26 episodes

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.

Lit Up Founders Lit Up Media

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 15 Ratings

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.

    Starting a disruptor event for Cannabis Brands and Retailers, MJ Unpacked, with Co-Founders George & Kim Jage

    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 and 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 and Kim Jage
    Professional Summary:
    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 and marketing at World Tea Media, director of sales and 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/ ( 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.

    Company Summary:
    All it takes is a spark. MJ Unpacked is the first cannabis event of its kind that places passionate cannabis retailers and THC CPG brands at the center of it all, with unique opportunities to connect, collaborate and access capital. In a newly imagined format, executives are free to learn...

    • 1 hr 33 min
    Building a multi-state lifestyle cannabis brand, Higgs, with Founder & CEO, Oliver Higgins

    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.
    Professional Summary:
    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.
    Company Summary:
    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.

    Show Notes:
    https://www.chinesecigarettes.com/p/baisha-harmonization-hard-cigarette/ (Harmonization)

    “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:
    https://aproperhigh.com/articles/oliver-higgins-higgs-pre-rolls (A Proper High: Oliver Higgins, Higgs Pre-Rolls)
    https://askgrowers.com/blog/higgs-interview (Ask Growers: Grower Stories #63: Oliver)
    https://www.greenentrepreneur.com/article/350372 (Green Entrepreneur: How This Cannabis Brand Got Its Electrifying Look)
    https://podcasts.apple.com/in/podcast/higgs-and-the-rise-of-lifestyle-brands/id1019329372?i=1000449128365 (Investing in Cannabis: Higgs and the Rise of Lifestyle Brands)
    https://floodmagazine.com/60144/venice-beach-celebrates-4-20-with-buds-on-rose/ (Flood Magazine: Venice Beach Celebrates 4/20 with “Buds on Rose”)

    Oliver Higgins, Founder and CEO, Higgs
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/oliver-higgins-020618183/ (https://www.linkedin.com/in/oliver-higgins-020618183/)
    https://www.instagram.com/higgs/ (https://www.instagram.com/higgs/)
    Brian Weber, Producer and Host, Lit Up: A Founder's Journey
    https://gate.sc/?url=http%3A%2F%2Flinkedin.com%2Fin%2Fbriancweber%2Fandtoken=28b5d8-1-1588183725269 (linkedin.com/in/briancweber)...

    • 1 hr 2 min
    Starting Massachusetts first vertically integrated social equity cannabis operation, Trade Roots, with Co-Founder's Carl Giannone & "The Captain" Jesse Pitts

    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 and "The Captain" Jesse Pitts
    Professional Summary:
    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 and 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 and 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.
    Company Summary:
    “Produced in Mass., not en masse.” As an artisanal purveyor of "Craft Cannabis at The Gateway to Cape Cod," Wareham-based Trade Roots is a locally-owned, operated, and staffed business...

    • 1 hr 25 min
    Dispense Co-Founder & CEO, Kyla Sirni

    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 and CEO of Dispense.
    Professional Summary:
    Kyla (Moore) Sirni is the Co-Founder and 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.
    Company Summary:
    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.
    Show Notes:
    https://playlandpark.org/ (Playland Park)
    https://www.rafanellievents.com/ (Rafanelli Events)
    https://www.tablelist.com/ (Tabelist)
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/abner-kurtin-78b8b66b/ (Abner Kurtin), https://awholdings.com/ (Ascend Wellness)
    https://nextviewventures.com/ (NextView Ventures)
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/emilypaxhia (Emily Paxhia), https://www.linkedin.com/in/reapatrick/ (Patrick Rea), https://www.poseidonassetmanagement.com/ (Poseidon Asset Management)
    https://www.dispenseapp.com/ (Dispense)

    Top 5 Articles/Interview with our Guest:
    https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-news/ticket-vendor-tablelist-sues-fyre-festival-organizers-for-3-5-million-121409/ (Ticket Vendor Tablelist Sues Fyre Festival Organizers for $3.5 Million)
    https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20200128005200/en/Miami-Party-Organizers-Select-Tablelist-as-Event-Operations-Partner-to-Streamline-Guest-Experience-for-the-Big-Game (Miami Party Organizers Select Tablelist as Event Operations Partner to Streamline Guest Experience for the Big Game)

    Kyla Sirni, Co-Founder and CEO of Dispense
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/kylamoore/ (https://www.linkedin.com/in/kylamoore/)
    https://www.dispenseapp.com (https://www.dispenseapp.com)
    https://www.facebook.com/dispenseapp (https://www.facebook.com/dispenseapp)
    https://www.instagram.com/dispense_app (https://www.instagram.com/dispense_app)
    https://twitter.com/dispense_app (https://twitter.com/dispense_app)
    https://www.linkedin.com/company/dispenseapp (https://www.linkedin.com/company/dispenseapp)
    Brian Weber,...

    • 1 hr 14 min
    CanopyBoulder Co-Founder, Patrick Rea

    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.
    Professional Summary:
    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 MandA, 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 and 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.
    Company Summary:
    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.
    Show Notes:
    https://www.techstars.com/accelerators/boulder (Techstars Boulder Accelerator)
    https://www.linkedin.com/in/troy-dayton-850a0a21/ (Troy Dayton), Founder, https://arcviewgroup.com/ (The Arcview Group)

    • 1 hr 11 min
    Colton Griffin, Co-Founder & CEO, Flourish Software

    Colton Griffin, Co-Founder & CEO, Flourish Software

    Taking full advantage of every opportunity; both the apparent and the hidden, is the best way I can sum up our guest’s founder's Journey.
    Growing up in rural Tennessee, he enjoyed all the nature, and freedom, country life had to offer.
    At the age of 14, he was identified by a teacher for a life changing opportunity, nominating him for a scholarship to boarding school, vastly opening up his world.
    In a biodiesel project, our guest discovered a passion for engineering early. It was a first step in following his passion for solving complex problems. A career day presentation from a global executive at UT solidified his focus on Industrial Engineering.
    Recruited into a consulting firm, his very first day onsite was training seasoned executives on their Supply Chain software at a client called you may have heard of: Nike.
    He learned to Just Do It!
    His journey solving complex global business problems progressed from consulting, to in-house, eventually starting his own consulting practice.
    During a trip out to California to meet with a potential client, the vendor never showed. Chatting while they waited, their solution sounded like maybe it could work for a friend of one of the attendees, who happened to be a Cannabis Grow Operation. After a listening tour, and review of the marketplace, they saw the HUGE opportunity! In March, 2017 they pivoted and dived full into Cannabis. They have since grown the company to a full seed-to-sale software, helping to drive some amazing success stories of their own.
    Please enjoy the Founders Journey of Colton Griffin, Co-Founder and CEO of Flourish Software.
    Professional Summary:
    Colton is the Co-Founder and CEO of Flourish Software, a leading supply chain management and seed to sale tracking software solution for the cannabis, CBD, and hemp verticals. Prior to Flourish, Colton was a consultant at Manhattan Associates, a market leader in best-of-breed supply chain software. There he specialized in business intelligence and data analytics for supply chain applications, helping dozens of companies optimize their operations. He moved onto Genuine Parts Company (Fortune #177) where he built and managed a reporting platform deployed to dozens of distribution centers as well as corporate inventory optimization and trade management systems. He started a consulting practice focused on this discipline and ultimately founded a startup to build a SaaS analytics platform for distribution center operations. Flourish was born from this endeavor. He graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville with a BS in Industrial Engineering.
    Company Summary:
    Flourish Software is a leading technology provider of enterprise supply chain and inventory management software built for the cannabis, CBD and hemp industries. Flourish currently serves cultivators, manufacturers, processors, wholesalers, distributors and retailers. Flourish is integrated with state compliance systems, so cannabis operators remain compliant while they capture critical business data, operate more efficiently, track product from seed to sale, and leverage advanced analytics. Flourish Software was founded in 2017 and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.
    Top 5 Articles/Interview with our Guest:
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/warrenbobrow/2020/08/23/5-questions-with-colton-griffin-ceo-of-flourish-software/?sh=2512e3cb72fc (https://www.forbes.com/sites/warrenbobrow/2020/08/23/5-questions-with-colton-griffin-ceo-of-flourish-software/?sh=2512e3cb72fc)
    https://www.benzinga.com/markets/cannabis/20/08/17207974/flourish-software-ceo-reveals-the-key-to-being-relevant-and-successful-post-legalization (https://www.benzinga.com/markets/cannabis/20/08/17207974/flourish-software-ceo-reveals-the-key-to-being-relevant-and-successful-post-legalization)
    How Cannabis Could be the Model for the Modern Supply Chain: https://supplychainnow.com/episode-618/ (https://supplychainnow.com/episode-618/)
    Co-founder and CEO...

    • 1 hr 11 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
15 Ratings

15 Ratings

N-tac ,

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.

RosieM981 ,

The TED of Cannabis

This is such an inspirational and great cannabis and entrepreneur podcast!

KrisScudNYC ,

Cannabis, entrepreneurs and their stories: I love this show!

This show takes you on a journey throughout the life of a cannabis entrepreneur. The host goes back to the beginning with each guest to give the audience a true understanding of what makes these entrepreneurs tick and the “ah ha” moments that changed their careers. At the end of each show I want to know more and look forward to the next episode. This is a must listen for anyone interested in personal journeys, business creation/development or the cannabis industry movers and shakers.