Pitch Deck: Top 10 Finalists
Wide Range of Submissions for New York Cannabis Pitch Deck Competition
From the numerous and competitive range of submissions, the judges selected the Top 10 cannabis entrepreneurs to move to the next phase.
Ownership of these proposed businesses includes minority, justice involved, and women-owned groups that bring a range of ages, backgrounds, and diversity. The Top 10 include groups that are led by two brothers, a wife/husband duo, and groups of lifelong friends who share a common vision.
Team members of these groups range from business-savvy to business hopeful. Further dispelling stigma and stereotypes, they bring these varied professional backgrounds: chef, teacher, engineer, flight attendant, athletes, real estate property manager, tech, media, food service, finance, marketing, fashion, beauty, attorney, physician, regulated and legacy market operators, hemp farmers, small business entrepreneurs, and operations and logistics experts.
Their business plans include license pursuit across dispensary, cultivation, and processor/manufacturing (extraction and infusion), and distributor types with locations ranging from Oneida County and Rensselaer County to Harlem, South Bronx, Brooklyn, and the Upper East Side of NYC. Their target audiences range from first-time users and tourists to urban athletes, socially-conscious consumers from underrepresented communities, and the high-end connoisseur.
With their varied scope and capital requirements, their funding needs range from $55,000 to $5 million.
Some finalists have asked to remain anonymous until their businesses are farther along, but we can share details of these five of the Top 10 now:
A dispensary in the South Bronx founded by a woman of color that focuses on BIPOC and women-led brands. The vision of Compact Comforts is to provide quality products and a better understanding of Cannabis as a whole to new and experienced users while shining a light on brands from women and communities of color. Long term we aim to contribute to an informed and equitable cannabis market nationwide through education, advocacy, and combatting stigmas.
Founded by two brothers from East Asia who have a brand that is already established in Oregon and want to expand to the New York market. They both went to business school in Albany and want to base their operation in the Hudson River Valley. Grasse products are solvent-less flower and other products using extraction methods from Grasse, France, the perfume capital of the world. The product line also gives a nod to their family’s history of making biri in India. The brothers are passionate about ending the stigma around cannabis by highlighting the rich history & culture in South East Asia.
High Society NYC
A cannabis lifestyle brand specializing in chef-driven edible production, located in Queens County, New York City. Founded by five friends, the group is partially minority and woman-owned and is made up of highly successful business leaders with proven success in producing cannabis edibles, running small businesses, building a marketing empire, managing a billion-dollar financial budget and strategy, and implementing operational efficiencies and cost controls. Collectively, they bring a relentless pursuit to create the best cannabis brand, we are on a journey to help destigmatize cannabis in today’s society. Their goal is to build a community centered around embracing the individual, inclusion, and acceptance.
Rage and Release
A conscious lifestyle brand that curates elevated fitness and wellness events for the body, mind, and soul. The founders are pioneers in bridging the gap between cannabis and fitness ahead of legalization, including showcasing athletic recovery through cannabis. With a flagship wellness space in Brooklyn, they will cater to the urban athlete and active everyday people to heal the beating the city can put upon their audience mentally, physically, and spiritually. Community-focused and minority-owned, their vision is breaking barriers to wellness by making it more accessible to those who need its benefits in their lives. Their story was recently featured in Runner’s World.
A justice- and minority-owned dispensary that will focus on retailing premium cannabis flower and processed derivatives. The partners are long-time friends who bring extensive cannabis backgrounds along with legal, restaurant ownership, and operating experience. Their vision is about transparent, fair-trade, and lab-tested premium products. With a goal of sourcing at least 50% of their supply from women- and minority-owned providers, Whitebox will showcase the stories, origin, and passion behind their suppliers.
Update: May 3
Because of the close competition, the Pitch Deck judges selected five top finalists to present live in NYC on May 18 instead of the originally-planned Top 3.
The Top 5 who will present in the final round are (in alphabetical order):
Compact Comforts, Grasse, High Society NYC, WhiteboxTHC, and a Brooklyn dispensary concept that wishes to remain behind the scenes at this time.
Stay tuned to find out who takes the top place.