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This Exec Drove Red Bull Sales Of $150M In Canada; Now He's Infusing Hemp Into Foods And Beverages

Alex Oleinic

The popularity of cannabis in the United States and Canada has attracted a number of executives from other industries into this new and fast-growing space. One of these executives is Jim Bailey, who is the CEO and President of Phivida Holdings Inc (OTC: PHVAF), a food and beverage company that focuses on CBD.

Prior to joining Phivida in 2017, Bailey served in leadership positions in a number of companies, such as Wolverine World Wide, Blue Goose Pure Foods and Package Apparel. However, one of his most important roles was at Red Bull Canada. As the General Manager and President, Bailey helped the popular energy drink enter the Canadian market in early 2000s and grow the brand’s annual sales to over $150 million.

Benzinga sat down with Bailey to talk about Phivida and how his experience in navigating Red Bull through the Canadian market relates to his current role.

Phivida Vs. Red Bull

Bailey considers there are many parallels between the introduction of energy drinks in Canada and the legalization of cannabis.

“[...] but the two most obvious are that we are entering the traditional consumer packaged goods space as a disruptor, and that there is unbelievable pent up demand from retailers and consumers. If you look back at 2004 in Canada, the Energy drink category didn’t even exist - and now compare that to the demand today," he told Benzinga.

Until 2004 energy drinks were not allowed in the Canadian market.

Another similarity that can be drawn at the brand level between Phivida and Red Bull is the involvement of both brands in different sporting activities. While Red Bull is mostly involved in all sorts of action or extreme sports, Bailey sees Phivida going the other way.

“[...] with Phivida's products we are looking beyond action sports and into team sports as well as individual sports such as yoga. We are also looking at those focused on mindfulness and meditation, along with general fitness and health experts to round off our ambassador program," said Bailey.

How Phivida Sets Itself Apart

The legalization of cannabis and hemp-derived CBD has created a lot of competition, which means companies have to work that much more to keep their products apart from other brands. Phivida is no exception. The company aims to create not only high quality but also reliable products.

That’s why they are following strict testing protocols, “both in terms of pre-production, testing CBD for potency and contaminates, and post-production,” Bailey said. This approach allows Phivida to ensure that “the levels of active ingredients such as CBD are accurate and reflect the dosage that is on the label.”

Another thing that Phivida does is using something called “Active Hemp Extract.”

“Active hemp extract is our way of communicating to customers that we use a broad-spectrum extract blend from the Hemp plant. Make no mistake, CBD is definitely the primary focus in our extract, we just feel that it’s important to be clear that we are not using a CBD isolate in any of our products," Bailey said.

What The Future Holds

The company is focused on continuously expanding. It’s developing new products, such as a line of CBD pet products announced in early May. Phivida also recently acquired Canadian e-commerce technology firm, Wikala.com to expand the visibility of its brands and reach a wider audience.

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