Recently, we sat down with Jon-Paul Doran, CEO and Founder of JPD Capital. JPD Capital was created to capitalize on the opportunities in the cannabis market – and the chance to help provide alternative treatments to those in need of care.
Tell us your background and how you got into investing?
I started my career in finance at Citi group and helped raise money for pre- IPO, small to mid-cap companies before investing in my own and launching Eco Equity.
Tell us about JPD Capital?
JPD capital is a PCC (Protected Cell Company) that allows our investors to invest in our portfolio of Medicinal Cannabis projects. Currently, our focus is on scaling our Zimbabwe production facility to produce and export botanical API for pharmaceutical applications.
What made you focus the Fund on Medicinal Cannabis?
To clarify we have a fund-like structure that is a PCC that allows investors to invest in any one of our projects in the portfolio. Currently, the focus is on Eco Equity Zimbabwe. We decided to focus on medicinal cannabis because of its high growth potential as an emerging market opportunity, that combined with our experience and knowledge in finance made it a perfect fit. Secondly, there is a need to supply this vital pharmaceutical ingredient to a patient wherever they need it, the lack of supply and availability is a genuine issue for public concern. Due to having an experienced team on board that specializes in the industry and realizing the expediential growth of the sector that will result in great returns for my investors. My experience and knowledge in finance made the perfect fit in such a high growth market.
How are cannabis start-ups different from investing in tech start-ups?
A tech start-up will focus on a problem-domain and develop a technology that solves key issues facing any given sector, industry or business function. There will be competitors already in the market place to compete with, and carving a small market share organically is difficult without acquisition. There is also uncertainty in terms of making a sale monthly. In medicinal cannabis this is different, it is a new market sector, the competitive landscape is less crowded, the current producers are not able to meet market demand. Execution is, therefore, a matter of lowering the cost of production, with an abundance of buyers looking for high-quality products. Differentiation is less of an issue.
What are the biggest challenges in the cannabis ecosystem?
There are so many different companies out there trying to do the same thing but what depicts us out of the rest is our promise to produce a GMP certified and highly effective product. This is, of course, a challenge to overcome as there are very stringent procedures in place for producing such medicine, but I trust my team is more than capable.
What common mistakes do you see in start-up pitches?
Not enough knowledge in the industry. There are strict laws in place, depending on the government – some companies think by applying for a license and acquiring land it will automatically result in a profitable business but in fact, there is so much more that goes into it than that. You need to ensure you have a qualified team, a good business model and enough financial backing.
How closely do you work with the other members of your team?
We really are a family; some members are actually old school friends. We started small and have remained a tight-knit group.
How important is the team?
In my opinion, the success of a business is all down to its staff and I have no shame in admitting that without my team and their continuous hard work we wouldn’t be in the position we are in today.
How do you help them open doors?
In every department, I provide relevant training and support those wanting to enhance their career with further skills or qualifications. We work together and I’ll always actively share my knowledge of finance and investment in order to help them flourish.