11 May MassRoots Rejection By TechCrunch – CannaStigma Or Something Else?
As the Co-Founder & Managing Director of CanopyBoulder, the industry’s first business accelerator, I feel qualified to comment on this one. We’re working with 10 start-ups in ancillary products and services right now.
It’s a shame and disappointment that TechCrunch didn’t select MassRoots. Isaac and Dan are impressive and bright guys. Doug Leighton has a knack for picking smart entrepreneurs and structuring great returns. MassRoots will likely be a leader in the cannabis industry for some time and I’m excited to see what they do next.
I was somewhat surprised when Isaac & Dan told me they were headed to TechCrunch in NYC after ArcView. They have certainly achieved more than many others in the cannabis industry, and are viewed as leaders and successful within the cannabis industry. It’s never fun to feel rejected.
However, I’ll guess that MassRoot’s 325,000 registered users for a consumer web/app platform didn’t impress the TechCrunch committee. And what % are regular users? More transparent data is needed here and I Isaac and Dan to be more open with their user stats. As I like to say, there are no more secrets with the Internet. Everything is just a click (or two) away.
In the CanopyBoulder accelerator, we have a web business start-up that garners nearly 250,000 unique users every month to their site ColoradoPotGuide.com, and we’re driving them to crack 1M as soon as possible by expanding into other states ASAP. Quite simply, 250,000 isn’t enough for us, and it won’t be for investors, even though we use MassRoots 325,000 as an industry benchmark.
Additionally, we all know that the finance road to riches is a well worn path. Deviating from this path makes you exceptional, but not in the way most want to be exceptional.
Seed to Angel to VC to PE to IPO or Strategic acquisition is what investors like and expect to see. Deviation from this path generates logical and emotional alarm. Investors, media, and partners will have questions, and as an investor in the cannabis industry, I’m not looking to add questions about atypical finance machinations to the existing list.
Of course, there are limited options for raising capital in the cannabis industry and “going public” can make your investment more appealing to some investors, especially those looking for quick liquidity, but being public is a DRAG…just ask any of the publicly traded cannabis companies. The rule of thumb when I entered finance (1997) was that without revenues of $50M or more, you shouldn’t go public. Today the number is much higher.
And TechCrunch has an audience and brand to serve. Like so many established companies out there, they must ask themselves, “Are we ready to bring on cannabis?” It only takes one big investor, thought leader, advertiser or sponsor to say “No” for the answer to be “no” to MassRoots. Not everyone is a pioneer and visionary, so we can’t expect everyone to share our pioneer spirit and bravado.
So there’s a couple of questions “beyond cannabis” that could be considered…if we’re all being honest.
In the end, it could just be “cannastigma” and if so, that’s unfortunate.
We must reject this cannastigma and work to fight it every day. It’s a war with many battles, and thanks to the achievements of MassRoots, Dutchess Capital and many others (including The ArcView Group & CanopyBoulder) we will prevail.