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Cornbread Hemp’s Big Win with Equity Crowdfunding
In the last MetroStart podcast, we talked to Cornbread Hemp's Jim Higdon about their ongoing equity crowdfunding round.
This week, we talk to Jim again about how they knocked it out of the park - nailing an oversubscribed $107,000 round in just 17 days!
Listen to the podcast to learn how they were so successful, even in the middle of the Coronavirus shutdown.
Podcast Transcript (This is machine transcribed, so please forgive the typos.)
Welcome everyone to the MetroStart podcast. This is Alan Grosheider and I'm here today again with Jim Higdon. Jim is the co founder of Cornbread Hemp ,and it's a first for Metrostart because I'm interviewing Jim for the second time in a row. So it's the first time I've ever interviewed the same person twice right in a row. And there's a good reason for that. In the last podcast we talked about a capital raise that a cornbread hemp was going through and what was the first, because they received $20,000 from Render Capital and they were the first to be accepted into we funders special program with render capital for a discounted rate with we funder and they were doing a capital raise and I won't spoil the surprise but uh, about what happened cause we'll talk about it but Hey Jim. Okay, great to have you back again. And I guess we'll go ahead and say what it is and congratulations because Jim and Cornbread Hemp, they just finished a fund raise on Wefunder and raised the full amount in, what was it, two weeks?
It was 17 days.
Wow and in the middle of the coronavirus thing,
Right in April of 2020.
Crazy. But it's a, it's a great sign of what's going on with crowdfunding. Crowdfunding. Equity crowd funding is a really good way to raise capital for your company. Even in tough times. Probably an easier way during tough times if it's a product that people like and people can identify with. Um, so quickly, just, just so in case somebody is listening to this podcast and didn't listen to the other one, tell a little bit about what corn bread hemp is.
Sure. So cornbread hip is a CBD brand based here, Louisville, Kentucky, where the first Kentucky based CBD brand to offer USPA certified organic CBD oils, which is how we kind of got out of the, uh, out of the norm brands and really elevated ourselves to a national level. Um, we've been, uh, we've been offering certified organic CBD products since, uh, the end of last year. Uh, and, um, we had been plotting several different fundraising strategies last year and nothing really clicked. A Louisville is a particular sort of, uh, you know, ecosystem, uh, for capital and fundraising. Um, and so at the beginning of the year we decided to shift gears and pursue a crowd funding strategy. Equity crowd funding was new to me, a learn. Most of my beginning, uh, understanding of crowd was through talking to you and some of these other folks in the Louisville startup community. Um, I was familiar with a Kickstarter and go fund me and Patrion, but none of those are pro, uh, platforms that, that sell equity, uh, in a, in a crowdfunding capacity.
So understanding the mechanics of what equity crowd funding would look like is something that I had to learn on the fly and we put these pieces together and we were ready to go. Um, in March, uh, we were going to go on another platform and someone in the Louisville startup community, actually, Larry Horn at leap said, told us, Hey, did you know about this matching fund between render and we funder. Um, and we didn't. So we switch gears and replatform I'm really in the Nick of time. Um, and um, it just really set us up for success. Uh, we got that Mmm relationship between render and we funder, um,
Louisville’s Cornbread Hemp Scores a Startup Fundraising First
Louisville's Cornbread Hemp just scored a local fundraising first. They're the first company to receive Render Capital's $20,000 investment in their WeFunder Match Fund.
They're also the first local company to raise funds using Regulation CF equity crowdfunding through WeFunder, one of the nation's top equity crowdfunding portals.
Equity crowdfunding is the way of the future for startup companies, and Cornbread Hemp is blazing the trail in the Louisville area.
In this episode of the MetroStart podcast, learn:
--- how Cornbread hemp got started;
--- what they learned about equity crowdfunding;
--- the pros and cons of equity crowdfunding;
--- pitfalls to avoid; and
--- how to make equity crowdfunding successful.
Transcript (This has been machine transcribed, so there may be some typos.)
Welcome everybody to the MetroStart podcast. I'm Alan Grosheider, and today I'm talking to Jim Higdon. He's a cofounder of Cornbread Hemp Company, and we've been talking about raising capital and what he did to get his company started for a little while. And I've been trying to give him any experience that I could and what I've learned in raising capital. And he is hot in the middle of doing a regulation CF crowdfunding capital raise on Wefunder. So we thought it was a good, a good time for us to talk, to help others learn the process that he went through to get his company started and, and what he's doing to raise capital. Hey Jim?
Uh, Hey. Thanks for, thanks for having me. It's really, this is really great.
Yeah. So just, just for recording our thoughts right now, we're, we're right in the middle of all the coronavirus stuff and everybody's on lockdown and staying home. So it's, it's a really weird, interesting time.
Yeah. It's a strange time to be running a business and raising capital. It really kind of afraid about, uh, you know, how this was, you know, obviously you and I had been talking about Cornbread Hemp and us raising capital for six months now or so. Um, and so this is not an, not a new thing for us, but as we finally got our legs under us and finally figured out the path forward and how to do a reg CF crowd fund and, and, and, and to find the right platform for our crowd fund, uh, all these things took a little time and as soon as we got everything lined up ready to go, that here here comes a global pandemic, you know, not something that we anticipated dealing with obviously. Um, but you know, doing a quick heat check on ourselves and our company, we really feel like we're a company of the moment. Uh, we were getting reviews from customers saying that our products help them with the anxiety they're feeling as a result of social distancing, uh, related to the coronavirus. And it's just a really, um, it's a really good time too to be, I'm trying to grow a company that is helpful in this situation.
Yeah, I think there's, there, there are a few industries that are going to do pretty well. You know, my day job is a company called Bluetooth 22 that helps companies manage remote employees and manage remote contractors. And it looks like it's actually going to be something that is a good thing in this weird economy where people can't travel.
So we're, or the travel is certainly going to be deemphasized and all alternatives are going to, are going to be looked at first.
Right. So let's talk about how you got the company started and maybe maybe a little bit of back about your background first. Where did you grow up in the Louisville area?
I grew up in Lebanon, which is Marion County,
Louisville Entrepreneur Steven Plappert Back in the Startup Game
Steven Plappert and two co-founders, Andrew Busa and Chris Pierce, started an online fantasy sports company in 2013 called FantasyHub. The company saw early promise and growth, moved to Austin, TX to join the TechStars accelerator program, and even attracted $1.1 million in investments. However, due to issues in the industry as a whole, FantasyHub eventually shut down and sold parts of their operations to another fantasy sports company called DraftKings.
In the world of startup companies, you learn more from being in the game than you ever could from reading any books or even earning an MBA. So, the experience was a fantastic learning opportunity. Steven is now back in Louisville, sharing his experience with our local startup community. He's also back in the game with a new startup called Forecastr.
In this episode of the MetroStart podcast, learn how Steven got started as an entrepreneur, how he funded his previous company, and what he has learned from his entrepreneurial journey. Also learn what's happening with his new startup and where they're going.
Transcript (Machine transcribed, so please forgive the typos.)
Alan: 00:02 Hey everybody. Welcome to the MetroStart podcast. This is Alan Grosheider. On this podcast I talk to local entrepreneurs about how they got started, about their ups and downs, and about anything else that might help other entrepreneurs. Today I'm talking to Steven Plappert. He started a company a while back called FantasyHub, and he's currently the CFO and in business development for a company called VentureFirst, and is building another startup called forecaster. Hey, Steven.
Steven: 00:28 Hey Alan. How's it going?
Alan: 00:30 Good. Does that, did I say everything right there? I said, is that accurate?
Steven: 00:34 Sorry, I'm, I'm not the CFO of venture first. I'm in the finance department, so I do operate as an outsourced, uh, head of finance or CFO for a lot of our client companies, but not a venture first proper.
Alan: 00:46 I got you.
Steven: 00:46 Other than that, you've got it perfect.
Alan: 00:48 I understand. Did I say Plappert right? You did. You did. All right. Everybody butchers, my last name is pronounced "Gross - Hider", not "Gro - Shider" you know, so I'm used to, so anyway, let's talk about kind of how you got started. I love finding out what people, you know, when people kind of got the entrepreneurial bug. And I'm always interested in finding out what, what got you started at a young age. Were you entrepreneurial as a kid?
Steven: 01:19 Yeah, I'd say so. I was definitely entrepreneurial is that give, but I don't think I used that term or knew that I was, if that was, you know, I mean I, I was very curious. Uh, I was always very independent. I was kind of uh, do my own thing kind of guy. And I always asked a lot of questions. So I think at a basic level that's kind of the entrepreneurial mindset, you know, you want to asking questions, solving problems, being kind of a self starter. Um, and actually my father was an entrepreneur and still today as he's owned his own business for the last 20 years, uh, somewhat paradoxical. I didn't really view him as an entrepreneur because again, I would, didn't really have a lot of exposure to that world. So I didn't really see him as a, as a founder, if you will.
Steven: 01:59 I just saw him as I just said, hey, you know, I Know Dad dad's got his own thing. Uh, but that's all I really, really thought about. And, uh, when I went into, when I went into college, actually wasn't planning on starting my own business at all. I wasn't even on my radar. Uh, I was always kind of a math nerd growing up and that was always my forte. So when I went into college I was like, well, you know, I'm good at math and I want to make a good money so you know,
Louisville Startup is an Implantable Healthcare Pioneer
People often cite healthcare as an area of expertise that may help propel Louisville, KY to greater startup and business prominence in the United States, and Dr. Angelique Johnson is helping us make that happen.
She holds undergraduate degrees in mathematics and in computer engineering, a masters in electrical engineering, and a PhD in electrical engineering. Her doctoral work lead her to the development of technologies that she now applies in her own company called MEMStim.
To quote directly from their website: "At MEMStim we produce implantable electrode leads capable of providing targeted electrical stimulation to highly dense and small nerve fiber groups. Using automated Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) manufacturing similar to that of the micro-computer chip industry, we create biocompatible electrode leads, which, just like computers, can be made smaller, and do much more than their hand-assembled counterparts."
The website also notes that, "We are an early stage startup dedicated to enhancing the full lives of individuals with Parkinson’s tremors, chronic pain, or hearing loss."
So, Elon Musk is not the only guy out there creating implants! Learn how Dr. Johnson got started and how she is helping to put Louisville on the high tech healthcare map.
How This Louisville Company Makes Online Food Ordering Better
After years of working in the corporate world, Mo Sloan saw a need. Online ordering systems that were available to restaurants had a glaring problem. They do not integrate with the restaurant's current point-of-sale systems. This causes many restaurants to forego offering any sort of online ordering, even though the demand is very high.
Mo set out to create a solution: EZ-Chow. The company found early traction and is growing fast.
Entrepreneurs like Mo are a great example of how the "Third Wave" of growth of the Internet is happening. Specifically, people like Mo with industry experience are spotting problems and creating solutions with current technology.
Learn how Mo saw the opportunity, how he got started, and where EZ-Chow is headed in this MetroStart podcast interview.
How Has Y-Combinator Boosted Louisville’s WeatherCheck
What single Louisville company is part of the same fraternity as Airbnb and Dropbox? It's a company called WeatherCheck, and they now are an alumnus of the prestigious Silicon Valley accelerator Y-Combinator. They're the first and only Y-Combinator company to date from Kentucky!
Demetrius Gray, Founder of WeatherCheck, and Co-Founder Jermaine Watkins recently returned from their 4-month stint with the accelerator, and it has proven to be an amazing accelerator for their company.
In this podcast, I have an in-depth conversation with Demetrius and learned:
◊ more about his background and how he became and entrepreneur,
◊ how WeatherCheck got started and raised early seed capital,
◊ how they got into Y-Combinator,
◊ what they learned from Y-Combinator that can apply to our startup community, and
◊ where they're headed.
This is a must-listen podcast for our startup community and aspiring entrepreneurs.
Transcript (This was machine transcribed. Please forgive the typos.)
Alan: 00:00:01 Hi everybody. Welcome to the MetroStart podcast. This is Alan Grosheider, and today I'm interviewing Demetrius Gray. He's a founder of WeatherCheck and the first Louisville area company to, I think. right Demetrius, ever get into Y-Combinator?
Demetrius: 00:00:18 Yeah, man. The first actually in the state of Kentucky. Wow. Yeah. Yeah. That's, wow.
Alan: 00:00:25 That's pretty amazing because that's one of those, if you're an entrepreneur, you've heard of y Combinator and you've heard of Airbnb and I guess Dropbox and some of the big companies that have gone through y Combinator. So congratulations man. That's amazing.
Demetrius: 00:00:39 Man. It was, it was a heck of an experience. I mean we, uh, we were out there for like three months and I'm like, I'm just telling you, you know, I'm out there still once a month for about a week at a time and um, it's been really cool to kind of, um, build a little bit of a bridge to the bay area, um, with a heck of a lot of access.
Alan: 00:01:02 Yeah. And I think I'm excited because it seems like that access is going to be good for other companies in our area, since you guys are pretty tied into the startup community. And in fact, you know, you and I have, have, have some combined founders and, and you know, I, hopefully it's going to be good for the whole startup community. It's those connections kind of take off. Okay. All right, well why don't we start, let's kind of get an idea about, I like to find out what got somebody started being an entrepreneur and it seems like there's a lot of common common denominators that, you know, got somebody that made somebody want to be an entrepreneur. So I'm just curious, you know, about growing up and what got, what made you want to be an entrepreneur? Would you do, what was your, your childhood like were you an entrepreneur as a kid? Those sorts of things.
Demetrius: 00:01:54 Yeah. So, um, so you've heard of the Book Rich Dad, Poor Dad? Yeah, I probably will eventually write a book called Black Dad White Dad.
Alan: 00:02:06 Okay.
Demetrius: 00:02:08 Um, my mother actually married a, um, petroleum engineer, white guy from, um, uh, central California, um, Stanford educated, um, petroleum engineer. Um, his, his, his father actually had invented the horizontal drill, um, for the oil and gas industry, which really kind of, um, opened my world. And then, um, my, uh, grandmother on that side, um, her father had invented a form of die casting, um, called Granger's. Dot Casting and southern California. And so, um, it was really my first sort of foray into entrepreneurship, having watched to them I'm running oil and gas proliferation company, um, that was eventually sold to Halliburton. Um, then, uh, before that, um, then watching my, my great grandfather Harlow's,