In episode 38 of Investing in Cannabis, Brandon David interviews Carter Laren and Ben Larson of Gateway Incubator and Sascha (CEO) and Khari Stallworth, the husband and wife team who run Buddha Bakeries and are part of Gateway’s first class that began two months ago in their Oakland headquarters. The sixteen-minute interview gives a remarkable two-sided perspective that helps explain the potential for accelerators to assist cannabusinesses wanting to scale their businesses.
The interview begins with Laren and Larson discussing the selection process. The first class began with 150 applicants applying for up to 10 spots. Gateway selected 8, but one has apparently been booted. The key criterion is the strength of the founder. One of the strengths of the program has been the engagement of the mentors. The goal of the program is to help the companies scale and to prepare to raise additional capital.
Buddha Bakes has been in business for several years and generates more than $1mm in sales with distribution in 75 dispensaries. The company’s products are well received by the market, but the Stallworths want to learn how to scale. Khari Stallworth pointed to their need to better learn about branding, market positioning, and raising capital. Laren and Larson explained why the program selected them and alluded to a pending name change and a refocusing on two lines of products, especially the cake-pops.