80: The Next Cannabis Unicorn ft. Jeff Ragovin of Fyllo – Transcript

Editors’ Note: This is the transcript version of the podcast. Please note that due to time and audio constraints, transcription may not be perfect. We encourage you to listen to the podcast, embedded below if you need any clarification. We hope you enjoy!

Tech pioneer and industry veteran, Jeff Ragovin share his thoughts on Fyllo, cannabis software and cannabis use in professional sports. Jeff has a proven track record of leading and scaling technology platforms.

Listen to today’s episode to hear:

  • Growing cannabis companies faster with data
  • Providing regulatory changes easily
  • First SaaS solution for the cannabis industry

The Dime is a podcast with industry-leading guests hosted by the co-founders of 8th Revolution. This is the Dime, a dive into the cannabis and hemp industry.

[00:00:00] Bryan Fields: This is the dime, dive into the cannabis and hemp industry through trends, insights, predictions, and tangent.

[00:00:10] What’s up guys. Welcome back to the episode of the dime I’m Brian Fields. And with me as always is my right-hand man Kellen Finney. And this week we’ve got a very special guests. Jeff Ragovin, chief commercial officer Philo.

[00:00:22] Jeff, thanks for taking the time. How are you doing today?

[00:00:24] Jeff Ragovin: I’m doing great guys. Appreciate you having me on the show. Looking forward to a fun conversation. Yeah.

[00:00:30] Bryan Fields: And just for the record, another east coaster in the building, Kellen, how you doing?

[00:00:34] Kellan Finney: I was just going to comment on that. It’s been kind of a theme west coast or east coast, or at least west coast educating

[00:00:40] Bryan Fields: east coast.

[00:00:40] That’s why we do this, right. That part is actually getting edited out. But before we dive in, I think it’d be great for our listeners to learn a little bit about your background.

[00:00:50] Jeff Ragovin: Sure. So you know, I’m kind of a vet in the the ad tech space. So, you know, have been in the, in the tech world for the last 22 years, [00:01:00] kind of.

[00:01:00] You know, wrote all of the the waves. So email marketing then, you know, paid and social you know, co-founded a company called buddy media sold to Salesforce in 2012. Was that Salesforce for about three years, kind of after that, and then just started investing in a lot of very interesting companies, started another business in the content space and then,

[00:01:22] Found myself in the world of cannabis.

[00:01:24] And, you know, it’s been really fun, you know, I’ve a ton of. Extracurricular activities waste your farmer and your shaft. I love to fish. I grow a lot of stuff, including cannabis. So, you know, keep my life very busy lately. And so, yeah, I’ve been in the cannabis world now for the last few years and it’s been a pretty awesome and exciting.

[00:01:45] Bryan Fields: I’m glad you shared that because your successful track record speaks for itself. And I don’t want to understate what your accomplishments are. So I guess my first question to you is after your successful exit to Salesforce, why can’t.

[00:01:57] Jeff Ragovin: It’s a great question, but I kind of looked at cannabis as [00:02:00] this another way.

[00:02:00] Right. So, you know, social, when, you know, people started to flock to Facebook in 2007, it was like, There’s a new frontier here, you know, with cannabis. I kind of look at it, even though it’s a totally different vertical, it’s the same thing, right? I’d say relatively new to the world. Obviously a plant that’s been around for a long time, but I looked at it as kind of a, there’s obviously a big risk of getting involved in something that’s federally illegal.

[00:02:24] So I saw that as kind of an interesting challenge and an opportunity to really kind of go against the stream. So, you know, I would have never, in a million years, never thought that I would be in the cannabis. But here I am and it’s been it’s been pretty awesome every step of the way. So one I’ve kind of

[00:02:40] Bryan Fields: go back to when you first dove into cannabis, he goes into the conversation with Chad Bronstein, the founder, what was his pitch?

[00:02:47] And if it wasn’t Philo, would it be another company in cannabis that you would have.

[00:02:52] Jeff Ragovin: Probably not actually the love that question, you know, Chad and I met at a conference in Dallas and we were both on a founders panel together. [00:03:00] And the panel was really how to, you know, how do you build a company around people?

[00:03:03] How do you go and start it the right way? And it was myself and Chad and one other person. And we just instantly were like fast forward, like after the panel, we’re like, Hey, that was really cool. And I asked him, I was like, tell me what you’re doing cannabis. And he started talking about the business. And at that moment I was investing in a ton of different companies now.

[00:03:21] And so I had sent to them and said, well, you know, what’s the business model. It’s like, well, we’re just kind of getting started. We’re about to close, you know, $15 million seed round. And I’m like, okay, what’s the rapids. He was like, well, we don’t have any revenue. I’m like, okay, well what’s the problem because we don’t have any products in and I’m like, wait, so wait, you’re raising this money with no product and no revenue yet.

[00:03:40] How you know? And so he’s just like, dude, there’s such an amazing opportunity here for, from a technology perspective, to work with these companies, to help them with compliance, to help them with media, to help them. Loyalty and rewards and all those things where we’ve been doing this for years on the tech side.

[00:03:58] But obviously on the cannabis [00:04:00] side, because there’s so much compliance that you have to get through. A lot of people are just like, okay, I don’t, I don’t know what I’m doing here. And so to me that was like a golden ticket. I was like, okay, this is definitely a very interesting and emerging space. And, you know, we just became fast friends.

[00:04:16] Started talking and, you know, two months later I was on board and it’s been a crazy ride ever since we’ve we raised almost a hundred million dollars in the last few years and just close on our series C this week. So it’s been, it’s been quite a week for us. Yeah. It’s

[00:04:31] Bryan Fields: incredible. Over the accomplishment.

[00:04:32] So I want to kind of stay there for a second. Did you know, like in those moments, in those conversations, obviously he’s tantalizing you with some of the concepts. The ability to kind of like put your foot in the ground and then really accomplish another massive, massive growth opportunity. So was there hesitations from you to kind of dive into another

[00:04:49] Jeff Ragovin: startup like this?

[00:04:50] I mean, yeah, of course. You know, I, one, I was just like, do I have it in inmate to do another one? And I think the answer was yes, because I’m a builder. I really liked to be. And [00:05:00] everyone’s telling me, look, Jeff, what you just sold your place in New York and moved out to east Hampton, what are you doing? Why are you doing this to yourself?

[00:05:06] And I’m like, well, for a victory, another victory, right. And you know, kind of another very challenging vertical to conquer. You know, I think one of the biggest things that kind of crossed my mind was shit. This is federally illegal. Like, how am I going to move into a space? That is, I mean, this is a, this is a different territory, right?

[00:05:26] This is totally different than anything I’ve ever done in my career. But I saw that as a really unique challenge. Right. And I’m like at this stage of my life and the success that I’ve had, I’m like, I have nothing to fucking lose zero only to gain. So I’m like, you know what, this’ll be a fun task. And you know, I think coming on board, I was like, wow, there is a lot to learn.

[00:05:46] You know, just even something simple. Like what’s an MSO, what’s an SSL. Like these are things you don’t hear every day. Obviously we talk about it now every minute. But I think on the compliance side, I was literally like, whoa, you can’t do this in this jurisdiction. You [00:06:00] can’t do this. And this. And I saw that as a very interesting opportunity to really kind of thrive with technology, to make people’s lives easier.

[00:06:09] And of

[00:06:09] Bryan Fields: course, as you’ve found out, everything in cannabis is just harder. So let’s talk about the value that filo brings to the space. Can you kind of share, you know, what the role they play in the industry?

[00:06:19] Jeff Ragovin: Yeah. You know, what we’re doing right now is kind of interesting in the sense that we are. We look at ourselves as, you know, a compliance cloud stack, if you will.

[00:06:28] We essentially have four main foundations of our business, right? So we have kind of at the base of everything we do is our regulatory database. So we bought a company a couple years ago called Canada. We rebuilt it, we restructured it and it’s essentially every single statute ordinance tax map, text grid, you name it, anything you need.

[00:06:49] If you’re a plant touching company, you’re looking literally at a thousand sites to find the information, we bring it all in one place. Right? So our regulatory databases, you know, law firms use it. [00:07:00] MSOE is using SSOs, use it delivery like any operators. And it’s just a very easy task based product that kind of has tendrils into our other businesses too, you know, but we have a full-scale media activation business.

[00:07:14] It’s what many of us have done in our careers. And it was kind of a big gap in a lot of these cannabis companies. They were like, yeah, we’re just doing billable. Or we’re just doing, you know, a page in a magazine. It’s like, well, why aren’t you doing digital programmatic? Oh, well, it’s just too difficult because this creative can’t run here and this creative camera in there, and like, we’re going to help you.

[00:07:32] We’re going to utilize our regulatory database to understand what we can do with creative and how to deploy. And so now it’s super turn key. So we have immediate division that we really help people, you know, drive consumers into their stores and dispensary’s, we have a full-scale data business. So essentially we have millions and millions and millions of consumers and what they’ve transacted.

[00:07:53] And we model that data so that we could market to those people in a very effective way. So a multi-state operator might [00:08:00] say, Hey, I just have a store opening in Boston. And I want to drive people who have spent $150 or more on edibles and watch Netflix and shop at target. We can drive that very specific user into that store.

[00:08:16] And show the attribution if they convert. And that’s kind of groundbreaking in the sense that we can really drive through all the normal digital channels that you would do if you were a major brand like P and G, just because you’re a cannabis operator doesn’t mean you can’t do it. We acquired a company in February of this year called data owl and data owl is really it’s our promotions engine side of the business.

[00:08:38] So loyalty rewards, text messaging. Really, once we drive a consumer into the store, And then they start to convert and buy things. We could look them into the, you know, rewards program at that specific dispensary. We can literally target people based on their birthdays if they haven’t come to the store for 30 days.

[00:08:59] So it’s [00:09:00] kind of a closed loop, right? Here’s the media, we drive them in there. We get them to convert and now they’re on, on the technology side. And so it’s an interesting business in the sense that we have many clients that use us for the regulatory side that use us for the promotions. And they also use us for media.

[00:09:16] And as we kind of have just done our series C you know, we’re going to be looking into, you know, further expansion into, you know, buying other companies from an M and a perspective going into 20, 22. What else can we create in our stack, if you will? I think a lot of companies right now, they literally are using company a for this company B for that company C for that.

[00:09:36] And it’s like, why have three contracts with three different vendors when you could do it all in one place? I think that’s

[00:09:41] Bryan Fields: so important. And so understated just from the challenges that everyone faces. And I love the, the building of the ecosystem model, getting a, a partner in ones and then letting them use out the different deployments of the verticals in order to keep them kind of continuing on and success.

[00:09:55] And before we dive into the fun parts of the data for, from my perspective, I want to go to Kellen from a [00:10:00] regulation standpoint, because. We’ve had conversations with operators who are just blown away with the challenges, the licensing and the regulatory issues, because it’s not just a fundamental state difference.

[00:10:09] It’s down to the local jurisdiction and understanding which ones are opting out. So Kaelin this tool that they’re providing for and the value, like how, how much of it. Valuable to exist for some of the people in this space.

[00:10:21] Kellan Finney: I mean, I think it’s probably the most valuable tool for anyone looking to get in the space or anyone looking to expand as far as the compliance goes.

[00:10:27] I mean, we were talking with someone earlier today, actually who runs a vertically integrated operation in Florida. He, we were kind of chatting about the east and the west coast differences and they had some, a brand out from the west coast that was like, have you guys never heard of billboards? Like, why don’t you guys advertise on billboards?

[00:10:45] And he was like, well, in Florida, that’s illegal. And so like that right there, the fact that like that information isn’t even readily available. I mean, I can’t even imagine how valuable. That data set is to operators in the space that are looking to expand in a [00:11:00] new expand into new states. But when I heard about it, my thought was, how valuable has that been for you guys to kind of funnel everyone else into those other verticals that you mentioned?

[00:11:12] Jeff Ragovin: Yeah, I mean, it’s so critical. I mean, I think every day you have some clients, managers, lawyers, you know, they’re literally trying to keep up to date with things that are changing literally. And that means they need to understand, you know, everything from, you know, advertising and marketing rules and regs on a state level all the way doing jurisdictional level.

[00:11:31] Think about like the state, like Michigan, they have like 1300 jurisdictions, but all have different rules and regs. Like how do you operate in the state like that? You need literally access to all of those jurisdictions in one place, you know, applications, licensing, banking or emerging markets, you know, General regulatory issues, packaging and labeling you know, prohibitions production, social equity.

[00:11:57] I mean, there’s so many categories that you have to stay [00:12:00] abreast on and you know, most of the time we will actually surface this information in the platform before it’s even available. So people are like, how did you know about that? Well, we have built technology that finds. You know, pieces of information, indexes it.

[00:12:13] And sometimes we even have an analyst that has to pick up a phone and call, right? Because it’s not available for the public yet. We have so much data in the platform itself. Even my team is using it for commercials. You know, if somebody gets a license, our platform is picking it up. And so they’ll call and say, Hey, did you know that there’s two other licenses available, you know, in the town next door or three towns away.

[00:12:33] And they’re like, who are you? And how did you get my information? And we’re like, incredible. We used our platform too. And you too could be using it as well. So, I mean, I think. Just like a research perspective. Even if you have a competitor that’s kind of emerging in your market, you want to know what they’re doing.

[00:12:50] Did they get real estate in the same jurisdiction? Are they applying for a certain permit? That’s all in the platform. It’s really powerful. Is it global or is it just [00:13:00] focused on the us markets? So right now it’s only in the U S just because even the U S to cover all of the states is the plans to bring this to, you know, Canada in Europe, as this, as things are really starting to accelerate.

[00:13:14] But right now we’re really kind of Uber focused on the U S today virtually so competitive

[00:13:19] Bryan Fields: intelligence as well, though. Like from a comparative standpoint, obviously the MSO is, are all competing for massive growth and sometimes their strategic positioning themselves in different spots specifically here, maybe an east coast, because from a competitive intelligence standpoint, that’s gotta be so valuable for them to have actual

[00:13:34] Jeff Ragovin: infamous.

[00:13:35] Oh, it’s massive. I mean, the great thing about the platform is that it’s completely customizable. So no single person is using it the same way. We have all these really cool dashboards that you set up and you can create your own query. So I might say, Hey, you know, tell me one, tell me when MSO ax ever comes up in search.

[00:13:55] And that will ping me through email and saying, Hey, Jeff, so-and-so just applied for a license [00:14:00] or so-and-so is opening up a new store or so-and-so just filed for this permit. And so that gives me a very unfair bandage, you know, to really kind of act quickly before something that might impact my business does, I would say the bulk customization aspect of the platform is really powerful for a while.

[00:14:17] Do you guys

[00:14:17] Bryan Fields: have

[00:14:18] Kellan Finney: analysts that also kind of provide some reason to the rhyme as well. And if you’re just an operator, that’s just looking at all of this information. Can they pick up a phone and be like, Hey Jeff, why do you think that MSOX is now buying land in. Kansas.

[00:14:33] Bryan Fields: You know what I mean?

[00:14:34] Jeff Ragovin: We don’t offer that just because our farm would be ringing hospitals and we do, we should, we do wanna, you know, look at ourselves as a technology company that we have a very large team of analysts that is actually working in the platform where they’re actually creating briefs.

[00:14:49] So something comes in through the. It index, it kind of organizes it. And then the analyst is like, okay, I’m going to create a summary here. So lawyer acts at this company, doesn’t have to read [00:15:00] 500 pages. I’m going to give them a quick kind of excerpt that if they want to continue reading on. The analyst in there to make sure everything is sorted correctly and there’s no issues or, you know, the technology itself is really doing the legwork.

[00:15:13] And then the analysts are really making it just easier to read because some of these pages are like, you know, some permit processes are 150, 200 pages long who has the time to read through everything. So it’s kind of, you know, it’s interesting. I think for us, we’ve seen the cannabis world itself has really.

[00:15:31] You know, for this platform has been amazing. So we’re in the process right now, actually launching five new verticals going into 2022. So everything from short-term rentals to cryptocurrency, to micro mobility, we know that other highly regulated industries are also going to need something like this at their fingers.

[00:15:49] How

[00:15:50] Bryan Fields: in real time is the information updated, easy condom, almost up to the minute. Is there like a lag 15 minute period? Is there some sort of estimate that goes into that? Yeah, I mean,

[00:15:59] Jeff Ragovin: we [00:16:00] have basically the technology. And literally finds information on where everything is housed every single day. So, you know, it’s not pinging like every two seconds, it’s pinging multiple times a day and pulling that information in.

[00:16:13] So generally let’s say there was a meeting that just got set up for next Thursday and it literally just went live. We’ll bring that in. Somebody will get an alert right at that moment saying, Hey, there’s a new meeting for Riverhead on a possible. A use case for recreational consumption. Everything has alerts tied into it so that the user doesn’t have to constantly log into the platform and look sends them an email first.

[00:16:37] And then there’s a direct link that brings them into the platform for ease of use. Beautiful. This

[00:16:42] Bryan Fields: is something that’s really relevant for you. We’ve sent it to you. If you want to continue on the evaluation, come back to the platform. It’s a perfect way to continue the cycle of.

[00:16:51] Jeff Ragovin: Exactly. We’re really kind of, I’d say we’re saving people so much time.

[00:16:55] I think that like

[00:16:56] Bryan Fields: understated to tell him one time sent me a government [00:17:00] document and I asked him a question he’s like, it’s somewhere in here. And it was 212 pages. And I was like, this will take me forever to find maybe one sentence. So just understanding that concept would save me a forever amount of time.

[00:17:12] And I couldn’t like it. When you say saving time, it’s almost understating how much time it’s actually. Like I went to

[00:17:19] Kellan Finney: go do some like a preliminary background research for an individual who is interested in the Florida market. And I was just like, naively, like, oh, I’ll just go read the applications from all of these 13 companies.

[00:17:31] Right. And I started downloading some of them and they was like, the application was 800 pages and I was. I’m going to read the application and then I have to go read the regulations that

[00:17:40] Bryan Fields: they drafted this application to meet.

[00:17:43] Kellan Finney: I was like, whoa, I think this is a little more complicated than just one guy setting off on this.

[00:17:49] Jeff Ragovin: Yeah, I think too. I mean, one of the other things guys, that’s so kind of critical is that because this space is rapidly changing so much and you know, you have more states that are coming on board, more jurisdictions [00:18:00] that are taking part, like, I think in a single month alone. And we did some of these, this analysis.

[00:18:05] You know, there’s like hundreds of guidance documents that come out. You know, 40 policy changes to executive orders, you know, three ballot measures, 17 enforcement actions. Like this happens every month, right. And then there’s like 300 legislative updates. Like in order for you to keep track of that, you really got to make sure that you have, you know, access and you have a pulse on where that information is.

[00:18:28] Otherwise. I mean, I can’t imagine having to do the research to find it just because there’s so many. You know, municipalities and there’s so many different, you know, government sites, you need to hire a full-time person. Yeah.

[00:18:41] Bryan Fields: Yeah. And I think it just expand on that. Cause we both been on that rabbit hole was that the client, sometimes expectations goes how hard could really be to find this information.

[00:18:49] And you’re like, well, it’s not hard to find the information. It’s hard to find the answers to the question in the,

[00:18:55] Jeff Ragovin: I mean, listen, it’s all out there. It’s like, Hey, we have like, you know, the secret [00:19:00] sauce, you know, wherever it’s all publicly available information, but you’re talking thousands of documents literally on thousands of different websites.

[00:19:10] Do you guys to, like, if

[00:19:11] Bryan Fields: you query

[00:19:11] Kellan Finney: that you guys then download that information and keep it

[00:19:14] Bryan Fields: in your own data powerhouse.

[00:19:16] Jeff Ragovin: So I was just going to tell you guys that too, sometimes things are removed once they’re in our platform, they’re there for him. Yeah. Oh, that’s

[00:19:22] Kellan Finney: smart because there’s so many governments

[00:19:23] Jeff Ragovin: can pull down and edit stuff, pull stuff down and they’re like, oh man, where is that?

[00:19:27] I don’t know where it is. They took it away. We have a record of everything. Yeah. Everything. And we go back years, years, and years and years. So you could go through the. You could see everything that’s going on. I mean, it’s really powerful stuff that is

[00:19:40] Kellan Finney: super powerful, just a small

[00:19:42] Bryan Fields: amount of data to slightly switch gears, mainstream brands that want to be in front of cannabis.

[00:19:47] Consumers. Can you share more about how Philo.

[00:19:50] Jeff Ragovin: Yeah. So basically what we’re doing on the data side is, you know, obviously through our acquisition of data owl and various partners, we have access [00:20:00] to a ton of data, all transaction data across different products, different states, different genders. So if you think about it, just from a segment perspective, let’s say someone’s like, Hey, we have a new CBD product that we’re looking to.

[00:20:15] We want consumers who have purchased CBD in the past because they’re educated. I’m sure you guys know this, but like CBD products or the farm bill being, you know, everywhere, you could buy it in the gas station, you could buy it, you know, your local convenience store. And some of those products are not very good.

[00:20:29] And somebody who has never actually purchased CBD is not educated. So they might’ve tried it. And they’re like, Hey, this stuff doesn’t work. Right. It doesn’t do anything for me, but it could be just a very bad product. We have the ability to really target consumers who have purchased a CBD in the past that are educated and that know, but we actually segment those, you know, profiles.

[00:20:49] You know, from a CBD perspective, we can get all the way down to beverages, edibles, extracts, concentrates, flower pills, pets, [00:21:00] topicals, vapes. I mean, there’s even just CBD there. It’s so wide. If we wanted to target consumers who have purchased edibles, we have data on, you know, candies choose chocolates, baked goods, mints snacks, you know, let’s goes on.

[00:21:12] And we actually have that by transaction type. We had it by, you know, city and state. And then we infuse it with, you know, all the normal psychographic and demographic data that you could target today through an Axiom or an experience or a Foursquare. Right? So, you know, people who go to McDonald’s people who are into, you know, diet health and weight loss, people who shop at target, people who watch squid games on Netflix.

[00:21:38] And we essentially infused them. With the cannabis state. So, you know, a traditional brand, let’s say like an Uber eats. Who’s one of our customers they’re buying our data in various markets. Cause they’re like, Hey, we want to actually target consumers for a transacting with any type of cannabis product, because one, we know that they’re spending.

[00:21:58] And not savers. Right. [00:22:00] And we know that they’re probably going to be hungry if they’re transacting with cannabis. So this could be a unique opportunity at that right moment to infiltrate them with a display ad or connected TV or out of home or whatever it might be. We work with a ton of companies in the, you know, alcohol and beverage, you know, beer space.

[00:22:17] And many of them were like, we know that, you know, more and more people are trying cannabis. We know more and more people who are curious are now avid users. So they’re playing defense, right. They might be launching a new product. They want to be able to get in front of a cannabis consumer one, because they’re probably more apt to try something new, but also they have to play defense because I know a lot of my friends were like, yeah, I don’t drink anymore.

[00:22:40] I just take it out. And don’t have a hangover, right? That’s a bit, there’s a big movement there that’s happening. But I think also on the flip side, you know, and I try to really get this across to a lot of these CMOs of, you know, pretty large brands out there where they might say, Hey, we don’t want, we don’t really want to do anything with cannabis because we’re [00:23:00] conservative.

[00:23:00] And I’m like, okay, but you’re not doing anything with cannabis. You’re just targeting a new consumer. It’s a new occasion to market someone that you haven’t thought about before, and by the way, they might be a new homeowner. Right? So if you’re a home goods store, like, or you’re a home Depot, why not be able to, you know, have an ad that you’re intersecting with a cannabis consumer again, because we know for a fact that they spend, they have a new house and it’s another segment that you never ever thought.

[00:23:29] No one’s ever thinking like, yes, let’s go. And, you know, try to you know, convert a cannabis consumer to our website. It’s just everyday people like you and me, right? Many of us are successful. We built companies, we sold companies. We happen to use cannabis for whatever it might be in our lifestyle. And we’re very good customers to target.

[00:23:47] So I feel like this year alone has been pretty amazing cause we have four and a half thousand advertisers, mainstream binders. That’s awesome brands that you would never even think about. Like even pharmaceutical companies are [00:24:00] now buying it. Cause they’re like, oh, we definitely want to be able to target people who have arthritis or elements or have chronic headaches and migraines.

[00:24:08] You know, try to get them to try our product, right. Because maybe they’re using cannabis to help offset their. Yeah, it’s an interesting time. All the QSRs they’re loving it, then they’re smart. Right. As they should. When you

[00:24:21] say

[00:24:21] Bryan Fields: QSRs, just explain for our listeners.

[00:24:23] Jeff Ragovin: Oh, so QSR is like quick serve restaurants.

[00:24:26] So just think about like all the fast food places they’re like, yep. That’s our consumer and we’re going to target them and it’s working really well. I

[00:24:35] Bryan Fields: don’t want it to go on to say that you use the word infused there. I thought it was perfectly implemented inside. So my question would be so just make sure I understand.

[00:24:43] If someone is searching for sleep products, right? Then they can be targeted with, let’s say an educational campaign based on CBN, and then correlate it back to let’s say more CBN based products to help with sleeping and then pharmaceutical based companies or Johnson and Johnson based companies can then use [00:25:00] programmatic advertising in order to be in front of them continually with competitive products.

[00:25:03] Is that how.

[00:25:05] Jeff Ragovin: Yeah. So I think CBN is a perfect one, right? Obviously, you know, I’m using a number of products right now with the half CBN because I can not sleep. Like, I mean, I never could sleep. I think it’s just, my brain is always going and, you know, we work 24 7. So I definitely, you know, I’m using those types of products, but, you know, based on that transaction data, like maybe Santa Fe wants to target me with an ad for MB right now, obviously from my own personal standpoint, I’m trying to not take any time for prescription medications at all.

[00:25:34] And that’s why I focus on plant-based medicine. But for a lot of other people, they might be like, Hey, that works. I’ll try it. So it’s, it’s a great category for so many different reasons. It’s not like, Hey, it only works for food. Or, Hey, it only works for a convenience stores or, Hey, it only works for alcoholic.

[00:25:52] It works really for every it’s fun

[00:25:55] Bryan Fields: trends in markets by location for let’s say search history [00:26:00] on certain cannabinoids that are rising and popular.

[00:26:03] Jeff Ragovin: We do have search data, for sure. I think where we’re really trying to focus our efforts is strictly on the transaction. Right? Cause we know that they’ve already converted.

[00:26:11] We know that they’ve already purchased so less about say intent and more about, we know this actually driving decision. Exactly. And action. Exactly. So, you know, I think also on the fitness side, that’s probably one of the biggest rising categories. We recently did a pretty large campaign with city row, super interesting company.

[00:26:31] They’re kind of, you know, pretty much like the next Peloton, but for indoor. So they have seen the I’ve seen that they have studios and then they have an at-home rower really beautiful screen. I’m also an investor in the company for years now with them. And I was just like, Hey, this is a really good opportunity for you guys to really target people who we know are converting on the CBD side, because they’re taking CBD for muscle recovery for holistic health healing.

[00:26:57] And so the goal of that is really to drive [00:27:00] conversions with at-home right. And we saw a huge lift there. And so there’s just so many other sports related companies. I mean, think about golf. Golf is a huge, huge category. Not just for people who might be smoking a Doobie on the course, but also people are taking it for arthritis, for muscle recovery.

[00:27:17] There’s so many golfers now who are behind a CBD brand. You know, they’re putting their name on it cause they’re like, yeah, this is really, this is good for you. And it’s good for your body. It’s good for your joints. It’s like cannabis is infused into everything we do now, which is just, I feel like the last year, we’ve just seen so much critical attention to it, which has been great for our business too second.

[00:27:37] I’m sure. And the more

[00:27:38] Bryan Fields: data you have, the way you can make better decisions. And I think the way you’ve kind of structured the core concepts allows for not only people inside the space to make valuable decisions, but also outside, which is only just helping individuals. I’ll move

[00:27:52] Jeff Ragovin: forward. Yeah. I think even by the way, we wouldn’t talk about it, but the entertainment category is huge.

[00:27:56] Right? So like people who are streaming, you know, they’re looking to like [00:28:00] watch movies you know, the weekends and hang out. And a lot of them also like happened to recreationally use cannabis because it enhances their experience or gamers even. Right. Huge, huge category. Right. And I think, you know, I was recently talking with Pepsi mountain.

[00:28:18] And they just launched a completely new product called it gets rise. I think that’s the name of it, but they’re focused all on gamers, right? A hundred percent. They happen to also smoke a lot of cannabis.

[00:28:29] Bryan Fields: They do. I might just dispel that myth. I don’t think cannabis helps your gaming. Maybe that’s just me personally, but I have not found that to be a performance enhancer.

[00:28:38] Jeff Ragovin: Yeah. I mean, listen, that all these studies are saying it is probably not for me. I’ve tried for years. Yeah. I don’t listen. Cannabis does not give me any performance enhancement whatsoever. Like say a lot of people are like, oh, it makes me more creative. And I could write not for me. I go to sleep. It doesn’t matter if it’s whatever the strain is.

[00:28:56] If it’s into TIVA, I go to sleep, period. [00:29:00] I think it’s the way my body is just the way that it metabolizes cannabis. Like I use it for sleep and that’s pretty.

[00:29:07] Bryan Fields: I was the same way. And then I found a certain product category to certain timing with like a certain kind of diets at Teri reason. And I would then get that uplifting feeling.

[00:29:16] So it was hard for me to find as well, but it’s definitely one of those where you got to kind of tweak the variables inside to try to find that that combination for you. It’s

[00:29:23] Jeff Ragovin: also like everyone’s different, right?

[00:29:25] Kellan Finney: Personalized medicine, all that stuff. So

[00:29:27] Bryan Fields: it’s going to

[00:29:27] Jeff Ragovin: act differently.

[00:29:28] Bryan Fields: So recently on a podcast, I heard you say creating content through people.

[00:29:33] How do you mean that can be beneficial for cannabis? I’m trying to think where I

[00:29:37] Jeff Ragovin: said

[00:29:37] Bryan Fields: that on a podcast that was a really bad set up. You were talking about the aspects of marketing for a cannabis company, and you were emphasizing the importance of creating content through, through individuals, with people in reference for podcasting and other content

[00:29:50] Jeff Ragovin: models.

[00:29:51] Yeah. Again, I’m trying to remember. I speak all day long. So I’m trying to remember what the context of it was. You know, creating content through people. It could have been my [00:30:00] last company to where we had a full-scale content platform that people would create content on behalf of the brands and the brands would then utilize that in their paid athletes.

[00:30:10] Right. So if I like a product and I’m creating content around it, right. You know, somewhat influential in the sense. Right. And not paid of course, like if I really like a product, I’m going to talk about it to my friends right now. We are all influencers in our own sense. Like we influence our friends and families and buy things based on, on extreme.

[00:30:29] So for me, if I happen to be taking a product with, let’s say CBN and I did recently have, it was a great product figures, CBD distillery. I bought it from there and like, I would totally post about it for friends who also can’t sleep and say, Hey, if anyone’s tried this or hasn’t tried it yet, this is a really good way to get a good night’s sleep.

[00:30:47] So I feel like influencing others through something that you might be putting out. Or a story or an update, obviously with a lot of the social platforms. There’s a lot you can’t do with marketing, right? So Facebook, [00:31:00] Instagram, Google, they don’t allow any cannabis operators to do any type of paid you know, ads.

[00:31:06] And so it’s almost important to rely on people until that opens up until it’s federally legal to have them actually talk about products that are good. And that’s why I wanted you to

[00:31:15] Bryan Fields: expand, because I think that’s so important because we’ve had contacts with operators in the space and they’re looking to kind of do raise brand awareness.

[00:31:21] And they’re wondering, do I do social media? And then, you know, you turn on the news and you see purely a Boston Instagram, because it gets down. And it’s just one of those we’re investing in that platform when there’s all these other challenges, creating content through individuals around, let’s say educational stuff or podcasting, or just reviews on products can be so beneficial for raising that brand.

[00:31:41] Jeff Ragovin: Yeah. Well, I think too, I mean, listen, I, so I have a show called alchemy, you know, I released an episode every week and it’s with so many different, you know, types of cannabis operators, like MSOE, SSOs, dispensary’s celebrities, like recently had Mike Tyson on, you know, he obviously just launched Hyson 2.0 Al Harrington, right.[00:32:00]

[00:32:00] He just sold his company, Daniel Cursillo, who started off really, you know, he was a two time Stanley cup champion. He started off in the CBD. You know, he’s the founder of we sauna, which is all around, you know, medicine around psychedelics and psilocybin that are helping, you know, treat traumatic brain injury.

[00:32:16] And so I feel like podcasting today is so critical because we are educating the world on all these amazing benefits of plant-based medicines in so many different businesses. Right. I think it’s, it’s a critical time for us, you know, you guys as well, obviously having your show, getting out there, talking to people, showing the value of what’s happening and that this is.

[00:32:37] I, this is a true, not just a business, but this is a true life changing opportunity for a lot of people. Let’s switch gears, Wilson. Yeah, really well. So we’re going to switch gears. We’re going to do a little rapid fire. Okay. I do that all the time with people. It’s funny to be on the other side. You’re going to be on the other side.

[00:32:52] I have one

[00:32:52] Bryan Fields: question I’m ready to send you, but the first one is second favorite sports activity.

[00:32:57] Jeff Ragovin: After fishing, I was going to say fishing. Second [00:33:00] favorite, I’d say paddleboard. Cannabis product

[00:33:03] Bryan Fields: category. You’re most bullish on for growth over the next five years.

[00:33:07] Jeff Ragovin: So I’m just learning about this, but I’m completely fascinated.

[00:33:11] But what is a THC V? What I reading is that it’s like Adderall, but healthy, right? It does curb your appetite, but it’s really good for focus. And so I haven’t tried it yet, but neither, I feel like the last month everywhere I go from here. Everywhere. I go, I’m reading about it, but I’m definitely going to try it.

[00:33:29] And I definitely, I was on Adderall at one point in time, you know, years ago. And I hated it because it was, I didn’t like the way it made me feel, but it did make me focus. So I think this could be, I could be a breakthrough operative.

[00:33:42] Bryan Fields: And I think if you use the marketing slogan, Adderall, but healthy and then target, let’s say college campuses

[00:33:51] will crush

[00:33:52] Jeff Ragovin: it. Right. Exactly.

[00:33:54] Bryan Fields: As a home cook infused

[00:33:56] Jeff Ragovin: meals or no, you know, not infused. [00:34:00] I mean, like I’ve made some edibles before, but I just kind of feel like it’s just the amount of time that it takes for something infused to hit. It’s kind of like, well, don’t you want to enjoy it either when you’re already high or, you know, then you’re eating it and then you’re high later.

[00:34:17] I don’t know. It doesn’t, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. How useful would you

[00:34:21] Bryan Fields: be in a zombie

[00:34:22] Jeff Ragovin: apocalypse? Oh my God. I ask this question all the time. I want to know you, you never answered. This is my favorite question I ask all the time. I’ve asked it probably to four or five guests. So if there was a zombie apocalypse, would I be a good teammate?

[00:34:40] Is that what you’re saying? Yeah. I mean, you’ve asked, you’ve

[00:34:42] Bryan Fields: asked all of your guests and they’ve all responded. So I need to know

[00:34:46] Jeff Ragovin: I would be the number one, right? Because, well, I’m not that fast anymore, but I used to be fast, but listen, I could book for, I could cook for everyone so I could feed you. I am.

[00:34:56] I’m a gardener so I can grow. I’m a fisherman so I could hunt. [00:35:00] And I can kick the shit out of zombie. So I feel like I would definitely be a good teammate. And then, you know, if I was the last one standing and somebody else was there, I have really big cabs. So I could always give a calf to someone to eat.

[00:35:12] If there was. Well, I would re I would give a leg away very heroic. I didn’t expect that last part. Yeah. So, but yeah, that’s so funny. You know, I had a guest on the show two years ago, a week before COVID and I asked that question and I just had her back on two weeks ago. And I released the episode two weeks after COVID and it was kind of weird timing because we weren’t talking about COVID and it was kind of, we did have a zombie apocalypse, so to speak.

[00:35:40] Right. So, yeah. Good times. Good times. So one

[00:35:45] Bryan Fields: more question for you, and then we’ll dive into some of our predictions,

[00:35:49] Jeff Ragovin: future roadmap. Yeah. So I feel like, you know, I mean, we’re already moving into 20, 22, like in a month. So with our current, you know, series C, we just raised 40 [00:36:00] million on Tuesday. So we are definitely going to be out there looking at, you know, more M and a activity and expanding, you know, our compliance cloud offering.

[00:36:09] There will definitely be some activity coming down the line without a question. So

[00:36:13] Bryan Fields: since you’ve been in the cannabis industry, what has been the biggest misconstrue.

[00:36:17] Jeff Ragovin: I would say the biggest misconception, I think is just the general population thinking about, you know, cannabis and being stoned, like stoner mentality.

[00:36:26] And I find it’s completely opposite. Right? I think people are sophisticated, you know, business types that utilize it for so many different reasons. But I think that is definitely a misconception that it’s definitely starting to go away. It’s still there. Right? There’s still some people like, oh yeah.

[00:36:43] There’s stoner. No, I don’t think everyone who I work with in the industry. It’s like, even in all these events, like most people aren’t even smoking. Right. It’s kind of time and a place for everything. Yeah. I think

[00:36:54] Bryan Fields: that’s a real big east coast thing. We’re still, we’re still fighting and hopefully we’ll get our act together soon.

[00:36:59] So before [00:37:00] we do predictions, we ask all of our guests, if you could sum up your experience in a main takeaway or lesson, learn to pass on to the next generation, what

[00:37:07] Jeff Ragovin: would it. That’s a great question. I think my biggest focus here would be that you have to fail. You have to make mistakes. You have to fuck up because if you don’t, you don’t learn.

[00:37:19] Right. And so we all make so many mistakes every day. And we get better. Right? And that’s how, even if you think about it, just from a simple gaming methodology, right, you’re playing a video game and you keep dying, but eventually you get past that level cause you learn what to do and whatnot. So I feel like life has exactly the same way.

[00:37:36] We have to fail to get better and to grow and to learn and, you know, no, one’s perfect. And that’s okay. Beautiful. Said,

[00:37:43] Bryan Fields: all right. Prediction time marketing a brand in cannabis has its own set of unique challenges. Jeff, what is one platform or concept that you think is under utilized by cannabis companies today that, that they should start doing today to make

[00:37:58] Jeff Ragovin: a difference?

[00:37:59] [00:38:00] So I think, you know, I would say, and this is just because it’s my business, but you know, on the programmatic side, I think more cannabis companies need to take advantage of that. I think most of them are not because they don’t realize that you can run programmatic ads across mainstream real publisher sites like USA today.

[00:38:19] Conde Nast sports illustrate. I think that’s something that people really need to dig their heels into because you have the ability to target very specific consumers wherever they hang out, instead of wasting ad dollars on people that have never converted before. So I think more and more people need to start, you know, at least on the cannabis side saying, Hey, I could use all the tools that everyone else uses.

[00:38:40] I think it’s a, it’s the right time right now.

[00:38:44] Bryan Fields: I think it

[00:38:45] Kellan Finney: is from a, a data use case. I don’t think enough brands are making decisions on products to launch and areas to launch that product from a data perspective. I think of it it’s a lot squishy right now, at least from, [00:39:00] from conversations I’ve had with operators.

[00:39:02] It’s. A lot of shooting from the hip and not a lot of

[00:39:05] Bryan Fields: implementing these, these data

[00:39:07] Kellan Finney: companies that have, that are compiling all of the information. So I think moving forward for the really successful brands and say like five years are going to be very, very data

[00:39:16] Jeff Ragovin: centric. Totally.

[00:39:18] Bryan Fields: It turns out if you’ve got information that’s helpful in making decisions while making decisions.

[00:39:24] What a concept for me, I’m going to choose a social media platform that I think is underutilized still tic-tac. I think that cannabis brands and people can be utilizing that platform to. Ongoing content from an educational standpoint to just do total brand awareness. They’ve got this viral, viral reality factor.

[00:39:42] You definitely said that word wrong, where you can post something and kind of spread like wildfire. And I think it’s still under utilized with standpoint where cannabis companies need to be creative because they can’t use some of the techniques like you were saying. They struggle with Facebook and Google, so they need to come up with other ways to kind of generate that buzz.

[00:39:58] And I think Tik TOK is a good [00:40:00] way to.

[00:40:00] Jeff Ragovin: That’s a good point. Actually. I wonder what the rules are with tech talk. Like I was just thinking that, I don’t know, I haven’t heard anyone really talk about content or ads or anything on Tik TOK for cannabis at all.

[00:40:12] Bryan Fields: Have you seen any companies

[00:40:13] Kellan Finney: in general using Tech-Talk as like an ad platform?

[00:40:16] Does it have to be a human

[00:40:17] Bryan Fields: being or like, I think can be educational focus, right. I mean, there’s different ways to do it. I mean, I haven’t dabbled in promoting brands since obviously we don’t have that, but it’s always been a concept where I feel like it’s underused. And it’s one where it might be able to spread a little faster if people kind of utilize their algorithm and their platform, because they’ve got really, really strong reach and posting one video could generate thousands and thousands of views

[00:40:41] Jeff Ragovin: and things.

[00:40:42] I mean, Tik TOK, GS. That’s another one that’s just exploded. I mean, I, I was very much like, I am not going to be on tech talk and I’m not going to waste any time there. And now I find myself when I get up in the morning and it’s 5:00 AM and I’m still in bed. I’m scrolling. Like it is the most entertaining, [00:41:00] easy.

[00:41:02] Mindless experience. And it was great too, because those algorithms really know what you like. Right. And so then it really starts showing you stuff that it’s like, whoa, how did they know that? How did they know? I want to see dog content, right? It’s crazy. And they progress

[00:41:16] Bryan Fields: with you, right? As your interests change and your, your ideas change, they progress with you.

[00:41:20] And you’re like, this is really

[00:41:21] Jeff Ragovin: wild. They know everything about me. It shows me like Tik TOK shows me everything around food, cooking, dogs, fishing. I’m like, yeah, no, Yeah. They know too much about me. They’re like, Jeff,

[00:41:33] Bryan Fields: is this, you want this Jeff? And you’re like, ah, thank you so much. So Jeff, for those that want to get in touch, they want to learn more.

[00:41:39] Where can they, they

[00:41:41] Jeff Ragovin: find you I’m easily. Find-able everywhere, but I’d say email is probably the best route. It says Jeff at hello, Philo FYI llo.com and the podcast name podcast is called alchemy the alchemy podcast. Awesome. Thank you so much for taking the time, Jeff. Awesome guys. It was great to be on the show and [00:42:00] thanks for having me.

[00:42:01] Thank you.

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