New Cannabis Investor Dashboard Service for Public Canadian LPs

This month marked the 3rd anniversary of 420 Investor, which launched weeks after the famous Sanjay Gupta reversal in August 2013 and just a few months before the explosion in cannabis stocks following the opening of retail cannabis stores in Colorado, a move that will likely never be replicated. The past 2 1/2 years since the peak in March 2014 have been quite challenging, as the market conditions have not been favorable and the public sector hasn't really evolved as I had hoped. There have been a few exceptions, one of which has been the Canadian LPs. Frankly, without having identified this opportunity early and having been loud about it with our community, 420i might not have made it to where we are today.

A little over a year ago, Joel and I launched New Cannabis Ventures, and it has rapidly become one of the leading business-focused industry websites. As I indicated at the time of our launch, I expected that my efforts there would not interfere with the service at 420i, and I believe that not only has that been the case but also that it has also enhanced my contributions here by making me better informed about and connected to the industry. I know that many of you are huge fans of NCV, and I appreciate that support.

While it took a while to get traction with advertisers as we developed our content and built our service offering, NCV has helped many clients connect with investors, B2B customers, strategic partners and the media. Prior to today, we had a policy of not working with public companies in order to minimize any potential conflicts of interest with 420i. With this change in policy, I want to explain why we have begun to work in a very narrow way with public companies, what exactly we are doing (see video for a tour), and how things will be largely the same going forward at 420i.

NCV has become one of the leading sources of information about the Canadian cannabis industry, and I remain very bullish long-term on the LPs. We took on Emblem Health (then KindCann) as a client in May, knowing that we would have to drop them as a client without changing our policy if they went through with their plans to go public (now expected mid-November). We have done a phenomenal job for them, and it led us to realize the potential to create broader awareness of the Canadian investment opportunity as well as to create a way for potential investors to convert to "leads" for the publicly-traded companies. Our discussions with the CEOs of the LPs over the past year have indicated a desire to connect better with U.S. investors, and we think that we can help them achieve that goal.

Before I describe our solution, I want to remind everyone about my observations regarding "stock promotion" and even "investor relations", which I have found to be expensive, ineffective and often bordering on criminal. We want to elevate how publicly-traded companies connect with potential investors, and I assure you that our solution will be unlike anything in the market in terms of professionalism and its value. Our first effort is limited to the Canadian LPs, though we may offer our services to select U.S. companies in the future as we prove out our offering. The bottom-line is that we will work with only leading companies as we maintain the very high quality of the NCV platform. Our compensation is cash-based, as I continue to abide by a policy to not invest in the publicly-traded companies (or private ones to date).

We have built what we are calling "Investor Dashboards" for our first public clients, Canopy Growth and Aurora Cannabis, and we will convert our existing client, Emblem Health, when it goes public. We have had discussions with most of the other publicly-traded LPs and expect to expand our client roster. To be clear, we will not be sharing our opinion about the companies or the value of their stocks on New Cannabis Ventures. Instead, we will be offering curated data on the companies while also pulling in content from our site to their dashboards. We will make an extensive effort to drive traffic to these pages, which will raise visibility for our clients and allow potential investors to connect with the company. Our content strategy will remain the same: We will publish content that our readers will value on Canadian LPs regardless of whether or not they are clients of ours. It is imperative to me to maintain what are excellent relations with all of the LPs.

So, what does this mean for 420i? I have taken great pride in being able to say that I am unbiased, but now I will need to disclose this potential conflict of interest when I discuss not only our clients but also their competitors. I am changing nothing except my disclosure, which has been updated and is public. I have built a reputation as being a straight-shooter and an honest broker, and I will continue to uphold my highest values, which include integrity and transparency. I will not hesitate to share negatives about the companies for which we are hosting Investor Dashboards, nor will I hold back saying positive things about those who are not NCV clients. Quite simply, what I say about companies on 420i is not negotiable. One of the benefits that I hope to reap is to drive additional subscribers to 420 Investor as we bolster our position as an authority on the Canadian sector, which would help increase the sustainability of 420i.

In summary, I am excited to be able to help the Canadian LPs who want to work with us to bring an innovative data-driven solution to raise awareness for them while being able to continue to offer the same unrivaled service at 420i. I will be regularly disclosing these potential conflicts of interest, and I pledge to not allow these business relationships to interfere with my objectivity. I encourage anyone who has any questions now or in the future to please reach out to me directly.

Posted to 420 Investor on Oct 01, 2016 — 7:10 PM
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