Hadley Ford received his MBA from
Stanford GSB in 1991.
HADLE Y FORD
gets created if you
are just copying.”
What are the entrepreneurs like in this
category? Are they different from what
people might expect? You find all sorts.
People you wouldn’t want to cut your lawn,
as well as sophisticated and thoughtful
entrepreneurs. We look for startup situations
where someone has been awarded a license.
We look for a track record or background of
success in running a business. Someone who
ran a franchise or a restaurant, for example.
How do you do your due diligence? We
have an experienced staff that can handle
the financial end of things and we have
cannabis advisors and contacts who can
vet the cannabis operations. There are little
things we look for as well, such as how does
the owner respond to term sheets? How
do they respond to tasks in the diligence
process? How long does it take for requests to
get done? We spend a lot of time together to
make sure there is a comfortable feel.
You can tell a lot just by looking at the plants.
Do they look healthy or sick? You can also
check online and see the reviews.
is like Zagat for weed stores.
How do you find talented people to help
these startups? Are there corporate
lawyers and accountants you can turn
to for advice? We have some cannabis-experienced accountants and law firms,
but it’s still early. The jury is still out:
Are we too far on the edge? Is the wave
going to crash on top of us? Sometimes
it’s not great to be first.
What does the future look like — in one,
five, and 10 years from now? One year?
A lot like today, but maybe with cannabis
legal in some new states. We will see a lot
more investing by smaller institutions and
regional banks providing credit, though
probably not the big banks yet. In 10 years it
will look more like the alcohol business.
What is the best business book you have
read? Good to Great by Jim Collins. People
and focused execution matter more than
anything else. Δ