Exclusive Interview with DionyMed Chairman and CEO Ed Fields
DionyMed Brands is a distribution platform with two channels: retail dispensaries and direct-to-consumer. CEO and Chairman Ed Fields spoke with New Cannabis Ventures about the company’s model, strong growth trajectory and plans for the future.
Leadership at DionyMed
Like many leaders in the cannabis space, Fields has a background in entrepreneurship. But, he also has a personal connection. He underwent a series of serious back surgeries, and his doctor encouraged him to try cannabis as an alternative to opioids. It worked for him, and Fields was intrigued by the possibility to use cannabis as a complement to standard medical tools.
In addition to Fields, DionyMed’s leadership team includes CFO Peter Kampian, COO Pete Hilliard, and Chief Marking Officer Michelle Sitton. Kampian previously served as the CFO of Mettrum Health, later acquired by Canopy Growth. Hilliard comes with technology executive experience in Silicon Valley. Sitton previously worked with large brands including Nestlè.
The Brand Opportunity
DionyMed’s multi-state platform is built around the value opportunity in cannabis brands, both proprietary and for partners. The company carefully vets its prospective brand partners to ensure a mutually beneficial relationship. Fields wants to work with brands that have a clear picture of who their end-consumer is and deliver a product that resonates with that consumer in a measurable way. Next, DionyMed wants to see that the brand has the financial capacity to scale its business.
The company’s marketing strategy and product offerings are carefully shaped with data insights. DionyMed takes into consideration consumer demographics, consumer spending habits, and sell-through data for both its retail and director-to-consumer arms.
DionyMed is currently operating distribution in Oregon and California and delivering products in California, Oregon, and Nevada. The company also has operations in Massachusetts, expected to come online in the quarters ahead, according to Fields.
For the time being, the company is focused on growth in these markets. For example, DionyMed acquired a campus in LA and completed a sale-leaseback agreement with REIT Innovative Industrial Properties. The campus has the capacity to support significant distribution capabilities – including the capacity to support up to 600 drivers – for the company’s brands and brand partners. Fields envisions the LA campus becoming an industry icon.
While the company is focused on its current markets, it is thinking ahead to further expansion. When it comes to expanding the company’s direct-to-consumer brand Chill, the company is aiming for a strategic partnership that will give it a complementary national footprint. And that type of partnership is likely to happen in the near-term, according to Fields.
DionyMed ended its relationship with delivery operator Eaze and filed a lawsuit against the company. The lawsuit alleges that Eaze defrauds credit card companies. When discussing the lawsuit, Fields emphasized the company’s commitment to compliance and operating on a level playing field.
DionyMed announced an equity line with Alumina Partners earlier this summer, and just this month, secured a convertible note financing with Gotham Green Partners. The partnership with Gotham Green also includes preferred partner access to the company’s Chill menu, according to Fields. “We are really partnering with Gotham Green to bring great, well-financed brands to California consumers,” he says.
The company has not issued guidance for 2019, but Fields is excited about the company’s growth. DionyMed is focused on commanding the capital, execution, and sophisticated leadership team it takes to be successful in the cannabis industry.
DionyMed is a client of New Cannabis Ventures. Listen to the entire interview: