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Article 23  Tech and Logistics Solutions For Cannabis Brands - Hash it Out with Vince Ning of Nabis

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In this episode of Hash it Out recorded on 1/20/2021, RJ Balde talked to Vincent Ning, Founder and CEO of the cannabis software and logistics company, Nabis. They talk about providing much-needed tech and logistics solutions for cannabis brands. RJ and Vince also discuss their personal experiences with representation in the cannabis industry and more.

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Hash it Out features conversations about trending cannabis topics. We also bring in industry insiders and influencers to discuss their point of view. To reach the show:

Audio Transcription: 

RJ: Hey everybody. Welcome to Hash it out, I am your host RJ Balde. In this episode I'll be talking to Vincent Ning about providing much-needed tech and logistics solutions for cannabis brands. We’ll also talk about our personal experiences with representation in the cannabis industry and more. Without further ado, let's hash it out. What's up, y'all? My guest today is the Founder and CEO of the cannabis software and logistics company, Nabis. Welcome to the show Vincent Ning. Did I say the name of the company right? I know we just went over this.

Vince: That's correct. Yeah, it’s called Nabis. 

RJ: Cool right on man. Hey, how are you today? 

Vince: Good good. How about yourself? Thanks for having me here. 

RJ: Yeah, thanks for having you know accepting the invitation to come on man. I'm stoked to have you on here. Where are you joining us virtually from today? 

Vince: This is just my apartment. I live in San Francisco so I spend most of my time up here in the Bay Area but then I actually spend a decent amount of time downtown LA as well since we have, you know multi located offices for you know, our distribution centers. 

RJ: For sure man. Yeah, that's down in my, I'm in North Orange County. 

Vince: Oh cool. 

RJ: Yeah, man. So how has that, I imagine like you under normal circumstances probably do a lot of traveling at least between San Francisco and the LA area, has any of that been affected over the course of the past almost a year now?

Vince: Yeah. I mean I used to travel down to LA pretty much every month just to, you know, visit the team there and you know, visit some clients down there. Nowadays I probably go once every, you know, two or three months trying to limit the number of times I, you know, fly back and forth. I've actually resorted to like driving sometimes here and there. I'm mostly on calls all day anyways, so it's kind of nice just to you know be able to kick it in the car and take the road all the way down.

RJ: Yeah. Yeah, no doubt how much that's like a what like a six-hour drive at least?

Vince: Yeah. Yeah. I first started doing it actually like when covid hit and I always thought you know going to LA was great but you know, I was sort of like confined to wherever I landed and could Uber to and then I think it was really around like when the whole Uber, Lyft debacle happened and the regulation almost like, you know ruled them out. 

RJ: Yeah.

Vince: From operating, I realized I really needed a car every time I went down to LA so driving down that way I would have my car when I'm there. 

RJ: No doubt. No doubt right on man. Well, I'm glad that you, you know, are still keeping busy in spite of all this and you know still still getting out there and hopefully staying safe out there man.

Vince: Yeah.

RJ: How has it personally been for you? I know, you know, like asking the simple question of how are you doing it, you know, it carries a lot more weight than it usually does so how has it been, you know personally for you this year man?

Vince: Pretty good. I mean this year including 2020.

RJ: Yeah sure. 

Vince: Yeah. I mean I would say, you know things despite, you know, the face level, the pandemic, you know the civil unrest and everything that went on in the White House, you know, all things considered I'm still alive and well and I think like you're mentioning, you know I don’t take it as much for granted anymore these days than I've been before. So yeah, pretty happy with everything that's going on. You know business is growing. You know, I think our team is hiring and so yeah can't really complain.

RJ: Yeah cool right on man and you know what we are actually recording this, this is going to come out after this day, but we're recording this on inauguration day.

Vince: Yeah.

RJ: The inauguration just happened just a few hours ago so as of this recording we officially have a new Presidential Administration in the US. So I wanted to ask you, you know along with that and you know, the status of the MORE act to seek to federally legalize cannabis and you know, there was news of now President Biden, he selected a supporter of legalization to head the DNC, the Democratic National Committee, so what are your thoughts and hopes for the status of federal cannabis legalization in the US whether it be this year or hopefully in the next four years at least?

Vince: Yeah, I mean, you know, I don't think anyone can really say for certain but you know as it currently stands, I think all signals are pointing in the right direction and you know, we're closer than we ever have been before in history, you know since the war on drugs so, you know all sort of like legislative branches executive branches are all more favorable than they were before at least in recent history. So, you know, I think for us, you know, we whenever we execute and we make strategic plans on like a monthly, quarterly and annual basis, on a five-year basis, we you know, we keep those things in mind as far as like where the direction of the industry is going how to structure our business model often times. It's really hard to plan around those sorts of things but you know, I think we generally try to assume that those will happen, to mentally, you know, you can't really plan for all sorts of terminal states of the future so, you know, these are all the best, you know, likelihood, likely outcomes that we can predict and so, you know, I don't think we'd be working in the cannabis industry if we didn't believe that it was one day going to be legal in our lifetimes, so that being said, I think kind of our actions speak for themselves in a lot of ways.

RJ: Sure. Yeah, you are right, definitely that there's no way to possibly plan for every possible outcome because if you would have told me in 2019 what was going to happen the next year I probably would have left you off the stage. Hopefully yeah, I would have hoped that that would have not happened but here we are. So yeah, man, so tell me about your company now,I understand that your company Nabis, you provide software and logistics solutions for cannabis brands here in the state of California. Tell me about when and how yourself and your partner Jun Lee? Is that his name?

Vince: Mhm!

RJ: Cool tell me about how you started the company? When you started the company? And why you felt like this is an important service to offer cannabis brands?

Vince: Yeah, you know for us personally speaking, I guess since graduating college, we ended up coming out to the west coast, we grew up together as childhood best friends over in DC.

RJ: Oh cool! 

Vince: And then split up for college so I went to University Virginia and my co-founder went to Harvard. Both went into sort of computer science degrees in Silicon Valley, worked as engineers for big tech companies and so our sort of like professional skill set is always been software development and in particular actually on the B2B side of things and so, you know building scalable enterprise tools and distributed systems was, you know, our bread and butter and you know, I think both of us always wanted to start a business together, both of us had this entrepreneurial side, always had side projects going on and you know after I left my stint at Microsoft, I started another startup not in cannabis, it was like an enterprise developer tool, software product.

RJ: Is that called Scaffold?

Vince: Yeah scaffold. 

RJ: Okay! Yeah cool cool. Yeah right on.

Vince: And so yeah, that's what brought me down the Bay Area, we got funding from some top-tier investors down here and then ended up after about a year and a half selling it to Amazon. So now it's actually an Amazon Web Service Tool that's listed so that was pretty cool…

RJ: Yeah.

Vince: For me to experience or like a full life cycle of a company from start to finish and see the product continue to carry on it’s legacy at you know, a mighty company like Amazon and so I think around then I was probably like 22 or 23, definitely still had this like bug or itch to you know, continue this entrepreneurial side of me and path and you know from there I just I thought I wanted to continue exploring not just how to use my personal skill sets in in software development but also, how can I marry that with you know, just personal passions as well? Even if it, you know, wasn't the biggest idea at first, you know, I just wanted to start small work on something I really liked and enjoyed doing every day I woke up and so, you know at the time was like mid-2017 cannabis had just recreationalized in California. Licenses were about to be granted and so it was like a pretty exciting time and I think there was a lot to look forward to then so I got together with Jun and we just started shipping products for a friend of ours. It was kind of a fortuitous relationship that we had through like a second degree connection but he owned this pre-roll company that distributed products across California to a bunch of Ease depots and so you know for us like we just yeah, we just wanted to like you learn more about the industry, the supply chain as it currently stood back then and just you know, just work with people his suppliers and vendors that we work with and so that was kind of our shoe-in to get into the industry didn't really think that distribution was like the end-all-be-all solution but just happened to be that as we were delivering products, we weren't really doing it for profit, it was mostly just for building up the relationships and the network in the industry but we just kept getting, people kept referring new more and more brands to us thinking that every you know, every single week, we’d drive up and down the state in our own vehicles and people were like, oh, why don't you just, you know, since you're going up there anyways I'll just drop off some more product with you and... 

RJ: Sure.

Vince: Deliver it there too and we're like sure yeah! I mean it was a great opportunity for us to build our network. So we kept doing it and when 2018 rolled around the new licenses came out and for us to continue doing that we had to get a distribution license and so we sort of like look down the list of you know, the six I believe you have five or six different license major license types, distribution was the one that allowed us to persist as far as like deliveries go and you know, we just we got a distribution license, applied for it, got it, got the license and from that point on like there was just so many like brands and suppliers that really wanted help with shipping their products because you know on the cusp of this legalization you know a lot of great talent and smart people are getting into the industry who wanted to like build a cannabis brand and contrary to a lot of you know other verticals such as like, you know, beauty or fashion or you know other CPG products or food distribution, you can start a brand and there's like existing infrastructure and platforms to help you launch your brand and you can build, you know, true like direct-to-consumer e-commerce brands without having to own any of that infrastructure and so for us in this industry was just so amazing, everyone was still self distributing their products. Imagine if you wanted to, you know, start a popcorn brand and you had to buy your own trucks and warehouses and distribution from California in Los Angeles all the way to Maine. 

RJ: Right. Yeah. 

Vince: All the way to the east coast. It would just take us so long to scale and so people just really needed a service like ours and kept using it, kept, you know, basically just through word of mouth. We didn't really even have a marketing team, we still really don't have a marketing team today, it's all just word of mouth.

RJ: Wow.

Vince: And people see our platform as this really scalable logistic solution that can get their products across the state of California. We’re the cheapest service in the industry and the software layer really is like what sort of combines all of it and offers this unified experience for the customer so that they can basically have the look and feel of their own distribution platform without having to own any of that infrastructure.

RJ: Oh I see ya right on. Man so that's such a cool story, how like your company literally started with the most organic process like possible like you literally sort of just like planted a seed and like it just snowballed into what it is now and you mentioned that it was really through word-of-mouth that really, you know, brought you to where you are now and facilitated your growth. Do you think that you can speak to this because you've been in other industries before, does the cannabis industry differentiate itself from others in that there is still that foundation of word-of-mouth? Of course, that foundation is everywhere but maybe less so in more established and larger industries, whereas the cannabis industry is backed by this known like community.

Vince: Yep.

RJ: Of people right. 

Vince: Absolutely.

RJ: Exchanging ideas and really helping each other along the way in like you said, this nation industry. So how does the cannabis industry differentiate itself from the other industries that you've worked in?

Vince: Yeah, you know, I think maybe it'd be best to start off by talking about how it's similar.

RJ: Sure.

Vince: And I can give you sort of differentiators. Um, yeah, I mean I think cannabis at the end of the day is a plant. It's something, it’s a physical good that needs a supply chain and I think in a lot of senses can exhibit similar qualities and traits of other supply chains for you know food or alcohol or pharmaceuticals. I think one thing that makes it really different is the thing you mentioned is around the community and I think the interesting part is, I think it's the community's brought together for sort of like two reasons as we see it today is one is just like the fact that it was, I think the medicinal properties of the plant like, you know it has its own natural community of like consumers so that brings a lot of people together and I think sort of the gray area of the industry right now makes people closer because they feel like they need to in order to do business with one another you need to really trust the partners you work with. So we put a lot of dedicated time and effort into building a lot of trust, building high-quality service, making people feel comfortable handing off their, you know, millions of dollars worth of products with us to ship across the state. I think the second thing is actually more systemic where you know cannabis as an industry is a very highly regulated industry and so because of that you can't just you know have someone learn how to contrary to for instance like the software industry, you know software is known for having very low startup costs, you know, you can have anyone learn how to write a couple of script lines, script or code and be able to build a website and you know start selling things online. In cannabis, you need a license, you need all the proper legal measures and checkboxes checked off, you know, there's you know, there's a lot of restrictions for who you can even work with and so from that respect it sort of creates this fence around the industry and it makes it this closed loop ecosystem where you know, once you meet one person they introduce you to all the other people that you can work with and then it kind of fans out from there and I think that creates that because it's like a closed loop ecosystem it creates that sort of community as well that becomes very tight nit over time. 

RJ: Mmm, for sure for sure. Now and you mentioned that you are originally from the DC area, so you're originally from the opposite coast. I'm originally from Michigan so we're both sort of on that side of the country. You know, we're both probably, we've grown up in the snow every now and again.

Vince: Totally. 

RJ: I'm sure if you're like me you may not miss it as much as you know…

Vince: Yeah. 

RJ: You might not miss it as much as you thought you would have because I certainly don't. Although I love my home state. I love to get back there as much as I possibly can. Tell me about how your personal sort of introduction or entry into the cannabis industry. What was it like coming, you know coming up in DC to then coming to California, specifically Northern California where there is there, you know has been that foundation of cannabis growing up in that area in Northern California. What was that like for you making that journey from the east coast to the west coast and what made you eventually choose to get into the cannabis industry? And did you at all ever experience backlash or judgment from that?

Vince: Yeah. It's a great question so I mean coming from the east coast I guess I've always just wanted to be on the west coast, it's kind of like you at least at least one part of your life want to try it out. So it wasn't specifically for cannabis related reasons and yeah for me I think growing up is just like you here pop songs and like celebrities talk about how great LA is or San Francisco and California in general. So, you know, that's kind of where the elure came from to come out here and I think that at the time that was kind of, you know conjoined with like my sort of aspirations in the tech world, so that's kind of what brought me out here. That kind of married professional and personal, passions wise and then how I transition from sort of like the tech space into cannabis was really just, you know, seeing how nascent the industry was how much there needs to be still built left in this industry and you know for someone who's you know, my age right now is like 27, I really wanted to be part of like a like this greater movement, this cultural movement of our generation and I felt very privileged and fortunate to be to be standing in this situation where you know cannabis was legalizing in my lifetime and in addition to that I think you know withas it compares to like perhaps even like the agriculture industry where you could potentially consider cannabis as a plant, you know, there's already like large players in that industry like Monsanto for instance in cannabis there's just no incompetence and there's no sort of like predefined standards or notions and so, you know coming into this space you really got to experience this like wild west and to be able to invent and define this structure that never existed before so I think the backlash didn't really come from like the industry because there was no sort of like predefined notions people were very open to new technology and new tools. They frankly just needed it.

RJ: Sure.

Vince: And I think the backlash mostly came culturally, you know as an Asian-American, I think you know my parents were definitely, I kind of kept it from them for a while. I kind of you know beat around the bush whenever they asked me what I was doing my time these days or those days and you know, I kind of just said I was working on the software logistic startup and they actually told me, they said, they kept questioning me, I mean, I think they kind of knew in the back of their head but they were like isn't that already like a solved problem? And I was like, yeah, but it's different. I gotta go. Bye. Yeah, so that kind of went on for a few months and then I think what sort of brought all of it together for me was really just there was like an article that came out on Forbes that really just like announced sort of this like we're kind of like a sore thumb in the industry, you know, like people were not very like Tech forward in the industry at that time and so you know for us is like software engineers, you know who were making a great salary, having a cushy job coming into the cannabis space it was just an interesting story and so like Forbes made this article about it. It got to my parents without me telling them about it and so they confronted me about it before I, you know, so they basically they heard about it through they heard about what I did through the news before they heard about it from me directly.

RJ: Wow.

Vince: Yeah, and so I was kind of freaking out that day but then turns out ironically that they were really supportive. I mean, I think my parents these days just want me to be safe. You know just with any sort of entrepreneur experience like your parents just want you to be like happy and fulfilled and make sure you're not, you know starving on the streets because it was fun. There's a fine line between entrepreneurship and unemployment.

RJ: Yeah. Yeah. 

Vince: And so yeah from there we you know, I just kind of is wage their concerns just continue to work hard at this business and continue to grow it and I think over time these days they're super supportive and my parents actually invested in the business and so I think that speaks a lot to how much the stigma has really changed in the industry as well. Where like, you know before you never expect like, you know, 50 almost 60 year old Asian woman to like really be supportive of cannabis let alone under those words and yeah and nowadays putting her money where her mouth is. So yeah, really really excited to see that that change and then ,you know public perception.

RJ: Man. Yeah, man, I can totally relate to you. We had definitely a similar experience coming up in Michigan and you know, I came up in a part of Michigan which was very rural. We're talking like 3,000 people. The population hasn't changed since 95. It was like me and a few other Filipinos just like kind of having each other's backs out there not to say that it was a bad experience because I loved where I grew up. It was just we were the only brown people around. 

Vince: Yeah.

RJ: And it was very, you know, a more conservative leaning place in a lot of ways and so that was just you know, the mentality of that area and then of course, you know being an Asian-American, you know, I had that similar experience where it was just, my parents just wanted to make sure that I was safe like you said, you know, they wanted to make sure that I wasn't starving in the street, you know, it was yeah the whole story of you know, we immigrated to this country so that you wouldn't have to starve in the street, you know what I mean? 

Vince: Exactly.

RJ: And then my dumbass was like I'm gonna be an actor and there were like and I would hear the same thing. It was a similar thing that you said about entrepreneurship is there's a fine line between being an actor and being unemployed and my acting teacher the first thing she said to me was 95% of actors of working actors are unemployed and I was like awesome and my parents were there for that presentation and I could feel them both like kind of look at me and they were like RJ and I was like, I know I know and then you can imagine their reaction to after I moved out here, you know, and I was you know, acting and performing and finding these media outlets that eventually I was like, hey, my acting has now brought me into making cannabis media and you know, that was just a very, they were like, wow, like you said if they were preparing for any possible outcome, this is the one they weren't preparing.

Vince: Exactly. Yeah.

RJ: So yeah, man, I completely relate to you in terms of that experience and now that's great so that yeah and so it raises the question that I now have for you, what does it feel like then to sort of be a catalyst for changing the perception of cannabis in your family, you know for those around you coming from where you came from and the experience that you had, what was it like to sort of see the mind of your mom in particular change overtime because I had that experience to seeing that change.

Vince: Yeah. I mean I think for me it was you know, I think the reason why I enjoy spending my time, you know doing these talks and like, you know, really expressing my opinion about where the industry is going is because I, you know want the perception to change ultimately and I think the more and more, you know, we get into a room together and like, you know, talk about all great benefits of it I think over time, you know new generations and like old perception start to change. I think being a champion of that in my own community, I don't take the approach generally of shoving it down people's throats. You know, I think for me, it's mostly I've always operated based upon meritocracy and just you know, leading by example and by action and so, you know, I wanted this company to be really successful and have that to be living proof of why this industry will exist for now and forever and I think you know through that, yeah, I think to see my parents, you know, turn around and accepting this is you know, brings me a lot of fulfillment because I feel like my methods worked there and making that happen. I think, you know, it's often times if you try to shove something down people's throats, they kind of rejected more and so I think for me I just I worked really I just tried to you know, put my head down and work really hard at this until that sort of changed so that's kind of like my been my approach to it as far as like my community and like my personal relationships and you know people who I think you know might have a different perception of the industry but yeah, I mean over time you start seeing that change pretty quickly.

RJ: Yeah, for sure. Yeah, the work certainly speaks for itself and that was the same thing with me was like when you know, when my loved ones saw that, you know, we were actually doing work, you know what I mean? We're actually working,you know, yeah and you know, it's a new thing, you know, we've been conditioned all these years especially in this country, you know to denounce cannabis in every way and you know, it's, you know, the Reefer Madness and all of that. So yeah a cultural ship is a very large frigate to turn it takes it takes a whole hell of a lot to to to get those sails to to turn so…

Vince: Yeah.

RJ: So I completely relate to that idea of meritocracy and letting the work show for itself and you know, just really putting your head down and focusing on the work that you have ahead of you.

Vince: Absolutely. 

RJ: Yeah after everything that speaks the most.

Vince: Yeah. Yeah, I think you know apart from like money and you know those like material things. I think it's like the mission sort of starts resounding a little better over time, you know there's like certain like truths to it to you know, like our company employs over a hundred people, you know, that's like beneficial to the industry or to the society and so, you know those sorts of things mentorship allowing people develop and grow building up talent, you know, I have a lot of friends who you know used to work on Wall Street and now they're all investing cannabis or have joined cannabis companies and so yeah, I think those sorts of things by the numbers speak for themselves.

RJ: Mmm. Yeah, no doubt and I definitely want to ask you about this because you know speaking about being in the cannabis industry, you know, seeing the change of such a young industry over time, the topic of representation in the cannabis industry has been a growing talking point throughout the years. Personally for me when I see cannabis media or whenever I even see the schedule for guests that are coming on this show as grateful as I am for all of them, I don't often see people in the space that look like me, at all really, so I'm curious as to what your thoughts are on representation in the industry and how it can be better?

Vince: Yeah. Yeah. I mean I think for like, you know Asians and people from our general heritage, I think they're there you know, like you jump into a room and then you find someone who kind of looks like you and yeah, it's definitely there. It's just not as pronounced. I would say people aren't as forthcoming about it. They're not the first people to like step in front of the room and say like hey, I work in cannabis and you know, I definitely felt that way myself as well and in a lot of ways I still do I have to kind of work against my own like intuition and inhibitions to be able to do that. I think yeah, I mean more and more I work in this industry. I find more and more Asian people at it. There's a lot of, there's a whole like sub-sect of this larger cannabis community that is like the Asian cannabis, which I think is like really powerful to.

RJ: Yeah.

Vince: And it brings like our people closer together as well ao yeah, and I think you know, that's really critical because of the fact that you know Asians and the historical culture has been predisposed to not, you know, to be opposed to cannabis and so, you know, if you personally want to do it, you know, you need that community to help support you in that action. Otherwise, you're going to eventually just you know dip out of the industry because you feel like it's too much cultural pressure.

RJ: Yeah.

Vince: And so, you know, the more people that jump in the more, you know, people like us who are outspoken about I think the better ultimately.

RJ: Totally man. Yeah. I had that exact same experience where you know, I was so curious to want to jump into to this community and to this industry at least, you know, however, ancillary I may be but there was that that that cultural pressure, you know what I mean where I was like I am I dishonoring my ancestors by doing this?

Vince: Yeah, like am I doing something wrong? 

RJ: Yeah, like there's so much there was like a level of guilt, you know what I mean? But at the same time, you know, it was what I love doing and it was in line with my passions and my interest and my skill set that, it felt natural but then at the same time, it felt unnatural because of just the the conditioning and cultural pressure out there. 

Vince: Exactly exactly.

RJ: So yeah, man, I just it's nice to get to share that experience with someone and like you said, that like group of Asian-American cannabis people, you know in the industry is so important, you know, not only to build each other up and to have each other's backs but to make sure that other people like us, who are in that same canna-curious position, you know have have a resource…

Vince: Totally.

RJ: If and when they do make that decision.

Vince: Totally. Yeah, I mean I think in a way I think because our company is run by like to minorities.

RJ: Yeah.

Vince: We try to cater a lot of our services towards small businesses because we know that like a lot of the bigger businesses are run by, you know, Wall Street folks with a lot of money and like, you know, we don't want this industry to be run by, you know corporates like that and so, you know, I think in order for the smaller businesses, the smaller brands, more boutique ones, the minority-owned ones, the you know female own ones for them to succeed, they need support. They can't have just like another you know, distributor who basically doesn't work with small businesses because they just don't have access to market so one of our core values and mission is to really just provide that access to the market for anyone and any type of business and give everyone a fair shot at getting to market and so, you know, we started with like the logistics side. That's like kind of like bare metal like picks and shovels like we give people the tools to get their products out there and then you know lately we launched a couple new services, one being a service called Napa's Capital that basically offers like short-term financing and lending solutions for small businesses because banking is a major problem.

RJ: Yeah.

Vince: You know bigger bigger brands, bigger businesses can get banking and a lot of you know as long as there follow all the kyc and diligence but small businesses just don't have that type of opportunity and you know on top of that we offer like this, you know e-commerce like online marketplace as well for free for brand so like they can list their products because a lot of people, you know, who jump into this industry don't know anyone and it's hard to get contact who's like a buyer at like a decent, you know retail store and so you know for us we ship now, you know over a quarter billion dollars worth of product a year to pretty much every dispensary in the state and so we want to be able to you know, bring together all of our network and offer it to our customers and our brands no matter who they are and I think that's something that you know, really speaks to our clients as you know, something that we offer apart from just like, you know trucking and warehousing and offering, a really fast delivery service at a cheap cost, those are all just like economical benefits. I think the other on top of that is really just you know the network that you get when you come to Nabis, that kind of has a whole nother, it's an intangible that you know is pretty priceless.

RJ: Yeah, certainly it is an intangible for sure to be a shepherd of community if you will.

Vince: Yeah.

RJ: If you allow me to gas you up a little bit, a shepherd of community. It's a very important role and it is an intangible but it is essential.

Vince: Yes.

RJ: Definitely, especially in the space in which we both find ourselves. So Nabis has been in operation for about three years now, right? 2017 was about when you started?

Vince: Yeah.

RJ: And most recently Nabis was named a y-combinator top company for 2021. What does that mean? 

Vince: Yeah. Yeah. I mean I guess Y combinator is probably more known to people in like the tech space but it's I would say it's like the Harvard of startup incubators. It's like the number-one most recognized startup incubator program or fund if you will, so they've developed companies, they were like the first Investors in like DoorDash that IPOed. Also Run Away Asians, you know AirBnB. 

RJ: Yeah are my favorite delivery service too. I didn't even know they were run by Asians but yeah

Vince: Yeah, Airbnb, Dropbox and so like, you know to be even invested in by them was a huge honor and I think spoke a lot to the industry and how mainstream it's becoming and you know on top of that, they come out with this list every year of like top companies in their entire portfolio, you know amongst that entire portfolio are the great's that I just mentioned earlier and it really meant a lot to us to see our name listed there and you know, I think again it speaks a lot to the industry as well to demonstrate how big this market is and like how much opportunity there really is that you can build a big enough business here and so, you know that was that was really cool I don't know if it means that much to people outside of tech but you know within tech it's definitely a huge accomplishment.

RJ: Totally, well something that would mean something to anyone whether you're in tech or not is on top of Nabis being named, you know the Y-combinator, top company for 2021, you and Jun were also named under in Forbes 30 under 30 for Enterprise Technology for 2021 so that's pretty dope the accolades just don't stop. What was that like? 

Vince: Yeah, that was pretty cool too. You know that came sort of like as a surprise because they don't really tell you if you get named or not, you kind of just like drop in an application get some of your mentors or people you respect to like give you a nomination.

RJ: Sure.

Vince: And submit those and they don't really tell you that list drops or like if you made it until that list actually drops and so, you know for us, you know, just woke up one morning had a bunch of texts and emails and Linkedin messages and it was just it was really cool sight to see. I think in the sameway as like the YC top companies list, you know, that one definitely spoke to a broader audience like you're mentioning but also speaks to the industry as well but they're like, you know, such a reputable publication such as Forbes would out of all the entrepreneurs in the world dedicate, you know, one of their 30 spots in Enterprise Technology to a cannabis business I think you know, it's you know, those spots are pretty pretty pretty rare and so, you know to give it to someone in cannabis, I think demonstrates how progressive you know, their publication is and you know, they really wanted to shine a spotlight on this industry. So yeah, really really happy to see that happen. I mean at the end of day like you said they're all just accolades but these are all just accolades. You know, I think these are nice little boost of energy throughout the journey but I think the work is far from over.

RJ: Yeah. Oh totally but always nice to be recognized for good work, man. So congratulations on that. 

Vince: Thanks man. 

RJ: Yeah, no doubt. 

Vince: Thank you.

RJ: Now 2021 for y'all is obviously already off to a pretty rad start so what are you looking forward to for the course of this year at Nabis?

Vince: Yeah, I mean this year I think it's going to be exciting for us in the industry as a whole, you know, just through our brands through our community, we're starting to feel that like energy and that excitement built back up. I think last year was kind of like, you know, someone sunk a dagger into like our balloon and then basically it was just everyone regrouping a little bit and I think the companies that came out of last year are definitely stronger than they were before and I think it really shook out and weeded out the bad guys and not really or rather like the bad operators and then really solidified and strengthened the folks with resolve and so I think coming into this year, you have a lot more, you know, good operators, good talent in the industry, I think there's going to be a lot more capital coming into this industry as well as investors start turning towards, you know, cannabis and seeing all the like the favorable tailwinds of legalization across the US sweeping across the US and then I think there's a lot more people that are going to to want to like start brands and I think it's going to be a year where you know everyone's going to be experimenting with like new lines of products and new product categories. I think ultimately all that I can say is the consumer is just going to have such a wide selection of choices and cool new interesting products. So yeah, can't wait to see what comes out, you know, frankly speaking, we're just like, you know sort of this backbone infrastructural piece should real creatives out there are the brands, you know dreaming up all these innovative new ideas and so, you know, we just want to be here to help support the industry when it's here.

RJ: That's rad man. That's awesome. I'm stoked for you. Now where can our viewers and our listeners find out more about everything that's going on at Nabis and keep up with you?

Vince: Yeah, you can email me directly if you want and if you want to find more about our services, you can go to or you can follow us on Instagram, it's @getnabis and those would probably be the best places to find us. 

RJ: Right on man. Hey Vincent, thanks so much for taking the time man. I really appreciate it. It was awesome to get to connect with you man and I hope you continue to stay safe up there in NorCal and hopefully once everything is cleared up maybe we could meet up in person for a Hash It Out round two.

Vince: Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for having me on the show RJ nowhere.

RJ: Man stick around just afterwards. I'm going to say thank you to you off camera but stay safe out there man be well and we'll catch you later.

Vince: Awesome. Yeah. 

RJ: My thanks again to Vincent Ning for joining me. If you are a member of the Cannabis community and have a story you want to share with us, we would love to hear from you. You can reach the show at You can help others find the show by taking a moment to subscribe to the podcast and write a review. You can also join the discussion with industry insiders and get your voice heard by joining the community at and following us on all social media. Hash It Out is produced by David Fortin and presented by I am your host RJ Balde. Thank you so much for liking, subscribing and clicking that bell and I'll catch you next time.


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