CULTIVATED: An inside look at Eaze — Cuts at Caliva — Dismal earnings for Canopy Growth

jberke@businessinsider.com (Jeremy Berke)
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Crystal Cox/Business Insider

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Happy Friday everyone,

It's been quite a busy week here as I got my feet under me, returning back to my "normal" beat. I'm proud of the work Yeji and I did — along with guidance from my editor Zach — on our deep dive into Eaze's scaled-back ambitions from 2017 to now.

The startup's ups and downs over the past three years provide insight into the wild ride that cannabis startups, investors, and employees have been on since US states began legalizing the drug.

The other big piece of news this week was Canopy Growth's dismal earnings. The Constellation Brands-backed company lost $1.3 billion this quarter, as the coronavirus pandemic hurt retail sales in Canada and the US.

Analysts reacted mostly negatively to the news following the earnings call today, with some questioning the new leadership team's ability to steer the ship. 

"More worrying for us were comments around the need to 'understand what consumers want'. Probably the worst thing to hear from a market share leader," Jefferies analysts wrote in a note.

That being said, Canopy Growth is still the largest cannabis company. And with a deep-pocketed alcohol giant backing the company — along with a new(ish) CEO, David Klein — it's probably not time to count them out yet.

I'll be speaking to Klein later this afternoon as well.

-Jeremy

Here's what we wrote about:

An inside look at Eaze's latest pitch deck reveals vastly scaled back ambitions from the once-soaring cannabis startup

Internal documents and interviews reveal Eaze's vastly scaled-back ambitions. In 2017, Eaze — then a cannabis delivery service — projected that it would sell $1 billion worth of marijuana on the platform and aggressively expand to new states.

In 2020, under the guidance of a new executive team and after a round of layoffs, Eaze has pared back that expectation to $190 million in sales.

We took a deep dive into the company's financial projections from 2017 to the present and published its full 2020 pitch deck. 

Cannabis startup Caliva laid off 20 employees including a top retail exec as headwinds from the coronavirus pandemic upend the industry

Cannabis startup Caliva laid off 20 employees from its corporate office on March 30, the company confirmed.

The cuts mostly affected employees in the retail management division and included Elizabeth Cooksey, a senior exec who was brought in to drive Caliva's retail strategy in 2019.

Executive moves

  • Red Light Holland, a CSE-listed psychedelics company that is planning to produce and sell branded "magic truffles" in the Netherlands, has appointed comedian Russell Peters as its Chief Creative Officer. Former Canopy Growth CEO Bruce Linton is the company's advisory chair. 

Deals, deals, deals

  • CSE-listed TerrAscend closed a $37 million private placement on Friday. The deal was upsized from $30 million, and investors include Jason Karp, the founder of Tourbillon Capital Partners and CEO of HumanCo. TerrAscend reported earnings on Thursday with $34.8 million in net sales in Q1 2020.

What we're reading

Lavish parties, greedy pols and panic rooms: How the 'Apple of Pot' collapsed (Politico)

A hidden origin story of the CBD craze (New York Times)

Get ready for pharmaceutical grade magic mushroom pills (Vice)

Cannabis binge in quarantine lifts hope for federal legalization (Bloomberg)

Justice Department blocks 'essential' marijuana workers from bankruptcy protection (Wall Street Journal)

Not so green on the other side: How a Russian tycoon's $165 Million U.S. cannabis bet went up in smoke (Radio Free Europe)

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