When starting a cannabis startup, you’re at a bit of a disadvantage. Yes, the product your selling is in high demand, but confusing laws and federal disapproval lead to a dearth of business resources for growing companies. Finding mentors can be hard as few entrepreneurs have experience in the field, and securing funding is even harder, as VCs are hesitant to enter the volatile industry. Fortunately, one startup is looking to make things a little bit easier.
Podwerks is a Florida-based startup that is hoping to make coworking spaces available for the cannabis industry. By building locations in “urban designated zones permitting the commercial cultivation and sale of cannabis related products,” they’ll be able to provide startups with something necessary to the process: a place to grow and a place to experience growth.
“We want to get the cannabis industry out of the ‘hidden environment’ idea of houses and backyards,” said Matthew Arnett, chief marketing officer at Podwerks. “We want to cultivate an ecosystem, a conducive atmosphere for education, marketing, and growth of cannabis.”
In addition to providing the zoning requirements of a cannabis startup, Podwerks provides office space, community events, retail space, and discreet security measures to make sure everything runs smoothly. In addition, Podwerks provides companies with a grow space in the form of a modified steel shipping container that has been outfitted with hydroponic grow equipment, lights, climate control, and stations for seedings, cloning, and curing.
While cannabis has become a staple of the business trends discussion in recent years, the future of the industry remains shrouded in uncertainty, as federal laws have not been passed to make it legal. This makes the regulatory aspect of the business a true nightmare, turning Podwerks into a lab rat for the sake of the industry.
“Our biggest challenge so far has been the uncertainty of regulation,” said Arnett. “Because we can’t control that, we are offering Podwerks as a sort of guinea pig; try this model and see how it goes. We want to build an understanding of how the entire cannabis industry works. This is what makes Podwerks so unique; it provides an opportunity for local governments to build relationships with local growers. It will also allow the government to educate new growers and it can help eliminate the black market by providing distribution oversight.”
Despite the risks, this model could bring cannabis entrepreneurship into the mainstream. After all, with a product as good as cannabis and an idea as sound as coworking, there is no telling how high this model can fly. Take a look at the virtual mockup below to understand what a Podwerks location might look like.