by Steve Porter on April 14, 2015
DENVER -- Dooma Wendschuh and his business partner, Jon Cooper, share a major pipe dream.
The two Denver entrepreneurs are attempting to provide a consistent marijuana-derived product that’s a safer and healthier alternative to alcohol and nicotine.
The two founders of ebbu see a “distilled” product that is made from marijuana as something consumers will line up to buy, and that’s because its quality will be consistent from one batch to the next.
“What we make is totally different from anything else on the market,” said Wendschuh, who moved to Colorado from Montreal in 2014 to invest in the legal cannabis industry.
“We call what we make a distilled marijuana product. We use a distillation process that allows us to turn marijuana into something very new.”
Both Wendschuh and Cooper are experienced entrepreneurs, with Wendschuh coming from a video game development background and Cooper involved in the founding of Colorado companies, including skyway and Aventura. Cooper also worked at Accenture and Level 3 Communications.
Wendschuh said he and Cooper looked at Colorado’s legal marijuana market – which went into effect Jan. 1, 2014 – and saw a need for a product that would produce a guaranteed psychoactive experience every time it was used.
“Cannabis consumers make purchasing decisions based on how the product will make them feel, not based on the form factor of the vapor pens or the flavoring of the edibles,” he said.
“We wanted to take a very inconsistent natural product and turn it into something consistent.”
They have patented their distilled cannabis “feelings” (the company makes “feelings” instead of flavors) and are in the process of patenting their distillation process, which produces an end-product that offers a “predictable and reliable sensation,” and is also “safer and healthier than marijuana because it removes any molds, pesticides, solvents, and potential carcinogens,” according to Wendschuh.
Colorado became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana, followed by Washington, Oregon and Alaska, with other states including California getting ready to put the measure on the 2016 ballot.
“The reason we chose Colorado was it had the best regulatory system – there’s nowhere else that we would feel as comfortable,” Wendschuh said.
ebbu’s distilled marijuana product will be sold to dispensaries throughout the state in a variety of delivery mechanisms. The distilled product will also be sold to licensed marijuana products manufacturers with the label “ebbu inside” as a symbol of its reliability, he said.
“We had a really simple approach when we started this,” he said. “We would never want to open a retail outlet to compete with our customers. That wouldn’t be a good idea.”
Wendschuh said the company is in the process of raising a Series A round of $9 million that’s “going very well.”
The two ebbu founders say they want to provide a new class of psychoactive that’s consistent, safer and healthier than substances such as nicotine, caffiene and especially alcohol.
“I see this as truly a chance to change the world,” said Wendschuh. “There are trends in our society, just below the surface and globally, with people using less tobacco, less alcohol and also caffeine.
“All of these things point to a dissatisfaction with the legal psychoactives we have. This is an opportunity to create a product to compete with a trillion-dollar alcohol industry.”
And the name they chose to do it?
“We knew we wanted a name for our product that didn’t mean anything,” Wendschuh said. “We saw it on a domain list, so we bought it.”
And why no capitalization?
“We’re a very humble company, so it just seemed right not to capitalize it,” he said.
Wendschuh said he believes ebbu is coming along at just the right time to harness the ever-growing interest in legal recreational and medical marijuana.
“When you think of the scope of this opportunity, it’s unparalleled.”