If there’s one thing Colorado isn’t short on, it’s startup accelerators.
If there are two things Colorado isn’t short on, it’s startup accelerators and pot.
But Longmont entrepreneur Patrick O’Malley looked at the market and saw a shortage of one thing: a startup accelerator for pot-infused products.
And so he started Good Life Colorado, an incubator of sorts for budding marijuana brands. The venture is more of a hybrid between an accelerator and a co-packer or contract packer, a common practice among Boulder County’s nascent natural food companies.
Businesses get the benefit of O’Malley’s industry contacts and expertise, in addition to access to manufacturing space in his licensed marijuana-infused products (MIP) facility in north Denver.
Space is rare, expensive and takes months to come by, O’Malley said. Emerging brands often lack the capital to pursue the licensing process, and the months it takes can divert resources away from building the business.
“Startups need around $750,000 and around nine months to a year to find a space and get licensed,” O’Malley explained.
A Longmont resident since starting law school at the University of Colorado in 1999, O’Malley dove into the marijuana industry after more than 15 years with his own LSAT prep company.
He used his own money to purchase the facility and will take a small stake in each of the two to four companies he plans on bringing in. His investment will be time and space — not money.
“I’m a sweat-equity venture capitalist,” he said.
That hands-on approach worked well for Good Life’s first company, Boulder-based Chooze, maker of LucidMood products designed to create specific “feelings” for tokers such as relaxation and contentment.
“(O’Malley) saved us all the brain damage” of finding a place, said Charles Jones, Chooze CEO. “If we had to go through setting up our own MIPS, find real estate, go through that hassle, put up our home for collateral, our time to market would have been huge.”
O’Malley also allowed Chooze to create a business model in which Jones and his team don’t touch the plant, meaning they can attract investors from any state regardless of its status on legal marijuana.
As a result, LucidMood is heading into a local dispensary this summer, and has manufacturing and distribution networks in three states: Colorado, California and Oregon.
“He’s just been a good team member,” Jones said of O’Malley. “We hope we’re as good for him as he is for us.”