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Exclusive Interview with Kush Bottles CEO Nick Kovacevich
Kush Bottles (OTC: KSHB) partners with cannabis companies, including dispensaries, retail stores, cultivators, and manufacturers, and gives them access to an extensive portfolio that covers compliant packaging for flower and concentrate products, vaporizer products, and more. The company reported revenue of $19 million in the year ending August 31, 2017 and over $8.8 million in the first quarter of its 2018 fiscal year, making it one of the highest revenue generators among publicly-traded cannabis companies. CEO Nick Kovacevich spoke with New Cannabis Ventures about his company’s growth, plans to uplist on a higher exchange, and why a new company name is in the works.
Kovacevich studied sports management and played college basketball, which gave him a competitive drive that led him to the business world. Eight years ago, he saw a niche to fill in the cannabis industry, and he set his sights on creating a business model that could serve the industry and grow the company to a national scale. After going public in early 2016, Kush Bottles was able to better access capital and invest in creating higher quality products at better price points. Along the way, Kovacevich has focused on investing in the company’s sales force to build strong relationships that ensure high customer retention and recurring revenue.
In February, Kush Bottles raised $6 million from Merida Capital Partners to support its East Coast expansion plans. Kovacevich expects Massachusetts to be the catalyst that sparks market growth in the Northeast, and the company is expanding to that region to get ahead of the curve. The company is also looking at expansion closer to home; the California market is still growing as it becomes more regulated, and Kovacevich sees a lot of opportunity in the northern part of the state, as well as neighboring Nevada. As cultivation in California moves from a wholesale market to one that is branded and that requires pre-packaged products, Kush Bottles is poised to take advantage of this dynamic. On an international level, the company is anticipating the legalization for adult-use in Canada this year, which will offer the company an opportunity to help operators there.
Kovacevich believes that company’s stock is very well-positioned on the OTC, which has allowed the company to create a lot of value in the market and make strategic acquisitions. As the company grows, it is moving toward the path to uplisting on a higher exchange, such as the NASDAQ or NYSE. While there is no strict timeline for uplisting, Kovacevich foresees the company, which has recently changed the composition of its Board of Directors so that independent directors are the majority, doing so this year or next year, and he expects the company will be in a position to have its bid accepted by one of these exchanges.
Kovacevich also spoke about Kush Bottles as the only U.S. cannabis company being covered by Cowen and Company. He credits analyst Vivien Azer, a managing director focused on the beverages, tobacco, and cannabis sectors, with promoting mainstream awareness of the industry and helping the company solidify its place in the market.
In the first quarter of this year, Kush Bottles reported $8.85 million in revenue, a 258 percent increase. That surge was driven by in part by the acquisition of CMP Wellness as well as organic growth. Kovacevich hopes to make strategic acquisitions like that one to three times per year over the next five years to create a robust portfolio backed by top talent.
Deals like the CMP Wellness and Roll-uh-bowl acquisitions mean Kush Bottles is becoming a more diversified company, and that is precipitating the company’s decision to change its name, pending shareholder approval, to KushCo Holdings. The name is more representative of the diversity of the company’s offerings while remaining true to company legacy, according to Kovacevich.
Kovacevich noted that the cannabis industry is unique in that tier 1 venture capitalists have yet to touch it, which leaves space for smaller investors to position themselves early on in the companies that will become cannabis giants.
Listen to the entire interview. Kush Bottles is a client of New Cannabis Ventures:
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