Dear Friends and Partners,
2017 has been a tremendous year for the cannabis industry, leaving us with a lot to be thankful for this holiday season. Tax revenue from retail marijuana sales is supporting state infrastructure and education, marijuana arrests are down nationally, cannabis technology companies across all verticals are seeing increased traction and investment, and more Americans than ever are in favor of marijuana legalization and regulation.
As we look back on our first several months in business, we are grateful for the many successes and the truly incredible amount of learning that took place. We set ambitious goals for our launch year, and the results have far superseded our expectations. As we continue to plan the expansion of our business in 2018, we couldn't be more excited to be receiving innovative projects that push the boundaries of our business. In our final outreach of the year, we look back at some highlights from Blinc in 2017:
1. Incubator Companies
We started 2017 with a strong batch of companies prior to our official launch, including Enovap, ALD, and Puffmen. Big ideas were hatched, innovative products were born, and distribution efforts were scaled to the next level. In 2018, we are now at full capacity for our inaugural incubation period, with the latest and final additions being VapeXhale, Itsuwa, and PotBotics.
2. Big Apple Launch Cruise
On October 18, under the dazzling lights of the NYC skyline, The Blinc Group kicked off its official launch with a rockin’ yacht party. Vapor and cannabis industry leaders, entrepreneurs, investors and influencers from all over the world joined together to sail around our beautiful city and take over the night on the super yacht named the Hornblower Hybrid. The weather was perfect, the turnout was stupendous, and the event was an overwhelming success. See video highlights here.
3. Seed funding closed
In early October, we successfully closed our first financing round. With an infusion of US-based private capital, we deployed these funds in day-to-day operations. Securing this initial round of funding allowed us to further establish the company's leadership in the vapor and cannabis industries. In order to capitalize on the upward momentum for the incubator, we channeled a significant part of the financing to expanding our distribution partnerships, as well as developing research assets and white papers to further assist member companies in their go-to market strategies.
4. Blinc acquires Puffmen
The Blinc Group has acquired Puffmen, a leading distributor of curated collections of vapor and cannabis hardware represented across the US and Europe. After completing the incubator program, Puffmen was fully acquired by The Blinc Group to provide us with a platform that guarantees the distribution of products that we believe in under our strict supervision and support. The platform will focus exclusively on improving the end user experience and scaling adoption of vape as a safe cannabis consumption alternative.
5. Partnership with 420 Wholesale Pack
Puffmen has partnered with 420 Wholesale Pack, the leading wholesaler of packaging, supplies, vaporizer products, jars, vials, tubes, labels, bags, and concentrate packaging. The objective of the partnership is to:
- Develop Puffmen's footprint and curated approach to vape products to the West Coast
- Expand Puffmen's portfolio of ancillary cannabis supply products to cover every aspect of industry needs.
6. European Union Representation
We have laid the foundation for The Blinc Group's expansion into the European Union, as part of a strategic initiative to identify key technologies as well as to better serve the growing demand in the region for best-in-class vape and cannabis services. The expansion is led by our EU representatives, spearheaded by cannabis industry veteran Jean-Pierre Ceccaldi and supported by scientific advisor Marie Harang-Eltz, PhD.
7. Partnership & Year End Event with MJBA
The Blinc Group has joined forces with the Marijuana Business Association (MJBA), the leading B2B trade association for businesses in the legal cannabis and hemp markets. The goals of the partnership are to:
- Support the healthy and informed growth of the industry;
- Expand the reach of The Blinc Group's education and awareness programs on vapor safety and the practical applications of vapor tech; and
- Provide ongoing lobbying support in developing states.
On December 8th, MJBA held a Holiday Meetup and Mixer at The Blinc Group offices in NYC. The event featured a compelling mix of leaders from all sectors of the industry, as well as interested newcomers than included investors, entrepreneurs, and media. The turnout was double what was expected, leading us to plan a series of events in 2018.
8. Partnership with Manna Robotics
Puffmen has partnered with Manna Robotics, a Massachusetts-based group of cannabis scientists and researchers who, among many other things, have developed a robust automation solution for vape cartridge production. This new product line fills a massive industry void that has thus far only been addressed by overseas companies with poor quality standards. Manna Robotics and Puffmen have created a turnkey solution for the entire legal cannabis industry, to be announced in January 2018.
9. East Coast R&D Facility
To further strengthen and expand our vapor technology research and development efforts, The Blinc Group has partnered with an R&D and manufacturing facility in Connecticut that enables us to prototype, pilot, and mass produce high quality products at competitive costs even when compared to industry standard Chinese manufacturers. Led by engineer and innovator Darin Zoffoli, the team has already developed a number of devices, with the NiceSteams vaporizer pen leading the way.
10. Blinc Joins the New Jersey Cannabis Industry Association
In an ongoing dedication to advancing cannabis legalization, The Blinc Group has joined the New Jersey Cannabis Industry Association. Our active involvement with the state of NJ and the NJCIA revolves around informing and supporting sensible policy, responsible industry development, and the growth of a legalized cannabis-based economy in our neighbor state. We look forward to further fruitful collaboration in 2018.
On that note, we'd like to wish you and your loved ones a wonderful holiday season. We couldn't be more excited for what's to come.
The Blinc Group