Marijuana Business Magazine January 2019

Marijuana Business Magazine | January 2019 54 BACKSTORY Rehmatullah has a background in startups and investing in the cannabis industry. She is also managing director at Scottsdale, Arizona-based Hypur Ventures, a cannabis- focused investment firm. Rehmatullah got her start as an investment manager at Privateer Holdings, a Seattle-based private equity firm. In that role, she also served as general manager of Marley Natural. WHY TOWATCH At Akerna, Rehmatullah will help chart the future of a new Nasdaq-listed company formed through the merger of seed- to-sale tracking provider MJ Freeway and MTech Acquisition, a special purpose acquisition firm. The deal is slated to close in early 2019. Under Rehmatullah’s financial watch, Akerna is planning to execute an “aggressive growth strategy” as it pursues acquisitions in the year ahead. – Lisa Bernard-Kuhn BEST BUSINESS ADVICE “No one in a company—be it the CEO or the entry-level analyst—has all the answers or all the skills. The best advice I could ever give anyone is to ask other people for help or advice ... and don’t wait until it’s too late. Asking for help, building relationships and working collaboratively have made all the difference in my career.” Tahira Rehmatullah Chief Financial Officer, Akerna | Denver Vivien Azer Managing Director and Senior Research Analyst, Cowen and Co. | New York City BACKSTORY Azer is the first Wall Street analyst to actively cover the cannabis industry, having convinced Cowen to initiate deep analysis of the sector beginning in September 2016. Azer began with Cowen in 2014, when she was lured away from a successful career with banking giant Citigroup in part with the promise that she would get to cover cannabis “when the time was right.” WHY TOWATCH Azer has become a go-to authority on the growth and oppor- tunities unfolding across the global cannabis industry. As 2019 unfolds, Azer’s coverage is expected to be coveted in- tel for a growing pool of cannabis investors and publicly traded companies eager for in-depth analysis and insight. Big institu- tional investors are among those waiting in the wings to participate in cannabis. In Azer’s view, cannabis is “a key functional ingredient” that has the po- tential to disrupt a group of consumer product categories collectively worth up to $500 billion—including beverages, beauty and wellness products, over- the-counter pain and sleep aids and an evolving array of pharmaceutical and adult-use applications. – Lisa Bernard-Kuhn BEST BUSINESS ADVICE “For a rising female founder in the cannabis industry, I would suggest they have a specific and focused business strategy, identify areas where they lack expertise and build a team around them to address those knowledge gaps. And remember that in traditional consumer staples, the consumer is ‘she.’” Investments