Today, we have ManifestSeven (MSVN) CEO Sturges Karban with us and we appreciate you sharing your time to help educate our readers. We have watched the ManifestSeven narrative greatly accelerate this year gearing up for the impending public listing. With that being said
- Although ManifestSeven is a new listing, the company has been around for several years and is comprised of a portfolio of strategic assets. Can you please tell us about the company and how the story has evolved over the last few years?
We actually started out back in 2014, well before prop 64, so have really been able to watch the legal cannabis industry grow, and pick our moments well. The company started out as a venture investment firm known as MJIC, and really looked for strategic, high growth plays in what we knew would be a burgeoning industry. Those involved in the early days were well read in to the lay of the land in California, and by 2016, MJIC had evaluated dozens, if not hundreds of cannabis and ancillary companies to potentially invest in. Fast forward to 2017, when I became CEO, and one thing became clear – the supply chain was dysfunctional, there was a tremendous amount of focus on the flower – and very little on how to actually get it from point A to point B.
It was really here that we transitioned from this venture investor model to a cannabis operator – laser-focused on owning the supply chain. Today, we’re ManifestSeven, we boast California’s first omnichannel model for legal cannabis, servicing B2B and B2C. We control distribution, delivery and dispensary, all integrated into our seamless platform, and with compliance our utmost priority. We’re not only building out a unique operation – we’re building trust – with both consumers and businesses – and by virtue of that, simply won’t compromise on compliance.
- ManifestSeven appears to be targeting some of the most attractive verticals of the cannabis supply chain and has created a fully integrated omnichannel platform for both businesses and consumers through its distribution hubs across California. What are some of the most exciting growth prospects associated with this opportunity?
We picked distribution and retail because ultimately there’s an unmatched ability to curate a product portfolio for entire space. If you look at the landscape now, there’s no Coke or Pepsi, there’s no true market leader, and the reason for this is because there’s been a distinct failure of distribution and infrastructure. But that also creates incredible opportunities to own customer bases; whether that be millennials, baby boomers, veterans and so on. By focusing on retail and distribution, we have much more control over what goes to market and what becomes a best seller, and by doing that we get to tap into customers in a unique way where they are totally undecided. Once you own them early, you own them forever.
- During the last year, ManifestSeven has completed several strategic acquisitions that provide enhanced leverage to the California market. Can you discuss the acquisition of MDelivers, MyJane, and 1-800-CANNABIS?
These acquisitions are the cornerstone of our seamless retail channel – e-commerce, delivery and subscription – and has helped us execute on M7’s vision of creating a one-stop-shop for all products and services. With M Delivers, we acquired one of California’s leading delivery services. It has customer base of more than 30,000 and opens up both northern and southern California which are critical markets for us. There’s huge growth potential here, and this really put a flag in the ground for us operationally – as if to say to the market “ManifestSeven is here”. At the same time we took ownership of the 1-800-CANNABIS phone portal. Now, just think about that for a moment – we are 1-800-CANNABIS. That in itself gives us such a commanding position in the market – and above all else, serves as both our phone and online gateways into our retail experience. And MyJane brings such a unique business opportunity to M7’s operations – a curated service by women, for women, that operates on a subscription basis. When you roll those together, you have a vibrant, scalable and ready-to-access retail model that can service so much of the market. These may be some of the most important acquisitions the company makes, and the result is powerful, both in our customer base, and positioning as a market leader.
- ManifestSeven recently launched Weden to serve as the company’s e-commerce, storefront, delivery and call center services into a singular consumer-facing brand. Can you explain how this asset will benefit the entire operation?
Well Weden is the culmination of all those transactions we just spoke about, coupled with the strategic acquisition of Haven (previously operating as ShowGrow) dispensary in Santa Ana. The dispensary is already highly successful, has a strong customer base, and as importantly, holds one of a maximum operating licenses in Santa Ana, the only municipality in Orange County to date to issue cannabis retail licenses. Now, we have our storefront, and roll that together with our existing portfolio of delivery, subscription and e-commerce, and you’re looking at a business model not too dissimilar to Amazon.
As a brand, Weden represents the very best of ManifestSeven – a brand that promotes inclusion, community, and offers the highest quality products to consumers. Santa Ana is just the start – it will serve as our flagship store and we intend to open others across the state of California, further building on our already expanding operations which already stretch from Sacramento to San Diego, from the desert to the Pacific.
- So far, ManifestSeven’s ancillary businesses have been able to compliment the overall footprint in the cannabis space and has helped drive revenues, especially on the CBD side of the business. What are some of the most attractive aspects associated with this vertical for the company that our readers should be aware of?
The biggest advantage in these acquisitions isn’t the product, it’s the customer base – and this is on a global scale. Our reach is exponential, and we’re talking about products that consumers have less of an issue buying – like rolling paper, for instance. With that in mind, ManifestSeven is generating these enormous databases of customers, around the world, who are tapped into the cannabis market, and when we’re eventually able to start selling THC products to a specific location, we already have a connection with the end user. So, really, our ancillary business works two-fold, because we get a sold revenue stream from what we’re already selling, and as legalization follows, we have a consumer base we can immediately tap into.
- In our opinion, ManifestSeven represents a differentiated opportunity with leverage to the world’s largest cannabis market. Can you discuss how the company is positioned to be a leader in this space and what are the biggest potential catalysts for growth?
The biggest potential catalysts are – again – distribution and retail. Retail because we’ve now come through that first wave of consolidation, and there are plenty of independent dispensaries left behind, servicing key markets across the country. In distribution, an opportunity we continue to pursue is in wholesale brokerage. What we’re looking to execute on next is converting one off trades between buyers and sellers into normalized, long term revenue streams. These would be contractual from an offtake or vendor supply perspective. All this also normalizes the supply chain as well. And it’s important not to forget technology. Right now there’s an opportunity for the likes of M7 to develop more effective means of customer acquisition and retention. We’re seeing that already through our subscription services like MyJane, and we can build on that. Trust is also a significant commodity in this industry – you need to pair with the right players, which is why compliance is such a sticking point for M7. We simply won’t compromise on it – it’s our long held philosophy – and in a somewhat immature market like cannabis, the cream rises to the top pretty quickly. The more unscrupulous operators are being caught out while M7 can solidify its reputation.
- How will your model you are developing in the California market be able to translate into other key markets across the United States?
The idea is to universalize it. The deficiencies we see in California are just as prevalent in other states. There are simply no omnichannel players – so there’s a hole in the market, and if we can replicate in other parts of the US what we do in California, then we as a company are a step closer to building a national superhighway for legal cannabis.
- Does ManifestSeven have plans in the future to enter the plant touching sides of the business?
No – our focus is purely on movement and commercialization of the product, not the creation.
Pursuant to an agreement between StoneBridge Partners LLC and Manifest7. (MSVN) we have been hired for a period of 180 days beginning August 1, 2019 and ending February 1, 2020 to publicly disseminate information about (MSVN) including on the Website and other media including Facebook and Twitter. We are being paid $10,000 per month for or were paid “ZERO” shares of unrestricted or restricted common shares. We own zero shares of (MSVN), which we purchased in the open market. We may buy or sell additional shares of (MSVN) in the open market at any time, including before, during or after the Website and Information, provide public dissemination of favorable Information.