Business

Get to Know: Flow Cannabis Co.

By Alex Halperin Dec 18, 2020
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Alex Halperin is the founder, editor and publisher of WeedWeek. Before he started covering marijuana legalization in 2014 he reported on topics such as fracking, health care, technology a...
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Alex Halperin is the founder, editor and publisher of WeedWeek. Before he started covering marijuana legalization in 2014 he reported on topics such as fracking, health care, technology and finance. His work has appeared in The Guardian, Slate, Fast Company, Quartz, the Washington Post, Mother Jones, The New Yorker and many other publications. His first book, The Cannabis Dictionary, was published in March. He lives in Los Angeles.
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Responses to WeedWeek’s questionnaire have been lightly edited. To be featured in a future Get to Know column email hello@weedweek.net.

-Company Name: Flow Cannabis Co.

-Location: Oakland, CA (corporate) and Redwood Valley, CA (processing, manufacturing, and distribution)

When founded: 2015

-Mission: Formed from the 2015 launch of its top-selling flower line as its flagship brand (Flow Kana), Flow Cannabis Co. aims to be the standard bearer for the emerging clean and sustainable cannabis movement.

Headquartered in Mendocino County — the “gateway” to California’s famed Emerald Triangle region with operational hubs, facilities, and campuses throughout the state — Flow Cannabis Co.’s goal is to be the most respected and trusted supplier of sungrown sustainable cannabis products and services in the world.

cannabis can help
Flow Cannabis CEO Michael Steinmetz

CEO:

Michael Steinmetz is the CEO, co-founder, and Chief Servant Officer of Flow Cannabis Co., which flagship brand is Flow Kana, California’s best seller of sun-grown cannabis. Sister brands include Roots, an accessibly priced sun grown imprint, and Caldera, a premium vape and concentrates vertical launched in October 2020. Steinmetz aims to transform cannabis into the world’s first fully sustainable agricultural product.

Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, Steinmetz and his wife, filmmaker and environmental activist Flavia Cassani, founded Flow Cannabis Co. after touring Northern California’s famed Emerald Triangle in 2014. Drawing on his previous experience in CPG and food distribution as an entrepreneur in Venezuela, with his analysis skills honed at NASA and Merrill Lynch, Steinmetz has helped farmers reach scale while preserving their culture and bringing conscious consumers an unparalleled, premium sun-grown product. 

 Twitter: @mikeysteinmetz, LinkedIn 

 

press@flowkana.com

 

Annual Revenue: Undisclosed. 

Stock symbol: n/a

Tell us about two or three key decisions, pivots or course corrections the company has made and how they paid off:

  • We began as a delivery service under Prop. 215, using Vespas to deliver mason jars of craft Emerald Triangle cannabis to customers in the San Francisco Bay Area. Within a year, we realized that the flower that Flow Kana had access to through our network of farmers was unique and different from the indoor-grown cannabis that had become normalized as a result of prohibition. Encouraged by the quality of the cannabis our partners were producing and the enthusiasm our consumers had for it helped us make the decision to to expand into what is today a multifaceted company that remains devoted to sungrown sustainable cannabis.

     

  • When we launched in 2015 with our flagship brand Flow Kana, we knew that we wanted to have a larger corporate umbrella that would eventually shelter a house of brands. We arrived there a few years later with this year’s announcement of Flow Cannabis Co. Under its umbrella, we have Flow Kana, which has been the best-selling California flower brand for the past four quarters; our new premium extracts line, Caldera; and our accessibly priced sungrown flower and pre-roll vertical, Roots. Since our inception, we have become one of the largest and most diversified supply chain companies of the state, and bring forth all the different ways that sungrown, sustainably cultivated cannabis can express itself, including through media and film and events and tourism. 

     

  • When we purchased the 300-acre property that our Flow Cannabis Institute is placed on in Redwood Valley, it was truly a leap of faith. It was a multi-million dollar purchase and quite a lift, but we knew it was worth it. The property had been owned for decades by the Fetzer family, vintners who established the first organic and biodynamic winery in California at this spot. If we didn’t have the acreage that this property affords and the former agricultural buildings set about on it, I’m not certain if we could have achieved our vision so readily. There’s room here for a manufacturing facility and an extraction center as well as for us to process and store an incredible amount of sungrown flower, and it’s all on a beloved piece of land that really formed the center of the organic farming movement, at least for wine grapes, and that mirrors what we’ve been trying so hard to highlight at Flow Cannabis Co. 

What are you doing that no one else is doing?

With the Flow Kana brand, we were one of the first to really provide both a viable supply chain and a platform to sungrown craft cannabis farmers and the legacy growing regions that they represent. We continue to work only with sustainably sungrown flower across our verticals and I don’t know of another large operator who is committed as we are to providing our customers with this style of cultivation. 

Key revenue streams (as specific as possible):

  • Flower
  • Pre-Rolls
  • Vape cartridges/PAX pods
  • Concentrates
  • Co-packing, Co-manufacturing, white-label and distribution services

Primary competitors:

  • On the flower side, there is a solid group of formidable operators but none that I see that are doing exactly what we are doing with regards to our commitment to sustainable cannabis grown fully out in the sun with all of the earth’s natural elements. On the concentrates side, while we have developed what we believe to be one of the purest, most potent concentrate lines available, using fresh-frozen flower and a proprietary process developed for us by pharmaceutical chemist Dr. Raj Gupta that results in an amazingly high Entourage Effect score, there are a number of excellent operators in the manufacturing space.
  • CO-FOUNDERS

    • Flavia Cassani, Co-Founder and Head of Experience Design. Since Flow Kana’s inception, Flavia has played an instrumental role in using documentary film to share the stories of family and legacy farmers with whom Flow Kana works. She was also one the visionaries behind Flow Kana’s placement (the first flower brand) in the gift baskets of Hollywood elite at the Academy Awards. Additionally, in 2016, she executed the industry’s first omni-channel marketing campaign, ‘The California Way.’
      LinkedIn

    • Adam Steinberg, Co-founder and VP, Business Development. Not an employee, but our co-founder and an important proponent of our sustainability measures. I met Adam in 2014 at a meet-up and we quickly realized that we each had what the other needed in terms of background and capabilities. Together we make an awesome team.
      Twitter: @adam_martin2 LinkedIn

    • Diego Zimet, Co-founder and Head of Engineering. Diego has led our engineering department through all of the very challenging organizational passages Flow Cannabis Co. has faced. As the technical co-founder of the company his guidance and deep facility with the existing systems and infrastructure that he and his team had built up was invaluable. 

THE C-SUITE
In addition to co-founders Adam Steinberg and Mikey Steinmetz, the FCC C-Suite includes:

  • Jarom Fawsom, President & Chief Strategy Officer.
    Jarom brings more than 15 years of experience advising public and private enterprises on capital raising, M&A, corporate strategy and working with entrepreneurs building iconic brands. Delighted he’s with us.
    LinkedIn

  • Kevin Haselbacher, COO.
    Kevin has a strong background in food manufacturing and distribution, having been an operating executive of some of the premier, sustainability-focused brands — like Amy’s and Traditional Medicinals — emanating from Northern California. Among the skills I esteem him for the most, and there are many, is his skill working with the farmer cohort who form the backbone of the Flow Kana brand. 
    LinkedIn

  • Mitch Wortzman, CFO.
    Mitch has hands-on experience working with high growth entrepreneurial companies in the food, beverage, alcoholic beverages, and media categories. Mitch is essential.
    LinkedIn

Flow Cannabis Co. Super Stars

  • Brooke Carpenter, VP of Sales.
    Brooke has been with us since the very beginning and knows the DNA of our brand as well as I do. In fact, she helped to make ‘sungrown’ a category. We can do everything possible to create and market the best cannabis available, but if we aren’t able to sell it into the market, it’s all moot. Brooke is a champion of our brands and really understands why we do what we do.
    LinkedIn

  • Dr. Amanda Reiman, VP of Community Development.
    Amanda has been my guide to the Emerald Triangle since my wife Flavia and I first visited nearly seven years ago. Her ability to work with our local community and find ways for Flow Cannabis Co. to connect with and support our neighbors and partners in the tri-county area is invaluable to me.
    LinkedIn

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Alex Halperin
Editor/Publisher