Interview with our CEO
Originally published by the Accelerator
Tell us about yourself.
My name is Mike Colbourne, I am the founder and CEO of NEOBI Tech. We organize cannabis information and make it accessible to everyone. We just started this accelerator a couple of months ago and it has really helped us develop the business into something more professional. We did pitch night on [March 18th] and it was a great success; it was my first time pitching and I had a lot of fun. The group did really good! We got some great feedback and we took that and make some improvements.
How many people does your team consists of?
There are 4 of us right now. The CMO, myself the CEO, a CFO and a COO.
When did you start?
We started building the product last summer, around June of 2018. Then we finished and just released our first product at the end of February. We did our BETA testing and now are in the pilot phase; we just launched on the largest marketplace in the world - which is half a million developers.
What you did prior to this venture
Prior to this I ran a dispensary, but we couldn’t get the proper licensing to do integrate properly, so it is through this model that I am trying to legitimize.
What problem does your business solve?
There is a lot of scattered data out there, and in order to do proper research you need to go to a thousand different places. NEOBI generally aggregates all that data into one source and makes it accessible.
How do you solve this problem?
We solve it through our data set, which is our massive database that consists of thousands of different products and hundreds of different producers across the globe. Then we offer an API to our customers and that is how they consume the data; they write applications, websites, or use it in market research.
When did you notice a gap in the market?
We noticed it when I first heard that cannabis was going to be legal. We knew that there was going to be a flurry of new companies and brains surfacing. We wanted to organize that data and make it standard for everyone.
What is your company culture?
Pretty loose. We are a distributed lean team right now. We have two on the east coast and two in Calgary. We haven't really developed a culture yet, but I’d say it is very laid back and nothing corporate.
What draws people to you?
For customers, we are pretty unique. We don’t have many competitors besides one in the States. There has been a need and people have reached out through LinkedIn and our website to say that there is a really big need for a cannabis API. So we are trying to fill the gap in that sense. On the employee side, we haven't had the pleasure to hire anyone yet, but once we get some funds we’ll be looking to hire some talent and hopefully our culture and the main mission will attract people.
Three words to describe company with?
Young, Fun, Driven.
Why did you choose The Accelerator?
Well I shopped around and there were a couple fun opportunities. This one really fits with my schedule and the business itself. There are a lot of great people here and a great culture with great opportunities.
How did you find out about it
Though word of mouth. I was talking to a couple of other entrepreneurs and they suggested it and told me that [The Accelerator] follows a silicon model.
What has your experience with the The Accelerator been like?
It has been great! I was super nervous, like I said it was my first time pitching, but getting that out of the way is a big accomplishment. Also, just being here among the community and everybody here are like-minded entrepreneurs which is great!
What the program has connected you with
So far besides all the knowledge, they put us in touch with two mentors, one from San Francisco and a CTO here in Calgary who is helping us with the SaaS model.
What has been your biggest lesson you learned while in the program?
Probably the pitching, because I don’t have a lot of public speaking experience. It was a huge help going forward as I’m going to be talking to a lot of investors, so it’s going to be very beneficial.
What has been a major accomplishment for you this year?
Probably our launch, seeing that it took probably 8 months to build. Just getting it out to the public and making them aware of our product is going to be huge.
What is next for you?
Next we are trying to raise some money so we can expand our team and hire. Besides that we have some exciting products in the pipe. We are going to do our first product on top of the API which is going to be like the Kayak of cannabis, where you’re going to be able to search 1000’s of websites at once. Something like that doesn’t exist right now so I think it will be popular.