NEW YORK (MainStreet) — The first place winner of the Marijuana Tech Startup Competition is Amanda Ostrowitz’s CannaRegs.com, a website that informs dispensaries, investors and ancillary businesses of changes in laws and regulations pertaining to pot.
“This is a great idea,” said Alan Brochstein, founder of the 420 Investor investment group. “The cannabis industry changes so fast. It’s hard to keep up. This company can quickly identify changes in the regulatory landscape.”
MassRoots and CannaBuild sponsored the first annual Denver-based competition, which took place in September. Contests across the industry are sparking innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit.
“We see huge opportunities in cannabis-specific compliance, communication and finance apps that meet the needs of a changing consumer and regulatory state,” said Zach Marburger, CEO with CannaBuild, an online management system for dispensaries.
While Ostrowitz received $2,500, second place winner Mike Lockwitz was awarded $1,000 for his business idea CraftedHere, an online directory of cannabis-friendly bars, clubs and hotels for tourists and marijuana enthusiasts.
“As a tourist in Colorado, it’s easy to buy marijuana but there’s not too many places to consume,” Brochstein told MainStreet. “CraftedHere helps people navigate this very tricky new legal landscape.”
Brett Terry was awarded $500 for third place for his business idea CannaBrokers, which will facilitate wholesale transactions between dispensaries and licensed growers, edibles producers and extract companies."
“In Colorado, the ability to connect growers and processors is critical,” said Brochstein. “The concept of being a single location for the three parts of the supply chain to connect is a great idea.”
Producers of the web series The Marijuana Show invite all three winners of the Marijuana Tech Competition to submit their business plan.
“Our investors are savvy and they want to spend lots of money so they want to look at spreadsheets of financial evaluations,” said Wendy Robbins, director of The Marijuana Show.
Much like The Marijuana Show, each startup participating in the Marijuana Tech Competition had limited time to pitch their companies.
“We select contestants based on their business plan, because we view them from the perspective of a future entity we will partner with,” Robbins told Mainstreet.
The show just wrapped eight episodes that are now being edited. Among the ten finalists in the upcoming episodes, five were told they would receive investment money.
“That needs to be negotiated and is conditional based on their follow-through,” Robbins said.
For example, one contestant needs to make an organic hemp lip balm more tasty with oils, but the unofficial winner of the first season of The Marijuana Show is another lucky participant who peddled a child proof locking hemp bag used for medicine, guns or cannabis that was featured on a major cable network as a result.
“She had three investors call after seeing her on CNBC to invest $250,000 for 20% equity,” said Robbins. “Our investors offered her mentorship, branding and access to the Home Shopping Network, QVC and major retailers.”
Currently, Robbins and co-creator Karen Paul are planning a new round of auditions in mid-November at the Indo Expo Trade Show in Denver.
“We’re looking for more established marijuana companies with licenses, permitting and capital,” Paul told MainStreet.
--Written by Juliette Fairley for MainStreet