Exclusive Interview with SLANG Worldwide Co-Founder and CEO Peter Miller
The SLANG Worldwide (CSE:SLNG) portfolio includes brands like Organa, Firefly, and Ish that can be found on shelves in 2,600 retail stores in 11 states and multiple countries. Co-founder and CEO Peter Miller spoke with New Cannabis Ventures about how his company’s capital-light, partnership-focused model is getting those brands onto as many shelves as possible.
Before SLANG, Miller was in the tech industry. When he saw the burgeoning opportunity in the cannabis space, he and his co-founder Billy Levy decided to pursue a license in Canada. They eventually became part of the group that founded Mettrum Health, a company ultimately acquired by Canopy Growth. That experience helped Miller and Levy build the knowledge and relationships that have been vital to forming SLANG.
Growth by Acquisition
Organa and Firefly, both SLANG acquisitions, are foundational brands in the company’s portfolio. When considering assets, the company looks for compelling brands with good products that growth potential in current and new markets. Miller also looks for people that can bring added value to the table. Both companies met these criteria.
Organa came with a strong supply chain to deliver its product, as well as an impressive team, according to Miller. Firefly brought a high-end dry-air vaporizer and prototypes for oil vaporization products to the SLANG portfolio. Mark Williams, a founder of Firefly, previously worked as a designer at Apple. Miller sees the potential to apply his industrial design experience across SLANG’s entire portfolio.
SLANG has the option to execute more transactions related to its O.penVAPE brand asset. The company could acquire facilities, in whole or in part, in Colorado, Oregon, and California. The company will be monitoring the industry to determine what parts of the supply chain to acquire, according to Miller.
Strength in Partnership
The company’s current capital-light model works by providing third-party partners with the packaging, IP, and knowledge to make its products. These partners then ship the products to retailers with which SLANG has built relationships. Leveraging partners’ infrastructure and experience reduces lead time to market and capital requirements.
Miller compares the model to companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi. Using Coke as an example, he points out that brand drives the most value in a mature CPG market. Coke is worth significantly more per dollar of revenue than retailer 7-11, according to Miller.
Partnerships are also taking SLANG into new markets. An exclusive licensing agreement will put the company’s brands on Trulieve shelves in Florida. Florida is a vertically integrated state, and this partnership grants SLANG entrance to the market without investing in expensive infrastructure and owning a license. This type of deal could be a template for growth into other new markets in the future.
Powerhouse Canopy Growth is among SLANG’s partners. Together, the two companies own equity in Canadian LP Agripharm, which serves as an important part of bringing SLANG’s brands to the Canadian market. Miller expects other collaboration opportunities for the two companies will emerge. Canopy Growth also has the right to buy 32 million shares of SLANG.
Funding and Future Growth
Ahead of going public, SLANG completed $66 million in financing. Miller indicated that the capital-light nature of the company’s model means the company has no imminent need for more funding, though he acknowledges that the company may seek to raise capital opportunistically in the future.
SLANG is largely operating in highly competitive markets with a wide array of available products. In these spaces, Miller is observing significant growth in segments like specialty vape and edibles.
Right now, the SLANG team has more than 150 people, nearly twice that number taking contractors and supply chain into consideration. Miller sees that number growing daily.
For Miller, finding success in the cannabis space comes down to great brands, great products, broad distribution, and consumer trust. Great brands and products are built with consistency, while broad distribution makes them widely available. Trust builds over time. Miller believes SLANG is demonstrating those markers for success – the company’s portfolio has generated $250 million cumulatively in sales historically.
To learn more, visit the SLANG Worldwide website. Listen to the entire interview.