Felix Thea, the host of the Shopify Masters podcast, interviewed Ben Kovacs, a Twitter sales executive who was an early investor in Myster, founded by Davis Kiyonaga. Myster, a high-end cannabis accessories company, generates sales in excess of $1mm per year. Kovacs and Kiyonaga, along with Dr. Neil Roy, run Lifted View, a supplement company that offers a nootropic that counters some of the effects of cannabis.
Kovacs shares backgrounds about both companies and insight about several issues that can impact entrepreneurs in the cannabis space. With Myster, Kovacs backed his friend, Kiyonaga. He was excited about the industry and felt that backing his passionate friend would be fun. Over time, he was able to become a more strategic partner. He didn’t hide his involvement when he interviewed with Twitter, which he thought appreciated his honesty. Being forward may actually have helped him to stand out as interesting and unique. He suggests that there is no need for entrepreneurs who are currently working while they develop their business on nights and weekends to inform their employer unless it is a public-facing entity (don’t use company time or property).
He also urges caution on using expensive advertising to jumpstart the business. Passion and authenticity are a better foundation, according to Kovacs, who suggests that not needing to pull income out of the company immediately has allowed Myster to grow properly. He shares a lot of insight in his discussion of Lifted View as well. One of the more interesting insights is that it was able to leverage the Myster customer relationships given the likely appeal of the product to this audience, though the company believes that the majority of its sales now come from outside of cannabis consumers. Finally, entrepreneurs will appreciate the dynamics of the team created at Lifted View.