Michael Bronfein got his start as a butcher in a family supermarket. Since then, he has built a billion-dollar business, runs a multibillion-dollar private equity fund, and is now operating a growing wellness company with an emerging portfolio of cannabis-based products. The venture, Curio Wellness, will invest in over 50 startups backed by women, minorities, and disabled veteran entrepreneurs.
In this episode, you will learn:
- Starting a business with family members
- Cannabis and its many health and wellness applications
- Building your operations and model right, before scaling and expanding
- Balancing your propensity to go fast, with what your team can handle
This episode is brought to you by Gelt. As a referral from the Deal Maker’s podcast you can skip the waitlist and get priority just mention Dealmakers as your referral on the schedule a call form here.
.Tech Domains is sponsoring this episode. To unlock the special offer for the DealMakers audience, which includes 1-year domain for $10, or a 5-year domain for $50, go to go.tech/dealmakers.
For a winning deck, take a look at the pitch deck template created by Silicon Valley legend, Peter Thiel (see it here) that I recently covered. Thiel was the first angel investor in Facebook with a $500K check that turned into more than $1 billion in cash.
The Ultimate Guide To Pitch Decks
Moreover, I also provided a commentary on a pitch deck from an Uber competitor that has raised over $400 million (see it here).
Remember to unlock for free the pitch deck template that is being used by founders around the world to raise millions below.
About Michael Bronfein:
Michael is a highly effective business executive with a track record of creating businesses of scale and market leadership focused on innovation, competitive advantage, and best-in-class operating metrics in healthcare services, healthcare technologies, healthcare products, software, and distribution.
A true visionary, Michael is known for assembling highly effective management teams that result in market-leading, high-growth organizations with clear brand propositions and strong financial returns.
He has founded, co-founded, invested in, and rapidly grown a number of leading healthcare service companies, including NeighborCare, Remedi SeniorCare, Sterling Partners, and Curio Wellness.
Michael was awarded the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in 1994 for his development of the NeighborCare business model and brand. Prior to founding NeighborCare, he led commercial finance lending for Signet Bank.
Michael served as the inaugural chairman of the Senior Care Pharmacy Coalition, a Washington, DC-based advocacy organization representing long-term care pharmacy groups.
He formerly served on the advisory board of the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University and the Harvard Medical School.
Michael has been integral to the success of two initial public offerings, VISCIU and VOCUS, and served as a public company director upon completion of the offering.
He also served as Director of Bioscrip (Nasdaq) and was a member of a team that successfully turned the company around, positioning it for a highly successful merger with Option Care creating the largest Home Infusion Company in the U.S.
See How I Can Help You With Your Fundraising Efforts
- Fundraising Process : get guidance from A to Z.
- Materials : our team creates epic pitch decks and financial models
- Investor Access : connect with the right investors for your business and close them
Connect with Michael Bronfein:
Read the Full Transcription of the Interview:
Alejandro Cremades: All righty hello everyone and welcome to the deal maker show. So super excited about the guests that we have today my god he’s done it so many times on every single angle on the table that you can think of you know, even he started as a butcher you know, like in his uncle supermarket. But you know we’re gonna be learning quite a bit you know with this conversation. So.
Michael Bronfein: Um, if we get.
Alejandro Cremades: Again, you know building scaling financing you know and also exiting because he also has you know those success under his belt so without furtherdo Michael Bromfa welcome to the show.
Michael Bronfein: Thank you Andro Glad to be here.
Alejandro Cremades: So Michael give us a little of a walk through memory lane. How was life growing up in Baltimore Maryland.
Michael Bronfein: Actually it was great I grew up in a very ah, kind of middle middle class neighborhood across the street from my elementary school and my junior high school and there were lots of kids we played lots of sports and at an early age I decided that one of the things that I really liked was independent. So. I literally started working when I was 10 years old cutting lawns and then at 12 went to work for my uncle in his supermarket as you mentioned um and never look back and you know I find creating businesses and with competitive advantage and great people just a lot of fun and so. It’s really kind of both my vocation and my avocation.
Alejandro Cremades: And where is that drive that drive for independence that drive for building businesses. Where’s that coming from.
Michael Bronfein: Unquestionably my mother you know she used to tell all 3 of ah 3 of us that you can accomplish anything you want as long as you’re committed to it and and so I believed her when she told me that and in fact, by the time I was five years old she was a little frustrated with me because she would say why don’t you ever listen to me. You only do what you want to do. I said mom because that you you told me to do so so it started around 5 and it’s just gotten worse since.
Alejandro Cremades: Now in this case, you know like for you I mean accounting you know, sounds like something that you picked up, you know, even though you never dedicated yourself us. Ah, as an accountant why? why accounting out of all things.
Michael Bronfein: Well I think accounting is is kind of the basis for understanding the flow of funds and the and the activities in business and it’s almost like the plumbing in the electrical infrastructure in a building right? And so if you can understand how everything works really? Well you can make more informed decisions quicker. 1 of the things that I was fortunate to be trained on very early in my business career was finance at not just not just Accounting. Um, and so I’ve been fortunate to develop an ability to look at an an opportunity. Um. For the income statement and quickly translated into a balance sheet and capital requirements and so Forth. So It’s just a great underpinning for understanding and operating businesses.
Alejandro Cremades: Yeah, yeah, amazing all right? Michael so here we go let’s go. Let’s get. Let’s get back into it so all right? So so in in your in your case Michael you know something really interesting that I think that really shaped up. You know your your your career you know and and your way of thinking about business too is being able to work with your uncle. You know there you literally you know helped out on every direction in the supermarkets. You know that he had so so how was that for you.
Michael Bronfein: It was extraordinary I had both an uncle and a cousin who was like an older brother and they were both fabulous merchants and there’s a difference between just being a business person and being a merchant they thought about the customer and everything they did and they thought about how you build your business maintain your business and grow your business. Through the eyes of a customer and that’s really was the thing that they they gave me that was a real gift because everything I do is focused on how do we delight the customer in a way that’s more advantageous in it than our competitor whether it’s the quality of our product. The quality of our service just just the way we assure that. People know we care about how they do and what they do and and it makes a real real difference I think too often today people get internally focused and in my organization. There’s only 1 thing that matters delighting the customer period.
Alejandro Cremades: I mean in in your case when you even became the butcher. You know there I mean it’s incredible now I Guess you know you were talking about this. You know like being able to interface a lot with people and really helped you understand you know what really matters when you’re building a business I Guess about people What did you learn. Throughout that experience.
Michael Bronfein: Well I learned that first of all, if you ask them what they want. Authentically they’ll tell you and and if you give them what they want they will beat a path to your door and they and they won’t be easily pried away by competitors. Um, and so mutual respect understanding. Kindness and and really ah, empathetic listening are really important and I spend a lot of my time talking to customers because they tell me kind of what’s on their mind and and what they need in order to be successful with their customers. Ah or it could be directly with patients or. Consumers of our products that we also talk to and little nuances ah come out all the time and when those nuances come to the fore and we ask about them or I ask about them. It always provides a lot of clarity and it becomes very clear what people want what they don’t want what they’ll pay for what they won’t pay for. And when you can have that kind of data and input particularly in a real-time way. It’s a very powerful tool and as ah as I you know like to tell my team let’s just ask the customers what they want and give it to them. They’ll be happy and and I think our number 1 market position in Maryland for. Five and a half straight years is the best evidence of that it really doesn’t matter what I think it matters what they think and and they vote with their feet in their pocketbook every day and every week and we’ve been fortunate to be the biggest recipient of that in the state now for as I said five and a half years going into adult use I think that’s going to even accelerate.
Alejandro Cremades: That’s incredible now now 1 thing here that that I found interesting is that for you. You know after the supermarket experience you went at it you know and you went into banking but before really launching your first company I mean you had that independence in you since like you were saying twelve years old
Michael Bronfein: Um e.
Michael Bronfein: E.
Alejandro Cremades: What do you think? took you so long you know for for you to go through this experience then banking and then to say hey you know what now is my time to start my own business. Okay.
Michael Bronfein: I remember very clearly I was about 23 years old working for my uncle full time now I was out of college and um finished the cpa and um and I was observing different ah executives I would meet that he would do business with or I would observe him and I decided that I wanted to be a Ceo. I thought someone who was able to drive the strategy division the operational results and overall you know influence. The company was an exciting place to be because you know if you think about it, you’re in control. You’re independent right? So it kind of fed into my desire to want to follow my own. Ah, trail in my own light and um and so I then really focused on what am I going to need to do to really get good at this and and build skills and one of the reasons that I decided to become a banker was because I thought that would be a very good way to learn about a lot about businesses and a lot of businesses because. When you extend credit to someone first of all, you need to understand the drivers of their success or the drivers of their failure. You need to understand how to structure transactions that align the the loan with the business needs and the business capabilities. Um, and then you observe management behaviors. And you could see there could be 10 you know paper distributors all doing the same job and in a marketplace 2 were outstanding. 2 were failing and 6 were kind of okay in the middle.
Michael Bronfein: And so I spent my time and energy studying the two that were outstanding and and understanding what made them different and better and why they were succeeding versus their competitors who weren’t succeeding as well were not at all. Um and it was a great education I guess for. Close to 5 years I chaired a loan committee and um, you know literally heard thousands of loan requests from my loan officers and those stories always are are enlightening they provide context but they also educate you about you know, kind of mistakes people make successes they have and. Things that you can learn from that that help you make better judgments.
Alejandro Cremades: So then let’s talk about pharmacy services. You know which is your first baby. How did that come about.
Michael Bronfein: Yes, it is ah that was really that was because I became a banker. So ah when I first became a banker my my oldest daughter Wendy was born just months before I became a banker and um and my wife and I were talking about the job and the opportunity. And I kind of felt like you could make a nice living being a banker I didn’t really understand early on how lucrative it would be ah but I felt like I needed to start making some investments to put money away for college. So ah, my ah, my have a brother in law who was a pharmacist I found about an opportunity to open up a pharmacy in Baltimore City and um I went to him and said you want to go into business with me I’m going to do this deal and but I don’t know about pharmacy I know about retail merchandising and store operations. So he said? yeah so we opened up a single drugstore in Baltimore City on December Fifth of 1980 um, and I left the company nineteen years later and it was doing ah one point one billion and making about 120000000 and in operating income.
Alejandro Cremades: That’s absolutely incredible Now in this case, you know the company you guys ended up selling the business is that right? yeah.
Michael Bronfein: Yeah, we we sold we sold it in 9096 to a New York Stock exchange company in lieu of a public offering and then and then took that platform that the public company gave me and took ah what was then 200000000 and turned it into a billion one. Over the next three and a half four years it was very fast.
Alejandro Cremades: My God now now in this case for you I mean being able to go through a transaction like that I think that it probably gave you access to full visibility into how the financing cycles or the cycles lifecycles too of a company. You know, really really work from ideation to scaling to. Ah, to obviously reaching the finish line not getting getting it acquired So How was that for you having that visibility. So.
Michael Bronfein: Ah, well it was great because um, you know having been a banker um prior to to taking on neighbor care full time for many years I was a part-time Ceo during that frankly from 81 to 91 when I was running and working at the bank. Ah, you know I was I was a part-time Ceo but all along the way it allowed me to understand the matching of the assets to liability short-term to longterm making sure that the liquidity was properly planned. Um and that we looked at various ratios that were consistent with our business model that would allow us to. Ah, continue to borrow funds for expansion in a way that was safe. Didn’t bet the farm but also took advantage of big opportunities and we were fortunate because frankly back in the 80 s the commercial lending laws and the commercial lending attitude were different than they are today. So today. There’s a lot of private equity and a lot of venture capital that goes to early stages back then I could still you know basically talk people into lending me money and so I didn’t have to give up any equity.
Alejandro Cremades: Now in your case I mean the outcome was pretty pretty nice for you guys I mean it was a $55000000 exit you know on your end. So I’m sure that you were able to more than cover the school for for your daughters for Wendy and and others. Ah.
Michael Bronfein: Um, mean? Yeah, yeah, that yes it it all it all worked out fine but it also it also just inspired me to want to do more and to want to do it again and to find ways to. Create businesses that help people but also had very strong returns. So ah in in the health care field I’ve made any number of investments that have been very successful including one called Visiqueue. Um, and um and then we started another company called remedy senior care. Which today is about a $500000000 pharmacy company. so so ah not not quite finished with pharmacy yet and um, and really um, went into went into our current business. Ah, really kind of as a lark. It wasn’t something that I had planned nor did I really have any interest in until my oldest daughter Wendy. Who at the time was a Tv producer kind of talked me into it.
Alejandro Cremades: And we’ll talk about that in just a little bit now one of the things that you did is going to the other side of the table as a private equity investor. Why did you do that stop.
Michael Bronfein: Well I one one I thought that given the fact that I built a couple of businesses and understood financing and understood operations and and the intersection of both that it would be a place where I could apply my skills I could help others I could mentor people and I could make a lot of money doing it which is always a good thing. It’s never should be your first thing. But if you’re going to work hard. Why not do it where you can make more money than less and so um I knew the private equity world. Well and um and some friends of mine came to me and said ah you know we’re going to take our family office and convert into institutional investment firm. We’d like to come and join us and and you know how to do institutional investing and you’ve run a bank so you you understand portfolio management. We don’t have those skills but we’re very good investors and they and they were and are and so we we partnered up and we raised our first fund in 9099 and then through the through the next. Ah, 10 years. We we raised 7 more.
Alejandro Cremades: Now for the private equity firm I mean you guys ended up going from like 0 to like 4,000,000,000 in assets under management which is fantastic but 1 of the things there that and that I like to ask you is having been on both sides of the table now you know when you’re on the investment you know, seat. You know what were some of the patterns that you were seeing on those companies that had the magical ingredients versus don’t those that didn’t.
Michael Bronfein: People and a willingness to ah, really challenge the competency and the and the results of the people in a way that was aligned with the needs of the business and so instead of favoring people because they were loyal they favored but people because they were competent. And they would achieve their goals in prescribed timeframes and would move on to the next goal and so forth and you know one of the challenges you see in highgrowth companies is the people that started you and and and maybe got you started up may not be the people to get you to the next phase of gross or the phase after that. But. Quite often. Those people that were there with you early. You have some affinity to and so you’ve got to be able to separate your emotional ties from your intellectual, honest, assessment of is this person going to be able to perform these duties adequately to meet the needs of the business. Going forward you you can’t live to manage the business out of the rearview mirror. You’ve got to be looking through the windshield all the time and so you have to make hard decisions and um, you know one of the things I’ve seen is great executives a guy I work with named Rick Rudman I thought was one of the best ceos because he was not afraid to to make a change. Um, if someone wasn’t getting to the to the promised land if you will or if they were kind of running out of steam. They were somewhat of a one-t trick pony and as the business evolved they needed a multidimensional approach and and they didn’t have it and and Rick was always kind about it but he was he wasn’t tolerant of non-performance.
Michael Bronfein: And um, we took that company public with him and it was a huge success and he’s now building a new company that I’m sure is going to be a huge success because he just understands that you you’ve got to you got to put the right people in the right seats. Ah but those seats change and you’ve got to stay ahead of that and make sure that you’re. You’re mentoring them and coaching them but also holding them accountable and if you do that? Well first of all, you’ll build a high performing team and secondly your team will just ah, you know they’ll out hustle the competitors because they’re just working smarter not harder.
Alejandro Cremades: So in this case, you know for the private equity firm. You guys ended up getting you know 6 times the return on the amount invested so pretty good. You know it sounds like you were ready to go to the caribbean and to you know, have ah have a nice you know retirement there.
Michael Bronfein: Um, but.
Alejandro Cremades: But you know 1 thing led to the next and you receive a phone call from your daughter. So what happened there.
Michael Bronfein: Well, it was ah I retired at the kind of the end of ah 12 and was down in Florida my home there and kind of playing golf and managing some real estate and I got this call and she said dad I want you to go into business with me and I said we call her wb I said wb what do you mean to do she goes. Want to go into the medical cannabis business I said what do you out of your mind like why would I want to do that you know I’m in the pharmaceutical business and ah and she goes well I think it’s going to be a big opportunity I think there’s ah, a lot of things we can do to make a difference in people’s lives you understand pharmaceuticals you understand how to build businesses. I understand branding and marketing and I think the two of us could do ah a great job together and um after that that october of 13 call it took until about March of 14 that I started to really take it seriously and that occurred when I called a neuroscientist that I knew that I was on a board with. And I said have lunch with me and I want to chat he did I asked him about cannabis he said it’s a miracle plant and the only reason it’s not in wide use is because the federal government has falsely vilified its qualities and hasn’t allowed proper research. And that was really that that from that day on I started spending my time talking to doctors and scientists and horticulturists to figure out what to do ultimately put together a team of 5 people. We did research around the world for about twelve months and then we built our business plan.
Alejandro Cremades: And how was it like you know going into business with your daughter. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Michael Bronfein: With my daughter. Yeah yeah, it was ah exciting. It was enlightening. It was frustrating. It was all the things you would expect between a father and a daughter we have a very close family. So I’m very close with my.
Alejandro Cremades: So.
Michael Bronfein: 3 grown children and have been their whole lives and they’re close with me so part of the the challenge is you know when you have to tell one of your children because all 3 of them are in the business now that when Rebecca our middle daughter and David our son have joined the business over the years in key positions and ah but when you have to tell them that. You’re not pleased with their performance. It’s always a little bit tricky and as good as they are and as competent as they are. They’re still ah based on my experience pretty young, right? I’m a lot older than them and have done a lot more and and now I’m asking them to step up into new roles and do things they’ve never done before. And they’re very bright and they they will work. You know endlessly but making them work smarter and understanding nuance and developing whisman areas is a place that you know I’ve tried to spend a lot of time with them and they’ve rewarded me with just great performance. But you know it it is it is challenging and but. Candidly I believe that if you have my last name you have to work smarter than harder than anybody else if you want to be part of the organization because you’re a reflection of me and b you got the opportunity because of nepotism. Yeah let’s let’s be honest and ah, that doesn’t mean you’re not worthy of it doesn’t mean you can’t do the job. But I believe you have to be held to a higher standard and and I’m proud to say that all 3 of my fully grown children who are part of this business are among the top performers in the company and I think if you interviewed anybody off the street and you said you work at cura wellness and you asked about 1 of the the 3 of them. They’d say they’re just great. You know they just.
Michael Bronfein: They do their jobs really really well and they’re very committed to the sex the mission and the success of the company.
Alejandro Cremades: And you know there is this Book. It’s called the founder’ Dilemma. It’s a great book and on that book the author talks about you know the trickiness of going into business with family members just because. You know sometimes you don’t want to hurt you know their feelings and in the end you know by not giving that tough love or or really being authentic or or transparent with what’s going on you know to avoid Hurting. You know their feelings then you know in the end you know that could be catastrophic too. So I mean anything that you’ve learned. Maybe. In the communication side of things you know with your children. You know when being in business with them.
Michael Bronfein: Well I think yes, very much. So First of all I think you have to be very honest with them about what you like and what you don’t like and you have to give them the underpinning reason why what they have done or haven’t done is not in the business’s interest or in their self-interest. Um, and you have to Then. Kind of help them understand where they need to go and why and and then how to get there sometimes you need to give them some additional resources to train him or develop them and sometimes that’s better off not being you Um, but honesty is always the best policy and it’s not to be delivered kind of in a. Ah, nuanced matter that you may have to interpret. It should be very direct very clear but very polite and so you know when anybody who works with me knows I’m very direct but I’m very polite and so I can tell you you’ve done a terrible job but I will do it with a smile and in in a very courteous manner but you know, um. I Had a boss once said to me, you know, like if if ah if ah, you don’t do your job. It affects me and I don’t want to get fired So Go do your job right? and so that’s kind of what I say to them is like if I got to do your job I don’t need you So Go do your job and um and one of the things that we do.
Alejandro Cremades: So.
Michael Bronfein: I think particularly well as we said, very specific objectives and metrics for what that means to do your job for pretty much everyone in the organization.
Alejandro Cremades: So for the people that are listening that will love to get an understanding on on what core wellness. You know it’s all about what’s the business model. How are you guys making money. Yeah.
Michael Bronfein: Ah, we are. We are a science based ah producer of innovative products derived from cannabis that’s different than being a cannabis company because our focus isn’t cannabis our focus is health and wellness and using all of the magical qualities of the of the cannabis plant. Ah, in ah in a more traditional scientifically derived manner. So we have a large scientific board. We have a very significant product innovation team with pharmacologists computational chemists analytical chemists ah other other biologists people that understand chemistry in the plant and. Um, and we work hard to determine how the cannabinoids in the plant can be isolated applied to a particular health indication or need um and then measured for effectiveness. So all of our products are first scientifically derived then clinically tested. Um, and I’m proud to say right now we have 4 patents pending one’s about to get issued and 3 others but we’ve really made some breakthroughs that are making the use of the Cannamina is more effective. For example, we have a ah Ibd or ibs pill. You know, irritable bow. Ah that is a pulse release. Of cbg cbd cbns t hc and some other other plant-based materials. Um, and it’s very very effective and it’s competing now with biologics you know which are very expensive and which have many other side effects. Ah.
Michael Bronfein: The the nice part about cannabis is it plays very well in the physiological sandbox. It doesn’t have negative effects on kidneys or liver or lungs or hearts or really anything that that I’ve been able to see or or or our science has discovered that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist but it it may take a much longer period of time. But I can tell you that it does have a very powerful ability to affect inflammation and pain. Um, and and also to some extent reduce anxiety so we’ve we’ve seen some very very fine results with sleep products. Ah, with topical pain products for joint pain and arthritis for gi products. So so we’re building a pretty large portfolio of products right now I think we have about one hundred and forty different individual Sk use in our portfolio. It’s by far the largest in Maryland but it’s all about. Wellness and and we’re very true to that and even as we move into adult use. We want to be known as the wellness company that you can just get anywhere because you don’t need a card now.
Alejandro Cremades: Now now obviously for this operation you guys have had to raise some money So how much capital have you guys raised for this.
Michael Bronfein: Um, I’ve raised 52,000,000 in common equity to date in 2 raises original a $30000000 one another 22 and almost all of that money has gone to physical assets. We haven’t burned very much cash at all. In fact, we’ve been profitable since. October of 2018. So once we once we got through startup we opened up in in December of 17 and approximately ten months later we were profitable. We’ve been profitable ever since we’re actually about to ah or we actually have launched a $10000000 preferred round. Um, to fund our expansion into missouri we were the first company that I’m aware of in the united states that actually got traditional bank financing for mortgages so we were able to get a $26000000 mortgage for our expanded manufacturing and cultivation facility in maryland in 2021 early 21 and then ah cfg bank who is a wonderful bank has given us. Ah ah the same type of ah financing for our move into missouri so we have ah we have 100 so sixty five thousand square foot cultivation facility in maryland and a fifty five thousand square foot manufacturing center which is gp certified. Meaning that it meets all the fda requirements for for ah food or drug manufacturing. We’re building a um, 130000 square foot facility of equal quality and certification and competency in missouri which will open up in september so we’re very fortunate. We’re the only company I and would know of.
Michael Bronfein: That is actually in Maryland and Missouri at the conversion to adult use. Um, and we also have ah 2 dispensaries here in Maryland both very high volume one up in the northeast corner near the Delaware border and 1 not far from our offices here in Towson Maryland ah, both do both do very well and are in the top. 20 dispensaries in the state. Um, and fundamentally we have always built our our businesses on scale. So my my playbook has been the same for all of my businesses envision a competitive advantage. Ah either through product or service or both. Ah. Build a economic model that you think you can produce that marries to an operational model validate all of the underpinnings of that prior to building it in terms of as much as and best as you can obviously demand is one of those things that you you have to estimate build the model fund it and build it which we did um and then. As you apply scale to it. Ah observe the metrics that you achieve versus the metrics you forecasted and once you get that to a very predictable model then you stamp it out quickly wherever you wherever you want to? so you know while others in the cannabis industry were buying licenses left and right and trying to figure out. You know, kind of how to get up and running we spent all of our time in one market really learning how to be very good operators in this business. How to create new products that are innovative how to get operating leverage out of incremental revenues. How to bring lean management systems and tools to the whole cannabis industry and make it much more.
Michael Bronfein: Like a traditional manufacturing company. So if you came came to see our facilities here or the new ones in Missouri you would look like you. You think you’re in a Johnson And Johnson manufacturing lab they looking the same ah very clean and and um, very hygienic and gp certified.
Alejandro Cremades: I Love not.
Michael Bronfein: And really ready for what comes next when the Fda takes over regulation of cannabis which we believe and have since the beginning they ultimately will.
Alejandro Cremades: Now imagine if you were to go to sleep tonight Michael and you wake up in a world where the vision of courier wellness is fully realized what does that world look like.
Michael Bronfein: Well, it looks like we have the number one wellness brand in the country. It’s respected for its safe safety. Its its effectiveness and its reliability and from dose to dose So It Whatever it tells you it’s going to help you improve it does improve ah people trust it. Um, and ah, we’re able to manufacture it regionally and distribute it and not have to build plants in every single state. That’s that’s a long way off. So That’s really a dream So until then you know we’ll we’ll continue to ah to build out manufacturing capability increase our retailing Capability. Ah, but really focus on ah distinguishing ourselves as a leading brand um in the in the manufactured products that are derived from cannabis.
Alejandro Cremades: And now you know as we’re thinking about the future to talk to us about state versus federal when it comes to all this stuff that is happening around cannabis right now.
Michael Bronfein: Well, you know there’s a real There’s a real conundrum you have 42 States now that have legalized cannabis 22 of which have given it adult use designation. So there’s only 8 states that have no no cannabis at all yet. The federal government continues to kind of. Fight the war on drugs. It’s like they’re fighting yesterday’s war ah cannabis should have never been a scheduled drug and interestingly even though today I don’t know if you if you’re familiar with the schedules. But I am because I’m in the pharmacy business schedule 1 is basically a toxic compound that has no socially redeeming value or medical value right. Well, we’ve now proven that that not only does cannabis have medicinal value. But there’s a prescription drug epidiolects that the Fda is granted approval to ah to be used as a legend drug so you would think that given the fact that there’s a legend drug ah in the market from cannabis. That the the schedule one would have been lifted but because of political reasons it hasn’t um and so the fact that safe banking wasn’t passed last year has really had a paling effect on the industry from an investor perspective and ah and a capital perspective and I think now the congress is waking up to that they have to. They have to allow for cannabis to be treated like any other product in the United States I ultimately believe that the federal government will deschedule and but it’ll be a states rights business like alcohol and tobacco and so each state will decide how it wants to govern it how it wants to regulate it and will it.
Michael Bronfein: Whether it will allow it. Um, and I think until then you’re going to continue to see this. You know, kind of walled off state by state approach where it doesn’t really matter how big you are as a company. What matters is how big you are at each state right? So that’s why we haven’t gone out and done a whole bunch of licenses and. Have small operations and a whole bunch of state. You know we’re we’re number 1 in Maryland and by ah by a large percentage and we feel like when we go to Missouri we can immediately become a a very significant participant there because of the differentiation of our products. No no one has products like we have um in addition on the flower side. We focused on a lot of plant science and discovery in a way that has resulted in ah a very high percentage of high t h c high turpene strains. Ah which are viewed as we call them exclusive but they’re really a premium product so in the flower side. We’re looking for quality over quantity. And the manufacturer products we’re looking for indication specific and because of the the fact that we run factories with automated equipment and all the things that you would expect in a drug manufacturing plant. We can generate enormous quantities of a product at a very high level of qualityity and consistency.
Alejandro Cremades: Now we’ve been talking about the future. So I just want to talk about the past real quick with a length of reflection if we were to go back in time you know I put you into it this time machine. Michael Bronfein: .
Michael Bronfein: Are specific.
Alejandro Cremades: And I bring you back in time to maybe you know that moment that you were still in the supermarket. You know you had made the decision that at some point you know you’ll do something over your own but let’s say you’re able to go back and be able to sit down with that younger Michael and give that younger Michael.
Alejandro Cremades: 1 piece of advice before launching a business. What would that be and why given what you know now.
Michael Bronfein: Oh unquestioned would be make sure that the the organization can keep up with your ideas and your chaos right? because when you’re when you’re somebody who has developed an ability to ideation. Very rapidly and with a lot of fervor around new ideas and and new um new concepts you can drive people crazy because they can’t keep up with you and I I remember in neighbor care we were growing at 100% a year organically and I was killing everybody because they couldn’t keep up with it. And and the reason we were growing so quickly was because we had figured out a system that no one else had figured out for gaining large quantities of customers in the pharmacy business instead of getting them one at a time and we also had a different model that was that was ah very cost effective and efficacious in terms of the delivery of pharmaceuticals and so. Ah, part of part of the challenge is always balancing the ability of the organization to perform against the opportunities that are right in front of it. Ah, but because of either constraints on capacity or constraints on people or constraints on capital or other things. You’ve you’ve got to kind of slow things down a little bit to make sure the organization could catch its breast and and be with you and like for example, we’re going through an enormous inventory building process right now so that we can learn from what we observed in Missouri we’re building Twenty Five Thousand cases of product.
Michael Bronfein: For the launch of adult use here in Maryland on July first in addition to our regular production. So so in order to do that. We had to say to our our product innovation folks guys. We need you to kind of stand down and do work on things for about one hundred and twenty days that don’t require integration into the labs. And into the manufacturing space because we need every single person we have focused on quality control and output and and you know it actually it actually made life a little bit easier. They got a chance to catch up on some things and research and other things and it made it ah less intrusive to the manufacturing folks to just. Know that they were focused on pure production day in and day out and they didn’t have to do problem solving in the in the lab or or in some formulation activity or or whatever it takes to create a new a new product because it’s there’s a lot of working product in product innovation.
Alejandro Cremades: I love it so Michael for the people that are listening that will love to reach out and say hi. What is the best way for them to do so.
Michael Bronfein: Ah, they can they can email me at Michael bronfeatcuawellness.com that’s probably the easiest way to to reach me and um, welcome their their their emails or their commentary. Ah as I said we are in the process of a ah. Preferred equity raise and I think our existing investors are going to take ah I know they are going to take a large share of that but there will be a small amount available to some new investors and you know we’re always looking to expand our investor base. Although um I would tell you that I don’t think we’re going to need to raise any more capital before either a public offering and exit. At the end of 25 or early 26 because our cash flows are very significant and now that we’ve got adult use in both of our two states. Um I think it’s just going to accelerate so you never know but it doesn’t look likely at this point it looks like this will be the last capital we raised before we hopefully can. Get the the feds to change their view and allow the New York stock exchange and the and us capital markets to open up that would that would really be our preference. We’re not, we’re not interested in the canadian markets.
Alejandro Cremades: Amazing. Well hey Michael thank you so much for being on the deal maker show today. It has been an honor to have you with us.
Michael Bronfein: Well thank you I Really appreciate the opportunity and look forward to chatting again soon.
* * *
If you like the show, make sure that you hit that subscribe button. If you can leave a review as well, that would be fantastic. And if you got any value either from this episode or from the show itself, share it with a friend. Perhaps they will also appreciate it. Also, remember, if you need any help, whether it is with your fundraising efforts or with selling your business, you can reach me at [email protected]