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?
Growing up, Gordon spent winters at his family home in Colorado, where the cannabis industry has gone more mainstream.
"I was, and still am, surprised to see that cannabis is sold in plastic baggies, repurposed plastic pop-top containers and other methods that more closely mirror the days where cannabis was only available on a street corner," the founder told CNBC.
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.
The Bureau wholesales to dispensaries, including California medical marijuana dispensary Harborside Health Center, as well as direct to consumers via its new website.
Read more: Booze on the move
The start-up is preselling jars, cases, tubes and bags made with embossed glass, treated woods, hidden compartments and even odor-proof and child-resistant features. For direct consumers, the site prices items from $6 to upward of $16. The Bureau team designs the products internally, joining with suppliers in Canada, Spain, Germany and Asia to produce the full lineup.
Gordon said he has a lot of products in the pipeline, but is focusing mostly on child-resistant solutions. He told CNBC he expects to fire up a full product line of 12 finished accessories in early 2015.
According to ArcView Market Research, the legal marijuana market value should hit $2.6 billion by the end of 2014. But The Bureau is not alone in the packaging space.
Other players include Pottles, which makes airtight, smell-proof pot containers and Stink Sack, which offers child-resistant pot packaging. But, Gordon said he believes the market lacks packaging solutions for dispensaries trying to position themselves as a premium brand.
So far, The Bureau's success reflects this growing market. Under the company's former name Rodawg, the start-up sold 50,000 tin cases and has approximately $200,000 in revenue. The founder projects The Bureau to be profitable at the end of its first year.
Self-funded with $60,000, and one angel investment of $500,000, the start-up will engage in its first round funding this month. Gordon told CNBC he aims to raise a total of $2.6 million with a $1 million tranche in Series A. Founded in early 2012, The Bureau is headquartered in New York with two full-time employees.
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