Interview with Giadha A. DeCarcer,
Founder and CEO of New Frontier Data
New Frontier Data is an independent, technology-driven analytics company specializing in the global cannabis industry. It offers vetted data, actionable business intelligence and risk management solutions for investors, operators, researchers and policy makers interested in the cannabis space worldwide. New Frontier Data’s reports and data have been cited in over 80 countries and drive over 15 billion in media reach across the world. Founded in 2014, New Frontier Data is headquartered in Washington, D.C., with additional offices in Denver, CO and London, UK.
Please tell us about New Frontier Data? What inspired you to build it?
In 2014, there was no viable or comprehensive data and analysis about the cannabis industry, anywhere. I started New Frontier Data, despite ridicule from prior peers across banking, technology, energy, and defense, and jumped at the opportunity to bring big data to cannabis.
Now, we are a global company, cited in over 85 countries worldwide, with 100,000+ newsletter subscribers and a media reach of 14.6 Billion, and growing. In July of 2019, we became the first cannabis big data company to testify before the 116th Congress and in the past year, we have produced and analyzed the most comprehensive surveys on U.S. and European CBD Consumers.
How big is the global Cannabis consumer market? How fast is it growing?
There are around 260 million global cannabis consumers who spend nearly $350 Billion a year, which includes legal and illicit consumer spending. With over 60 countries with some form of cannabis legalization and growing, we expect these numbers to continue to climb.
What are the main challenges that enterprises face when trying to enter the legal cannabis industry?
The regulatory hurdles in this industry are some of the most difficult challenges for new entrants because currently, the cannabis industry is the most regulated industry in the country, more so than the gambling industry. With constantly shifting regulations, it can be very difficult to get up to speed and maintain a current understanding of how to operate legally in the space.
Finding trusted data and business intelligence is also a significant obstacle for many large enterprises who are accustomed to having access to comprehensive research. — research that the industry just currently does not have. However, as companies like New Frontier Data expand and grow, these kinds of insights are more readily available and dive deeper than ever before.
For Educational purposes, please explain what CBD is? Is the CBD-Infused beverage industry really on the rise?
CBD is a cannabinoid that is found in the cannabis plant. Consumers of CBD-infused products typically spend more per month than do those among the overall CBD customer base (including users of oils, CBD cannabis flower, and vape pens). When asked how likely they may be to purchase CBD-infused products in the following six months, 88% of infused-product purchasers indicated being likely to, with 53% very likely to do so.
From a regional view, New Frontier Data found that U.S. CBD consumers were — by every measure — more reportedly engaged in the CBD market than were their EU counterparts. For example, U.S. consumers were 2.5x as likely to claim being likely to purchase a CBD-infused product in the future.
Despite recent media attention about CBD, in 2020 the U.S. market size for legal marijuana will be over ten times greater than that of CBD.
How is your company engaging today’s cannabis consumer through the power of data and digital?
Our newest product, New Frontier Data Advertising Solutions, is designed to help brands and other enterprises effectively target and engage with cannabis consumers through programmatic consumer profile targeting.
We believe this new tool fills a major gap in the ability for brands to reach the RIGHT consumer, at the right time, in the right place, while doing so in a legally compliant and safe manner.
How do you believe legal cannabis will transform the CPG industry?
The entrance of CPG companies from Food & Beverage and Health & Beauty into the cannabis space is fueling product innovation, leading to more sophisticated branding, and greater need for consumer engagement. In states where cannabis is legal, New Frontier Data is seeing significant indicators of cannibalization of the pharma, alcohol, and alcohol industries.
Previously you had successfully co-founded several other companies. Share with us your experience as a serial female entrepreneur, and what advice would you give other women who are looking to start their own companies?
I would say I started companies with some ‘relative’ success, but candidly none reached the global success New Frontier Data is experiencing, and the greatest difference is the talent and team behind said success. I am a type A person, sufficiently educated, confident, and well, ballsy, to presume I could start a business alone – that is nearly impossible, and that is the most humbling and valuable lesson I have learned as a serial entrepreneur. I would therefore recommend starting a business in a familiar area, or better yet an area where you have some expertise, and then surround yourself by at least one other complimentary partner and eventually a diverse team that can help you make well rounded and educated decisions and prevent being blindsided. A second and third tip that may be useful, and that has certainly been discussed in the media and elsewhere, is to try starting a business that fills a gap AND that has immediate demand; New Frontier Data, as the only Big Data Tech company in the cannabis industry in 2014 struggled with that as we had to catalyze and almost create demand for a service that had not yet been identified as needed until about 2016 where more sophisticated investors and larger financial institutions began looking at the space. Lastly, is to not be discouraged by investors; most investors are still white males, and as a Latina woman, I felt I was not taken very seriously when pitching as lofty an idea as becoming the global nexus of cannabis data, but like dating, one may need to kiss of lot of frogs before finding that prince, and so continue pitching until you get that first yes, and then make sure to stay lean until you have a solid 18 month to 24 month runway in money raised for no more than 20% of your equity.