Executive Spotlight: Oregrown’s Aviv Hadar

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Aviv Hadar CEO
Aviv Hadar CEO

Full name: Aviv Hadar

Title: Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder

Company: Oregrown Industries, Inc.

Years at current company: Six years

Education profile: Finished high school at New Trier Township in Chicago, Illinois. Accelerated rapidly in the University of Montana’s Computer Science program. Stopped attending classes to found a software company that recently celebrated its tenth year in existence. Experienced major success with the software company (www.ThinkBrilliant.com), and then transitioned over to Cannabis from the Tech sector.

Most successful professional accomplishment before cannabis: I consider two events to be pinnacle achievements prior to cannabis. 1) My software company was behind the viral “I’m with Coco” campaign that propelled Conan O’ Brien to stardom during his dispute with Jay Leno, and 2) My software company launched the original SoulPancake.com (Rainn Wilson’s social media and content platform) that was eventually acquired by Citizen Media.

https://www.fastcompany.com/1647023/next-tech-im-aviv

Company Mission: See below…

About Oregrown: Oregrown is a standout among brands. As Oregon’s premier farm-to-table cannabis company, the Oregrown team cultivates using organic methods and processes world-class products in the pursuit of unparalleled craftsmanship in every facet of their supply chain. As the first, exclusive Oregon producer for PAX Era, Oregrown’s cultivation and extraction professionals craft several of the state’s premier dispensary products including their own lines of Oregrown flower, extracts, and concentrates. Oregrown’s award-winning flagship dispensary located in downtown Bend, Oregon, an outdoor recreation destination and tourism capital of the Pacific Northwest, has been named Best Budtender (2019), Best Place to Work (2017), Bend’s Best Place to Visit for First Dispensary Experience (2016), and Bend’s Best Dispensary five years in a row (2015-2019).

Coming soon: Portland Flagship Retail (Winter 2019), Cannon Beach Retail (2020), and Eugene Retail (2020).

Company’s most successful achievement: This is also hard to articulate into one achievement. Since we founded the business, we have won Best Dispensary Five Years in a Row in our hometown of Bend, Oregon. We have been voted Best Place to Work for two years in a row. We have been voted Startup of the Year by the Bend Chamber of Commerce and we continue to stay strong and consistent in a consistently difficult market.

Has the company raised any capital (yes or no): Yes. The company has successfully raised capital. From Retail Expansion to Brand and IP, and Wholesale and CPG development, we continue to offer lucrative investment vehicles and mechanisms and platforms for potential investors.

if so, how much?: We do not disclose exact fundraising numbers.

Any plans on raising capital in the future? Our financial modeling and current capital raises have been through private placement and family offices. These investments have been made based on sound business principles, core assets, structured management, and competent leadership. A deluge of institutional capital is waiting on Federal Guidance before flooding the sector. We have been contacted by many of those firms.

Most important company 5 year goal: Growth and profitability. If the perfect M&A transaction emerges, to take the ride

Not that vertically integrated Oregrown, one of the early leaders in developing a brand identity in Oregon cannabis, hasn’t faced its own challenges.

In 2018, its processing operation was sanctioned by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission for violations related to illegally having hemp on the premises and misleading regulators. Then came a legal battle with its former head grower that featured accusations of not just a failed crop, but anti-Semitic attacks.

Regulatory violations knotted into the case led to more OLCC sanctions, including a lengthy grow-license suspension.

But the litigation was settled this spring with warm statements from both sides, helping clear a path ahead, Hadar said. He credited Chief Financial Officer Ray Adams with keeping the company on course.

“There isn’t a better CFO in cannabis,” Hadar said of Adams, who was CFO at Oregon Steel Mills for years, including when it was acquired by Evraz Group in 2007 for $2.3 billion.

“Compare him to the CFO at Canopy Growth,” Hadar said. “I’ll take my guy.”

Canopy Growth is one of the biggest of the Canadian cannabis companies (it has a tangential reach into Oregon). For what it’s worth, Canopy’s guy used to be CFO for the $3 billion wine and spirits arm of Constellation Brands, a major Canopy investor.

Anyway, the bold assessment is par for the course for Hadar. He’s a man given to superlatives. “Massive” seems to be a favorite word.

He talks of the company’s “four massive flagship” outlets doing “massive” revenue.

Mind you, there’s one currently operating store, in Bend. Some might consider it the flagship, but, yes, Hadar puts stores in Portland, Cannon Beach and Eugene that are expected to open before Christmas in that category as well.

To back up the revenue optimism, he points to a record of success in Bend, where sales have been “consistently above $4 million” a year, he said. He’s forecasting getting to $5.5 million in Eugene, $2.6 million in Cannon Beach and $7 million in Portland.

To put that into context, Oregon’s 650-plus licensed outlets totaled about $700 million in sales in the past 12 months. In other words, Oregrown isn’t expecting merely average sales.

“Our store across from the Portland Rock Gym is going to be insane,” Hadar said. It’s not just the location and what he views as the power of the Oregrown brand that fuel his excitement. The vape-cartridge maker Pax — widely respected in the Oregon industry amid suspicions that cheap, counterfeit hardware could be unsafe — is doing a unique store-within-the-store, adding interest and marketing muscle.

As a grower, processor and product manufacturer, Oregrown has revenue streams — and costs and vulnerabilities, of course — beyond its retail operations. Hadar said the company is in the black now on sales around $12 million to $15 million, and he sees revenue rising to at least $22 million within 18 months.

His message: Oregon cannabis can still be a growth play. Maybe even a massive one.

“It isn’t all about glut and desperately needing to do those share-only Canadian transactions,” he said.

Article Link: https://www.greenmarketreport.com/executive-spotlight-oregrowns-aviv-hadar/

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