1. Please tell me about yourself? What brought you to the cannabis/botany world? Healing? What was your inspiration to do what you do?
I grew up in North Carolina in a conservative town where cannabis legalization felt like the furthest thing from reality. I couldn’t have been more out of place. I was the skater kid with dyed hair, and I wrote a punk ‘zine. Out of curiosity to see how hard it was, I planted my first seeds when I was 17. Of course, I had no idea how to grow good weed and I’m pretty sure I fed my first plants Miracle Grow.
In college, I connected with other growers and learned how to actually grow quality cannabis. That’s where I met my wife, Karen, who’s also a Trym co-founder. After studying engineering, we moved to California in 2007 and I started working in the Solar Industry. We also started the first of many home grows together and we’ve been growing ever since.
A lot of my friends worked in the cannabis industry and when Prop 64 passed, the timing felt right for me to make the move. In 2017, I started going to tradeshows to check out the scene. I wanted to work with growers, and with my engineering and product development background, it seemed like I could build software to help them succeed in the regulated industry.
That’s when we decided to start Trym. At first, we had more passion than direction but we spent as much time as possible meeting with growers and learning about their challenges. Eventually we started building the product, launched a super rough beta with a great California brand in July of 2018, and everything grew from there.
2. Please tell me about your company? What do you do that’s different, therefore better than your competition? What stigmas do you face?
Our software helps large-scale commercial cultivators get organized, be more productive, and scale their businesses. Running a cultivation business in the regulated cannabis industry isn’t easy, and many companies are trying to scale and establish themselves. Labor accounts for nearly half of cannabis production costs, so there’s real value in helping growers become more productive.
Our customers love Trym’s task management and compliance reporting capabilities. Running a large team and maintaining compliance are two of the biggest headaches for cultivators. We’re helping them overcome those challenges with user-friendly software and excellent customer support.
We’re passionate about helping growers succeed because we love cannabis and want this industry to thrive. One key differentiator, versus many of the other cannabis software providers, is that we’re entirely focused on cultivation. We dive deep into the specific needs of cultivators and pride ourselves on building software that brings them significant value. We give growers full transparency into everything happening in their facility, from what their team is doing and the conditions their plants are exposed to, all the way to automating the compliance review process and reducing errors.
The biggest stigma we face as a tech company is that we’re a cannabis tech company. Even though we don’t directly touch the plant, we still face many of the same banking and operational challenges that plant touching businesses have.
3. What is your six and twelve month plan? What obstacles exist in your professional world? How do you anticipate removing them?
We recently closed our seed round and we’re planning to use that capital to keep building the platform and growing market share. Since we’re based in California, we’ve focused on expanding our presence here but we’re also quickly growing beyond the 15 states where we currently operate.
In the next six months, we’re focusing on several strategic partnerships with hardware and software companies that will enable us to build a smart and impactful ecosystem for the cultivation space.
In the next 12 months, we’re planning to launch more advanced analytics reporting that will help growers really dig into the factors that matter. To scale up to our industry’s potential, growers need to be able to optimize yields and quality, while decreasing their costs. And then, ultimately replicate their successes. Our roadmap supports these goals, so stay tuned!
Like so many others, our biggest challenge is trying to find some level of normalcy, enjoyment, and success in the midst of a global pandemic. To overcome this, we’re staying flexible and adapting as needed. Luckily for Trym, our family, and our customers, cannabis is an essential service and we’ve seen a major increase in sales in recent months.
As a team, we actively encourage our employees to take time off for whatever reasons they need. We’ve worked hard to foster a culture of openness and empathy, and in these trying times, it’s what will carry us through.
Overall, we’re excited about our company’s growth and by the great feedback we consistently get from our customers about how much we’re helping their businesses thrive.
4. What is your favorite food memory from childhood? What does your favorite (birthday) meal look like now? Favorite food?
My favorite childhood food memory is probably from when I was 7 or 8. I played on a little league baseball team that was named after a burger joint in town called Hap’s Grill. After the games, the whole team would go to the restaurant, which was this super small hole in the wall place with no tables, and we’d eat hotdogs and cheeseburgers and drink sodas out of glass bottles while sitting on the sidewalk.
For my favorite birthday meal, I have to go with sushi. Some tuna sashimi, some kind of a spicy roll, and inari.
It’s hard to pick one “favorite food” but I’d say a California burrito with pollo asada instead of carne asada is what I crave often. If you live on the West Coast, you’ve probably heard of a California Burrito, which is a burrito with carne asada, french fries, guacamole, sour cream, and cheese. I don’t eat much beef, so I swap it out for grilled chicken. When I’m on a long run, this is usually what I start dreaming of as a post-run meal.
5. What is your passion?
I’m obsessed with the outdoors. Mostly trail running, snowboarding, and camping, but I enjoy almost anything that gets me outside. My love for nature helped shape me into an environmentalist, and that’s why I ended up working in solar for several years.
Live music has also been a huge part of my life. My twenties were filled with seeing bands like Phish, STS9, and Widespread Panic. My wife Karen and I met at a Widespread show in college and we’ve traveled all over the country together for music and adventuring. Even though we’re startup founders and parents, we’ve still been able to make it to shows and festivals or, at least, we used to pre-COVID.
Of course, I’m also very passionate about cannabis. The health benefits are clear from a medical perspective, but also as a healthy alternative to alcohol. Cannabis goes perfectly with outdoor activities and live music, so it’s played a big part in my life as well.