Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the cannabis industry?
At Stronghold we serve underserved businesses, starting in 2017 with money service businesses and blockchain companies. Given our core strength is regulatory technology and compliance with payments, cannabis seemed like a natural fit for us. Today cannabis businesses are underserved — as many as 70% of cannabis companies are still unbanked and don’t have financial services.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
In Stronghold’s last investment round 75% of the investors were either women or minorities. That is unheard of when it comes to venture investment and is inspiring. People are beginning to realize that only a small percentage of venture capital goes to women and as such many are making great strides to change it.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Personally, I find it funny that when a bank is really motivated to move forward with this space as the way they move is still slow to a technology company’s standards. With the resources banks have I made the mistake of thinking a bank could get something done “quickly” — me foolishly thinking “two weeks” when in reality they meant 12 months!
Do you have a funny story about how someone you knew reacted when they first heard you were getting into the cannabis industry?
People’s eyes tend to glaze over when you talk about payments, but when you start talking about cannabis they open them pretty quickly! I know our New Zealand employees have family and friends that are shocked when they start discussing their work on cannabis payments as it is not legal for personal use there. In New Zealand cannabis is only legal for terminally ill...