On March 28, 2019, trading of shares of P&P Ventures was halted as the company prepared to merge with ManifestSeven, change its name and ticker, and jump to the Canadian Securities Exchange. The new company is ManifestSeven Holdings, with a proposed ticker of MSVN in a going-public transaction that is receiving good support as measured by a recent capital raise of $15 million, three times the targeted amount. This has been followed by another $5 million in overallotments.
Why The Buzz? The Business
ManifestSeven, or M7 for short, is looking to rattle the industry with a fully integrated business model where the company has a role in every part of the supply chain, whether for THC, CBD or ancillary products. While certainly not apples-for-apples in scale, think about a company like Amazon.com (NASDAQ: AMZN) to get a better picture of the plan. That e-commerce juggernaut has its hands in everything, from manufacturing to brick-and-mortar stores, including a massive distribution network with hubs littered across the country and travelled by a fleet of distribution trucks, delivery vehicles, and more.
With one fell swoop, and backed by brilliant leadership and investor support, the one-time book peddler simply re-shaped the whole retail sales industry.
As the legal cannabis industry evolves in the U.S., ManifestSeven (which is headquartered, appropriately, in Commerce, California) is pioneering the establishment of an Omnichannel Superhighway for commercial cannabis. To that end, ManifestSeven is acquiring licenses, trucks, and warehouses as it sets up the requisite infrastructure for logistics and transport of cannabis through legal corridors.
The initial focus is throughout California, arguably the biggest legal cannabis market in the world, including supplying its own retail locations and that of others. The company is presently expanding its logistics and industrial space by 150% to 100,000 square feet across California, Colorado and Arizona, with expectations for the expansion to be completed by the end of summer.
In building its network, ManifestSeven has assembled an impressive group of companies, including Hippie Butler, White Coat Hemp Co., Weden, CM Smoke Supply, Puff Pack and many more. Most recently, MyJane, founded by seasoned venture capitalist and entrepreneur Kimberly Kovacs, was added to the roster. ManifestSeven, then known as MJIC, acquired MyJane, a wellness technology platform designed to curate personalized cannabis experiences for women and deliver it privately to their homes, in February.
Kovacs, who has raised more than $130 million for her ventures, is still serving as President of MyJane, a true value-add to an already strong M7 team.
The company even has its own real estate investment vehicle, named Vicinity. This is a JV between ManifestSeven and a network of high-net worth investors formed to acquire, develop, and manage properties leased to licensed entities owned and controlled by ManifestSeven. Vicinity has backed the acquisitions of a distribution and delivery center in Oakland and a distribution center in Long Beach, adding them to the company’s other strategically placed hubs.
While the bread-and-butter of the company is commerce (both B2B and B2C), its portfolio of services are diversified to support the entire supply chain, including compliance, accounting, marketing, and investing offerings as well. Sound a little familiar to the diversified AMZN model with its Amazon Web Services?
Why The Buzz? The Team
To build and scale the operations in which M7 is continuously investing, it takes a team seasoned in all areas of business. The company has this covered, with an aggregate of approximately 60 years of experience in the cannabis space and centuries of relevant experience across business development, banking, venture capital, real estate, product development, marketing and e-commerce.
The experience underscores the company completing over 330,000 retail transactions to more than 75,000 customers.
Sturges Karban serves as CEO at M7, and has built an impressive C.V. since graduating Harvard 19 years ago, with experience in investment banking and as an entrepreneur. In addition to working at Robertson Stephens and Jefferies & Company, he co-founded and sold a residential real estate development company in Connecticut in just two years. He also served as COO and Director for Cutting Edge Music Services, where he was instrumental in structuring a portfolio of business that invest in the music publishing and master recording rights of the music created for feature films and television programs. Today, the group manages more than $100 million in IP assets. Furthermore, Karban co-founded the international boutique consultancy Meridian Advisors before joining MJIC in 2014 and taking the top executive spot in 2017.
President Urban Smedeby started as a consultant to the company in 2014 before coming on board full time in 2015, bringing more than 25 years of investment banking and fund management experience with early-stage companies to M7. During his career, which has included co-founding two boutique investment banking companies, Smedeby has completed more than 150 equity and debt structure transactions. Among other accomplishments, he co-managed Instream Capital LLC, a convertible debt fund that was a component of a $4 billion hedge fund.
CFO Jordan Gerber joined M7 via MJIC’s acquisition of CFO Worldwide and Panther Micro Opportunity Fund I in 2016. A CPA and recognized financial boffin, Gerber has acted as an outsourced CFO for more than 100 companies with collective revenues of over $500 million.
COO Pierre Rouleau is the elder statesman of the group and boasts repeated successes in the cannabis industry. He previously served as Chairman and COO of Green Light District Holdings, more commonly known as ShowGrow, where he was integral in that company’s expansion of its dispensary strategy into multiple locations ranging from Los Angeles and Las Vegas.
CIO Dmitry Gordeychev, a graduate of the Leonard N. Stern School of Business at New York University, went straight from college to positions (Analyst, Associate, and Associate Vice President of Investments) at CIM Group, a California-based private equity real estate fund manager with over $19 billion in AUM. In 2012, Gordeychev joined Karban at Meridian as a Managing Partner.
Corporate Secretary Lawrence Horwitz, who earned his law degree at the venerable University of California at Berkeley, brings a wealth of legal expertise to M7. A founding partner in Horwitz + Armstrong, which specializes in corporate finance and securities regulation, he has practiced, co-founded, and/or made partner at various law firms across his 30-year legal career. Horwitz is admitted to the United States Federal District Court, Central District of California, and the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit.
For the sake of brevity, we won’t go into the board of directors, which includes executives from companies acquired by M7, business professionals and entrepreneurs, including the likes of Scott Wessler, who was previously a Director of Product Development at Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS) and VP of Product Development at Local.com.
The Day is Coming…
After receiving shareholder approval to merge with P&P in April, it is only a matter of time before we see ManifestSeven listed on the CSE. At that point, the company will have a leadership position as a public cannabis play looking to change the landscape by owning the entire supply chain. The management team exemplifies how cannabis is transitioning from the black market to the board room, with the cannabis and business veterans at M7 more than amply suited to execute on the vision.
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