Marijuana Business Magazine January 2019

Marijuana Business Magazine | January 2019 60 Ancillary Naomi Granger Co-founder and Chief Financial Officer, Dope CFO | Bend, Oregon BACKSTORY Granger had been making good money as a corporate accountant but hated her job. Good thing she got fired: It gave Granger time to pursue something new. She took an online course about starting one’s own accounting firm. The class emphasized the importance of finding a niche. Granger decided to give cannabis a try. She and Andrew Hunzicker, former CFO at the Oregon grow company HiFi Farms, launched Dope CFO in December 2017. WHY TOWATCH Dope CFO has taken off, and now Granger and Hunzicker want to expand their online training while further developing the client services side of the business. Dope CFO is developing new products targeting investors interested in cannabis. One product, Dispensary in a Box, gives investors the tools and rules they need to know to open a dispensary. Granger believes a few factors will drive dramatic growth for Dope CFO in 2019. For one, industry growth is drawing more scrutiny from the IRS. “The IRS is doing more audits in this space. They want to see that businesses in this space are being compliant,” she said. – Omar Sacirbey BEST BUSINESS ADVICE “You have to remain fluid and flexible. Accountants want things to be perfect and tied up to the penny. But you’re not going to see that in cannabis. It’s still very new. A lot of these companies still have a hard time getting banking. So, you have that challenge of making sure cash is balanced. Software systems that are out there have bugs and kinks, so doing account reconciliations at the end of the month isn’t going to be perfect.” Renee Gagnon CEO, HollyWeed North Cannabis; Owner, Women Grow | Victoria, British Columbia BACKSTORY Gagnon has a background in technology startups. Her consulting firm, HollyWeed North Cannabis, also has multiple marijuana brands. WHY TOWATCH Gagnon knows how to close a deal, and she sees a troubling lack of female ownership in the cannabis space. So, when she saw an opportunity to buy the troubled for-profit networking company Women Grow, she jumped, signing a deal in September 2018 to acquire the company for $64 million in stock (CA$85 million). Gagnon plans to ramp up Women Grow’s educational of- ferings, making the company a first stop for aspiring canna- bis entrepreneurs. She says Women Grow faltered by giving the impression it was a nonprofit membership organization instead of a for-profit training company. “It’s hard to gather people together in love and then sell them stuff,” she said. This year, Gagnon plans to reposition Women Grow as a business that teaches entre- preneurship to women (and men) looking for an edge in the fast-changing cannabis space. – Kristen Nichols BEST BUSINESS ADVICE “Don’t focus on a business plan, fully fleshed out. …What you need to do is have a decent slide deck, a two-page executive summary and be able to explain in under seven minutes what you do. And it’s about your company—not your product. Your products will change over time; they’re investing in your company.” CORRECTION: After this publication’s deadline in late November, both companies mutually agreed to terminate HollyWeed North’s planned acquisition of Women Grow. In addition, the purchase price cited in the article was incorrect. Terms of the initial agreement detailing the proposed acquisition weren’t disclosed. Also, Renee Gagnon was not the owner of Women Grow.