building a multi-state lifestyle cannabis brand, Higgs, with Founder & CEO, Oliver Higgins
For those of you looking to start, and scale, a cannabis brand, this episode is for you. This one is also for all of you that follow your passion and run! The details… well, they’ll just figure themselves out later. I love this guy, and this episode!
Serendipity is a funny thing. The Universe has a way of presenting in front of you exactly what you need. You liking it, or not, at the time is irrelevant. It’s October, 2021, a colleague and I are at a happy hour (reception) in Las Vegas hosted by a prospective vendor. As one does at a cocktail hour… you mingle. We start chatting with this guy who is all smiles, in that genuine, friendly, neighbor next door you’ve known for a few years kinda way. I really like his hat too. It’s this teal blue with pink script on it. As a lifelong East Coaster, it reminds me of 80’s Miami. He’s just chill.
Turns out, this friendly neighbor guy has a cannabis brand he’s been growing for a few years. Go figure! His hat, that I really like, is his brand. As we wait for the negroni's that never came, he shares his journey with us. While we work in the industry, my guest and I are long-time tech people; we're amazed how one actually starts a cannabis brand… on top of all that, without actually touching the plant. We come to find out in this interview, he did enough of that in his mom’s garage earlier in life. After University, he got into a few fashion startups too. It all goes to show, when you find your passions, lean into them, follow those veins, it will all eventually come together to something amazing you’re compelled to do and really good at.
Please enjoy our founders journey of building a multi-state cannabis lifestyle brand, Higgs, with Founder and CEO, Oliver Higgins.
Oliver founded Higgs in 2016 and has taken it from a small medical market brand in CA into a nationally recognized brand with operations in three states. Before founding Higgs, Oliver launched fashion brands, directed and produced music videos for his production company R.H. and worked for acclaimed writer/producer David Milch, involved in the creative and also overseeing production on multiple HBO series. He has deep roots in the cannabis industry as a cultivator for over a decade and was a part owner of an early Los Angeles dispensary before it was forced to close.
Higgs is always a good time. The color scheme is meant to bring you back to the early 90s and inspire that kind of feel-good raw energy that has shaped so many aspects of our culture.
“The only job you have as CEO is to raise money, hire good people, keep good people… and do on podcasts… and get your own podcasts.”
Top 5 Articles/Interview with our Guest:
A Proper High: Oliver Higgins, Higgs Pre-RollsAsk Growers: Grower Stories #63: OliverGreen Entrepreneur: How This Cannabis Brand Got Its Electrifying LookInvesting in Cannabis: Higgs and the Rise of Lifestyle Brandsa...
Starting Massachusetts first vertically integrated social equity cannabis operation, Trade Roots, with Co-Founder's Carl Giannone & "The Captain" Jesse Pitts
You're about to hear the story of two co-founders; one a social equity applicant from the legacy market, the other, a trader from New York who found the plant through the end of life care for his mother. From their love of early morning walks, complementary skillsets, and not freaking out on the same day, they have become the first vertically integrated social equity participant in Massachusetts.
There is A LOT to be said about Cannabis social equity programs across the Country. Many affected by Cannabis prohibition drug laws, with criminal records, don't have the
opportunities to earn the business acumen and financial resources needed to start such an organization in the legal market. This is a story of how this team did it!
Things you may learn in today's episode:
How NOT to transport a quarter of a million dollars in cash.How to choose a business partner.What a Wareham is.How to lose a physical building.How to fundraise. Hint: It's closer than you think.What a freezer war is and how to win it.The appropriate answer to the age of an instagram account of a 3 year old cannabis business.Finally, what a tremendous amount of patience and perseverance looks like.
One thing you will not learn: Throwing a cigarette butt on Mr T's lawn is a very bad idea. No one needs to learn that. We all pity that fool; especially Carl :)
Please enjoy our founders journey of starting Massachusetts first Vertically Integrated Social Equity Participant, Trade Roots, with Co-Founder's Carl Giannone & "The Captain" Jesse Pitts
Jesse Pitts: An experienced construction foreman and small business owner who has extensive knowledge of the building codes and amendments here in Massachusetts. A native to our host town, Jesse has deep roots within the community. With an enduring interest and passion for cannabis, Jesse has been a licensed medical cannabis patient and caregiver in Massachusetts since the inception of the program. He has vast experience in plant cultivation and has recently received a certification in advanced extraction technologies at Havelick & Associates LLC in Golden Colorado. Jesse co-founded The Center For Alternative Life Medicine (C.A.L.M.) out of New Bedford Ma. C.A.L.M. is a not-for-profit entity that was prepared to apply for a medical cannabis license in Ma. C.A.L.M. was acquired and merged with New England Treatment Access (N.E.T.A.) Jesse was a paid consultant and helped co-author N.E.T.A's application. This lead to the company being awarded two licenses. Jesse is a registered Social Equity Program (SEP) participant.
Carl Giannone: After graduating Lafayette College with degrees in Economics & Business, Carl began his career as an equities trader at Heartland Securities/Trillium Trading in 1999. After being promoted to trading desk manager and Registered Principal, Carl left to trade his own account with Schonfeld Securities before building his own desk, first under Assent LLC/Sungard (2006) and then T3 Capital Management/T3 Trading Group (2010). By 2014, his desk employed over 100 traders in two offices deploying myriad strategies across a range of asset classes. After 17 years of performing roles ranging from trader to risk manager to recruiter to brand manager, Carl left his trading desk (and Manhattan) to work as an independent outside recruiter for a large multinational proprietary trading firm while taking care of an ill parent. As a result of seeing the benefits of medical cannabis first hand (in moderating cancer symptoms), Carl shifted his focus from investments to cannabis. He has been quoted in Bloomberg and on CNBC as well as niche industry publications. He previously held his Series 7, 24, 55, 56, 62 and 63 licenses.
“Produced in Mass., not en masse.”
Dispense Co-Founder & CEO, Kyla Sirni
Today's guest started building a strong work ethic at the age of 12, and never stopped. Understanding she learned through work, it was fundamental that her choice in University had an emphasis on learning through action. She followed her interest in event production to a premier events company in Boston, producing high-end events like a Super Bowl Ring Ceremony at the team owner's house. It was in her time managing Boston's most select night clubs that she noticed a gap; The Ultra Premium club life was Ultra antiquated in how they managed guest bookings. To solve that, she co-founded TabelList to modernize Night Club and event reservations. They soon expanded Nationally, and beyond the club too, landing the most Ultra Premium event of 2017... Fyre Fest! Wow! You may have seen the documentaries, but facing $3.5M in chargebacks! Just Wow! Following that, she took over as CEO, and with 4 others stayed to rebuild the decimated company. Just as things were growing again, she lost her Mom to Cancer. This was all just before COVID hit, shutting down every nightclub and event in the World.
A call came in from an old contact from Boston, who needed help managing the growing queues at their dispensaries during Covid. Could their software help? Bring hospitality to Cannabis, please enjoy the Founder's Journey of Kyla Sirni, Co-Founder & CEO of Dispense.
Kyla (Moore) Sirni is the Co-Founder & CEO of Dispense, an e-commerce and order management software for cannabis dispensaries. Before Dispense, Kyla worked for nearly two decades in the hospitality industry, planning prestigious events for high-profile clients and managing several nightlife venues. In 2013, experiencing firsthand the lack of technology and tools available for venue operators, Kyla Co-Founded Tablelist, a ticketing, reservations, and guest management software that is now being used in 50+ cities worldwide. When hospitality shut down because of COVID 19, Kyla saw an opportunity to utilize her experience and the Tablelist infrastructure to bring a hospitality-driven, customer-centric software to help retailers in the cannabis industry.
Dispense is B2B e-commerce software focused on providing cannabis dispensaries with the technology and tools they need to sell products online, manage operations, build direct customer relationships, and scale their businesses.
Playland ParkRafanelli EventsTabelistAbner Kurtin, Ascend WellnessNextView VenturesEmily Paxhia, Patrick Rea, Poseidon Asset ManagementDispense
Top 5 Articles/Interview with our Guest:
Ticket Vendor Tablelist Sues Fyre Festival Organizers for $3.5 Milliona...
CanopyBoulder Co-Founder, Patrick Rea
One of the hardest things for driven people to do, is to learn when to adapt and persevere and when to move on. Today’s guest shares a few stories about how he learned those lessons.
As a young kid, he found an early passion for Soccer. It wasn’t tallent alone though, he put in the work; hours on the field in practice. Through the sport, he learned a lot about himself; he liked to see and understand the big picture. The perfect spot to get that view was Goalie!
That dedication and commitment eventually turned into Olympic prep, which further led to an invite to the Ivy League to play at Brown! On Senior day, his parents drove 14 hours to see their son play; only to see him on the bench, in favor of a younger, taller, Freshman Goalie. He was gutted. Contemplating leaving the team, he reached out to an athlete friend for guidance; the advice was simple, talk to the coach, see what he could do, needed to do, to be on and in the team. Received well, he followed that guidance, did his part, and was eventually rewarded with opportunity when the team needed him.
A number of years into professional life, working in the natural products industry, he was given a huge promotion from managing 1 line of business to 15. The workload was crushing. Days stretched into weeks, and into months. He came home every night drained. It was literally killing him. With a Mortgage, Wife, and two daughters, a driven person doesn’t just quit, but, as he noted, "If you can't take care of yourself, you can't take care of anyone else". For him and his family, he needed to find the right vein for him.
With a background in startups, investing and mentoring, a slight pivot from Natural Supplements to the nascent Cannabis Industry was his next eon. With the synergies and success that followed, it proved to be the correct choice with the huge impact his company has had on the Cannabis Industry.
Please enjoy the Founders Journey of Patrick Rea, Co-Founder of CanopyBoulder.
In 2013, Patrick founded CanopyBoulder, a seed-stage, mentorship-driven business accelerator and investment fund focused on data, fintech, software, and IoT in the cannabis industry as well as hemp/CBD businesses. At CanopyBoulder, Patrick raised five accelerator funds and invested in 115 companies in the cannabis industry.
Prior to CanopyBoulder, Patrick spent 15 years in the natural products industry in roles including M&A, strategic management consulting, venture finance, B2B media, e-commerce, CEO coaching, and entrepreneur mentorship.
For five years, Patrick was a consistent presence on The Arcview Group’s selection committee and in 2014 acted as Executive Editor for ArcView’s State of the Legal Marijuana Market report. He frequently runs panels at industry events, and has served as a judge for multiple Marijuana Business Conference & Expo Pitch Slams.
Patrick graduated with two degrees from Brown University where he played Division I soccer, and resides in Boulder, Colorado with his wife and two daughters. Patrick embraces all that Colorado has to offer to build relationships with his investors and portfolio CEOs, often inviting them to join him trail running, hiking, mountain biking, and snowboarding in the foothills outside of Boulder.
CanopyBoulder is the leading business accelerator in the cannabis industry. Founded in 2013, CanopyBoulder supports seed-stage cannabis startups through investment and a structured business accelerator program. Since its founding, CanopyBoulder has invested in 115 startups, launching companies like BDSA, Wurk, Front Range Biosciences, HappyCabbage and PotGuide into the cannabis industry.
Techstars Boulder Acceleratora...
Watch Out Guy Raz
This show is like, “How I Built This” for Cannabis Industry! These thoughtful, in-depth interviews with proven leaders in the legal cannabis market are incredible. Even when I’m not familiar with the entrepreneur being interviewed I’m enthralled. Please continue to produce this show!
Cannabis Entrepreneur stories
The scope of talent in the cannabis industry is amazing as well as the continually emerging ancillary businesses that provide so much opportunity for the cannabis entrepreneur. I enjoy listening to such entrepreneurs share their stories on the Lit Up Podcast.
The TED of Cannabis
This is such an inspirational and great cannabis and entrepreneur podcast!