THE FOUNDER OF Cannalution achieved a milestone last year when Apple approved her business education and networking app. Now Martine Pierre is busy beta testing her community platform for Black and Brown cannabis entrepreneurs.
What if there was a Slack-type community for Black and Brown entrepreneurs, one that could act as both a networking and educational resource? That’s the elevator pitch for Cannalution, an app that promises to function as a community-based training ground and rolling meet-up for people trying to enter the cannabis industry.
Founder Martine Pierre tweeted her idea for the platform in 2020 and the viral response convinced her to build Cannalution.
Known as the “Lioness of Marketing” for her work in growth and content marketing strategy, Pierre saw an opportunity for a business model built on networking and cross-promotion between entrepreneurs. After seven years in digital marketing, she pivoted to focus exclusively on cannabis.Advertisement
Last year, Pierre’s project achieved a major milestone when Apple approved the app for beta testing. Cannalution, which is currently recruiting beta testers and taking applicants for early access to the public app, features virtual learning via classes taught by seasoned business professionals, as well as providing other mentorship opportunities. The platform will also provide resources for those who want to enter the ancillary side of the industry, as well as compliance and policy updates, according to Pierre.
Martine Pierre has been working hard to perfect the platform before it officially launches but found the time to sit down with Global Cannabis Times for a chat.
DIANA-ASHLEY KRACH: Can you start by explaining to those who don’t know what Cannalution is?
MARTINE PIERRE: Cannalution is a community. We are a platform where we’re building bridges so that people can be able to have conversations about a topic without having to feel that stigma about cannabis. Right now, we’re in beta. And interestingly, the people that I assumed would be our beta testers and coming on would be Gen Z and Millennials like myself.
But no, it’s the parents of the Gen Z kids and Millennials who make up a lot of our beta testers. And they are telling us, “I really want to understand this plant! I’ve never had an opportunity to understand this plant and I just want to know more about it.”
These are the types of people that we’re seeing coming through on this platform. We’re building something that to me is like a real grassroots movement because we got started so crazy. And that’s just how we’re rolling right now—we’re building the company out bit-by-bit. We’re listening to our users, we’re listening to their needs, and we’re just educating the best way that we can.
DK: What’s the background behind your purpose in doing this?
MP: Cannalution’s mission is pretty much to be an educational tech platform where we will be teaching mainly Black and Brown entrepreneurs because we want to solve the inequality issues in this industry. You know, it’s really bad that this space is profiting off of people who have been put in prison. You’re talking about 40-plus years of people being brutally treated by the War on Drugs in the U.S.
When you date it back further to prohibition going on for over 100 years, what it says is that there is over 100 years of unlearning to do with this plant. Because there’s just so much that hasn’t been unlocked yet. Furthermore, when you think about the different generations that were blocked from having an understanding of all of this, you’re talking about Baby Boomers, you’re talking about Millennials, you’re talking about Generation X, you’re talking about Gen Z—you’re dealing with four to five different generations of people who all are unlearning together.
DK: How are you rolling out the app?
MP: We are doing our private beta in phases so that we can get intimate with users and truly get a good understanding of people’s needs in many different markets, nationally and internationally. As of right now, since we are only beta testing a small group of users for market research, we have about 100 people on the platform, 377 pending beta users, and 4,087 waitlist signees.
We will launch our Web application in Q1 of 2023 and our mobile application will be launched later in the year, in Q3 or Q4. We want to test our free curriculum first before launching the application publicly.
DK: What has been the response from beta users?
MP: The thing that I thought was so interesting was that I wasn’t just getting responses from people who are in the U.S. I was getting responses from people from across the board. I was getting responses from people all over the entire world.
I had people in African markets writing to me. I had people in the Latin American markets who were writing to me saying, “Hey, it’s inequitable here too.” When we think about equity and we think about things that are going on in our own country, sometimes we’re very blinded to the fact that this can very well happen across the board everywhere.Advertisement
GCT: How will this technology prepare entrepreneurs for the cannabis industry?
MP: You will have master classes taught by people who have experience in this space, but you’re also going to have students and teachers talking amongst one another in ways they can’t connect outside of the platform.
I think that innovation is going to be able to flourish when people from different markets have the opportunity to talk to one another. Because I may be in the Florida market and I end up meeting someone who’s in South Africa or who’s in Colombia and they tell me about this amazing product that they have and I fall in love with it.
I think everyone needs to define what equity means to them in the cannabis space.
And too many times people are stuck in that idea of thinking that the only way to be in cannabis is to have cultivation experience or own a dispensary. That’s far from the truth. There are so many different layers to cannabis. There are so many different ancillary businesses. I mean, the plant itself has over 40,000-plus uses!
I think that’s where entrepreneurs can get the true value in our platform. We are probably going to be in beta for some time before we go public and allow more users to be on the platform. But if anyone is interested in joining the waitlist find us at Cannalution.app.
GCT: Thanks for taking the time, Martine.
MP: You are very welcome.
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