Posts by Joanna Weinstein

  • Pot start-up rolls out accessories

    Joanna Weinstein at Power Pitch 19 days ago

    Time for the marijuana industry to get a makeover, says Josh Gordon, founder and CEO of e-commerce start-up The Bureau.

    He's weeding out tie-dye and leaf graphics for chic new designs. The 27-year-old said he has high hopes to "raise the standards for the [marijuana] industry," and nix the black-market feel.

    "Whether we're talking about a grandmother dealing with [the] side effects of chemotherapy, or a modern professional that consumes recreationally, they deserve to be treated like the high-value consumer they are," said Gordon.

    Watch this entrepreneur pitch his pot packaging to a panel with Troy Dayton, CEO of ArcView Group, a firm that connects investors to pot start-ups, David Dinenberg, founder and CEO of KindBanking, and Wendy Robbins, producer and director of "The Marijuana Show." Will the panel be in or nip his start-up in the bud?

    Lighting up

    Growing up, Gordon spent winters at his family home in Colorado, where the cannabis industry has gone more mainstream.

    While working on his MBA in New York in 2011, Gordon founded a start-up called Rodawg. This month he changed the name to The Bureau, referencing a storage cabinet.

    Pot profits


  • Start-up packs macho in a box

    Joanna Weinstein at Power Pitch 19 days ago

    One man says he's created the perfect bromance between a crate and a crowbar. "We hand select stuff that guy's love ... pack it into wooden crates, and send every crate with a crowbar," Jonathan Beekman told CNBC.

    Beekman founded, a company curating gifts solely for men. Its tag line: "We build awesome gifts."

    Watch Beekman give his 60-second pitch to an expert panel with Nikhil Kalghatgi, Vast Ventures partner; Kelly Hoey, Cuurio's chief marketing officer; and Paul Cianciolo, FirstMark Capital vice president. Will his start-up be one giant leap for mankind? Or will the panel call it not so "awesome."

    Gear, gadgets & grub

    "Most people end up settling for a 'consolation gift' like a gift card and get really depressed when their gifts land flat," Beekman told CNBC.

    He founded Man Crates in October 2011, with the manifesto "We say 'no' to ugly neckties, cologne samplers and executive trinkets. We don't save wrapping paper, we don't do ribbons."

    Read more: Honey, I'm Spicy!

    Manning up

  • Honey, I’m Spicy!

    Joanna Weinstein at Power Pitch 1 mth ago

    Attention hot sauce enthusiasts. Entrepreneur Casey Elsass has an announcement: "I love you Sriracha, but spicy honey is the next big thing."

    At 28, Casey Elsass quit his administrative job at the Metropolitan Opera in New York to co-found condiment start-up MixedMade in Brooklyn with his good friend Morgen Newman. Their first product is Bees Knees Spicy Honey, made from just honey and chili pepper.

    Watch co-founder Elsass make his pitch for the sweet and spicy condiment in just 60 seconds to a "Power Pitch" panel with Alexander Smalls, executive chef at The Cecil, Rohan Oza, founder and CEO of Idea Merchants Capital, and Richard Demb, Abe's Market co-founder. Will the panel call it the "bee's knees," or will MixedMade get stung?

    Sugar & Spice

    Elsass said brand named condiments are chock full of low-quality ingredients. "Food and life should be unexpected and unboring," he said.  

    Elsass said there is no "secret ingredient," but he keeps the mixture of the three types of chili peppers a secret. He suggests hot honey lovers drizzle his Bees Knees on ice-cream, pizza, eggs or even cornbread.

    Heating up

  • Start-up calling on 2-year-old authors

    Joanna Weinstein at Power Pitch 2 mths ago

    One mom says she has the solution to that growing pile of kiddie art.  

    "The average child brings home 800 pieces of artwork by the end of the elementary school years. What do you do with it all?" asked Carolyn Lanzetta.

    The answer avoids storage and overcrowded fridge doors. Instead Lanzetta co-founded Plum Print, a start-up transforming artwork into custom coffee-table books. And she told CNBC she's been profitable from Day One.

    The founder had 60 seconds to paint her big picture to a panel with Rothenberg Ventures Partner Fran Hauser, Mommy Blogger Kristin Quinn and Pipeline Fellowship founder and CEO, Natalia Oberti Noguera. Will she draw the panel in? Click the video below to find out.

    Trader turned art entrepreneur

    Lanzetta spent the early days of her career trading on Wall Street, but told CNBC she always dreamed of running her own business.

    Although Lanzetta said it took her roughly 40 hours of work to make just one book, the idea was a big hit among friends.

    "It was clear that we had hit a significant pain point," she said.

  • Couching pricey high-end furniture

    Joanna Weinstein at Power Pitch 2 mths ago

    Aamir Baig’s company puts a new business model on the table — luxury furniture at an affordable price. Baig cofounded e-commerce furniture start-up, Bryght, which he projects will hit $5 million in revenue by the end of this year.

    “We’re like Warby Parker for furniture,” he told CNBC.

    Baig had 60 seconds to pitch his “bryght” idea on a very well furnished panel with Judy George, owner of home branding and design firm Judy George International, Stephanie Palmeri, a principal at SoftTech VC, and Maxwell Ryan, founder of “Apartment Therapy.” Will Baig’s pitch floor the panel or will they dim out his idea? Watch the video to find out.

    Bryght beginnings

    Back in 2006, Baig’s friend Andy Prochazka visited a trade show in China. While there, Prochazka noticed the disparity between manufacturer sale prices and retail prices. He found the gap particularly significant in the high-end furniture sector.

    During the Power Pitch segment, Stephanie Palmeri asked Baig explain Bryght’s shipping costs, as well as customer expectations on speed of delivery.

    RELATED: Start-up says it’s redesigning interior design

  • Hey, four eyes! A start-up's new vision for eyewear

    Joanna Weinstein at Power Pitch 3 mths ago

    Eyeglass wearers unite. One recent MBA graduate is rebelling against the high cost—and high maintenance—of prescription eyewear.

    "It's time for glasses to change," Konrad Billetz said.

    Billetz founded start-up, Frameri, in July, with one mission: "No more changing frames every time your prescription changes or overpaying for glasses."

    Billetz had 60 seconds to pitch his big vision to a panel with Maveron Partner David Wu; Cuurio Chief Marketing Officer Kelly Hoey; and University of Pennsylvania's E-Commerce Professor, David Bell.

    Will the panel see his big idea clearly or be out on his new look? Watch the video above to find out.

    Framing the business

    Billetz started wearing bulky, corrective lenses at age 11—after a childhood friend accidentally shot him in the eye with a BB gun.  Eventually, he got tired of wearing the same glasses every day but couldn't find a style he liked.

    Now his e-commerce start-up, Frameri, offers interchangeable lenses and frames. Billetz hopes to make changing eyewear as easy as changing your outfit.

    "We design glasses for actual glasses wearers," he told CNBC.

    Eyeing the competition

  • Bringing 'sexy' back to lingerie

    Joanna Weinstein at Power Pitch 3 mths ago

    No more granny panties, says Stefanie Mnayarji, co-founder of lingerie start-up Luxxie Boston. Mnayarji left a career in quantitative finance to face a new equation: how to highlight a woman's sexy curves without compromising style or comfort.

    "You can think of us as Agent Provocateur meets Under Armour," Mnayarji said. "In the year 2014 women deserve to no longer have to torture themselves to look good."

    The company launched a Kickstarter campaign six weeks ago, and Mnayarji said Luxxie Boston broke through its funding goal by 211 percent. But will our "Power Pitch" panelists get behind the start-up?

    Watch Stefanie Mnayraji show off her big idea in just 60 seconds to the panel of angel investor Divya Gugnani, Cuurio Chief Marketing Officer Kelly Hoey and FirstMark capital founder Lawrence Lenihan. The segment was hosted by CNBC's Mandy Drury. Will this founder slip up or will her sexy pitch sell? Watch the above video to find out.

    Shaping Up

    Mnayarji told CNBC she was tired of adjusting her skirt and dealing with other wardrobe malfunctions during the workday.

      Busting through the competition


  • Stuffed animals designed by your kid

    Joanna Weinstein at Power Pitch 4 mths ago

    Alex Furmansky's little sister, Michelle, would come home from school with creative artwork. The family would display it on the fridge for a few days, but soon the drawings wound up in the attic. Meanwhile, Michelle would be entertained by her collection of stuffed animals.

    "I dreamed of a way of combining her original art with her love for plush toys," said Furmansky. So after toying with the idea for several months, he founded the start-up, Budsies.

    Watch Alex Furmansky show off his custom toys in just 60 seconds to a Power Pitch panel with former toy retail executive, Rachel Jarrett, President of K'Nex Brands, Michael Araten, and co-founder and COO of Expansion VC, Ryan Melohn. Will the panelists be buddy-buddy with Budsies or call it child's play?

    Paper to Plush

    Furmansky is no toymaker. But he said he's partnered with some top designers to create an online destination for designing custom plush toys. And he's made it pretty easy. Customers just snap a picture of the artwork and email Next, a team of designers, cutters, and seamstresses coordinate to complete the final Budsies plush toy.

  • Bottoms up! Start-up says taking a shot is good for your health

    Joanna Weinstein at Power Pitch 4 mths ago

    One man says he has the answer to making sure you get the all the daily vitamin intake you need without ever taking a pill again.  

    Ray Doustdar is the CEO and founder of Buiced Inc., which produces a liquid multi-vitamin which he claims gives your body 100 percent daily value of vitamins from in a single 1-ounce dosage.

    "I'm just trying to help people get their vitamins on a daily basis," said the founder.

    Doustdar had just 60 seconds to Power Pitch his big idea to a panel of experts with Dr. David Katz, founding director at Yale University's Prevention Research Center; Richard Demb, CEO of Abe's Market; and Nikhil Kalghatgi, a partner at Vast Ventures.

    Will his pitch be "Buiced" enough to get our panelists going? Click the video above to find out.

    A hard pill to swallow

    In 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that more of half of U.S. adults use dietary supplements--including multivitamins, minerals and herbs. Doustdar was one of these multivitamin takers, but said he never enjoyed swallowing those "horse pills."

    "I would get nauseated each and every time that I would take pill form vitamins," he said.

  • Start-up takes the sharing economy out to sea

    Joanna Weinstein at Power Pitch 5 mths ago

    One start-up is trying to make a major splash in the sharing economy this summer. But instead of renting out houses and cars—this company is hitting the water.

    “There's not a boater on the planet today that gets to use their boat as often as they'd like,” Aaron Hall told CNBC. Hall is on a mission to change this with his start-up, Boatbound, a company he says will make boating more accessible and more affordable.

    Hall pitched his big idea to Power Pitch panelists Yao Huang, managing partner of The Hatchery, Kanyi Maqubela, venture partner at Collaborative Fund and Peter Isler, an internationally renowned sailor and American Sailing Association board member. Will his pitch sail the high seas with this panel or be dead in the water? Click the video above to find out.

    Boatbound beginnings

    Hall, a life-long boater, had trouble renting a boat during a family vacation. The marina said all its rental boats were booked. “Yet everywhere I looked around me, there were hundreds of boats sitting unused. I immediately saw an opportunity to solve a problem,” Hall told CNBC.

    Setting sail

    Full speed ahead

    Anchoring success

    --Additional Reporting by Erin Barry and Kelly Lin