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Billionaire Watch

How two brothers started a cannabis business now valued at $1.7 billion

Brothers, Ross and Zach Lipson run a cannabis company that is now valued at $1.7 billion.

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Technology has disrupted virtually every major sector out there. It has dominated the regular sectors and is now finding its way into the more obscure ones. Technology is now been used in the supply and distribution of cannabis which recently achieved a semi-legal status in some states in the US.

A few days ago a watershed moment in the Legal marijuana industry occurred when Dutchie, a startup company raised $200m from investors and is now valued at $1.7 billion.

The fascinating cannabis startup makes use of technology to facilitate safe and efficient dispensary of cannabis

READ: US House passes reform bill to decriminalize marijuana

The Dutchie Story

According to Crunchbase Dutchie was founded in 2017 as a online cannabis ordering platform that connects consumers to local cannabis retailers. The company was founded by brothers and co-founders, Ross Lipson and Zach Lipson in the city of Bend, Oregon USA.

Ross, the elder of the brothers initially founded a food delivery operation in Canada which later got acquired. The idea to find Dutchie struck him while waiting for his turn in a local weed dispensary shop. His younger brother, Zach joined the company as Senior Product Manager.

READ: Coca Cola’s interest in cannabis presents export opportunities for Nigeria

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Speaking to the Entrepreneur, Ross Lipson described the exact moment the idea to start Dutchie hit him.

He said, “Cannabis had just been legalized for recreational use in Oregon, so I and everyone else in my town lined up, sometimes for an hour, outside the busy dispensaries. When I finally got to the counter, I had mere minutes to read the menu and even less time to discuss it with the budtender and make an informed decision. It was a terrible customer experience.

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“That’s when it hit me. What if I could just go online, educate myself about the products available at each dispensary, determine which was right for me, click a button, and have them delivered straight to my home?”

READ: My Hustle: How I make money from operating a cold room business

$200 million raised, $1.7 billion valuation

Dutchie shattered the glass ceiling with the latest Series C funding it secured recently. It raised $200 million at a $1.7 billion from investors by convincing them to bet on the spread of the legalization of cannabis across various states in the US.

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The Series C funding was led by an investment firm, Tiger Global and also included previous investors Casa Verde Capital, Dragoneer DFJ Growth and former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.

Dutchie has attracted a list of exciting investors over the years. According to Marijuana Business daily it raised $35 million in August 2020 from a group of investors that included Snoop Dog’s Casa Verde Capital, Thrive Capital, Gron Ventures, and Schultz.

READ: How snail farming can put real money in your pocket

What you should know

  • According to Business Insider, Cannabis has been legalized in 15 American states and Washington DC. Medical Marijuana has been legalized in 36 states!
  • US analyst believe recreational Cannabis sale is set to hit a whopping $40 billion in the next 4 years!
  • Dutchie works with 2,116 dispensaries and operates in 36 markets in the US and Canada.
  • The collective net worth of the Lipson Brothers is still largely unknown but from the recent valuation of Dutchie and its prospective market growth, it is clear that the brothers are well on their way to the billionaires club.

I Am A Business Analyst And Digital Media Enthusiast Covering Wealth And Business Leaders. Follow Me On Twitter

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Billionaire Watch

Meet the only man on top 5 billionaire list who is not in tech

Bernard Arnault, today owns and has huge stakes in over 70 different luxury brands in the market. 

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How Bernard Arnault Became The 4th Richest Man In The World Selling Luxury Brands

The internet has made many people multibillionaires. The first five richest people in the world are all tech gurus who made their money from the technology sector, except one.

The fourth richest man in the world has no known successful investment in technology but somehow maintains a staggering net worth of $177.8bn. He started this week as the third richest person but a surge in Microsoft stocks saw Bill Gates displace him to the 4th position at the time of writing this report.

Our person of interest sits atop a 70 luxury brands empire which includes big names like LVMH, Sephora, and Hermes. He has stakes in virtually all the big luxury brands that have become household names.

Meet Bernard Arnault, the luxury brand king 

Bernard Arnault started his adult life as an engineer but somewhere along the line, decided to delve into the world of luxury brands. At 22 he took over his father’s construction company where he rose to become president, succeeding his father.

His adventure into the world of luxury brands officially kicked off in the year 1984, with the help of Antoine Bernheim, a senior partner of financier Lazard Frères et Cie. Bernard acquired a dying textile company that owned a host of brand labels including the now-famous Christian Dior.

He surged on from there to buy and invest in virtually all the top luxury brands in the market.

According to Forbes Bernard Arnault, today owns and has huge stakes in over 70 different luxury brands in the market.

Key Strategy: Decentralization

Bernard Arnault while speaking to Harvard Business Magazine revealed what he believes is the key to his successful luxury brand empire – decentralization. 

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Bernard Arnault revealed to the Harvard Business Magazine that despite his company LVMH owning over 70 global brands and employing over 54,000 employees. The headquarters of the global company in Paris is made up of just 250 people.

A key secret of LVMH’s success is the decision to let each of its various brands run as a company of its own without much interference. Every brand runs like a different company and is headed by its own different creative director.

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He strongly believes in the notion of creativity thriving in space and he explained to HBR that acting like a typical boss around creative people stifles their creativity.

In his words, “ I don’t have alarm bells when it comes to creativity. If you think and act like a typical manager around creative people — with rules, policies, data on customer preferences, and so forth — you will quickly kill their talent. Our whole business is based on giving our artists and designers complete freedom to invent without limits.

Our philosophy is quite simple, really. If you look over a creative person’s shoulder, he will stop doing great work. Wouldn’t you, if some manager were watching your every move, clutching a calculator in his hand? So that is why LVMH is, as a company, so decentralized. Each brand very much runs itself, headed by its own artistic director. Central headquarters in Paris is very small, especially for a company with 54,000 employees and 1,300 stores around the world. There are only 250 of us, and I assure you, we do not lurk around every corner, questioning every creative decision.”  

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Brands and numbers 

The LVMH empire owns and has stakes in the following big-name brands: Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Guerlain, Moët & Chandon, Hennessy, Sephora, Berluti, Chaumet, Krug, Bulgari, Fendi, Céline, Emilio Pucci, Kenzo, Loewe, Loro Piana, Rimowa, Fred, Hublot, Zenith, TAG Heuer, etc.

According to Forbes, Bernard Arnault’s net worth is valued at $178.7b. He added a whopping $95bn to his net worth over the course of last year.

This massive surge was spearheaded by a 107% increase in LVMH share prices since March 18 last year.

According to Forbes, in the first quarter of 2021, LVMH recorded $16.7bn in sales revenue with analysts expecting the number to go up.

Bernard Arnault owns a 47% stake in LVMH the parent company which owns in whole and parts over 70 global luxury brands. This is his primary source of income and net worth.

What to know 

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  • The luxury industry is divided into 5 major sectors: Fashion and Leather Goods, Perfumes and Cosmetics, Wines and Spirits, Watches and Jewellery and Selective Retailing.
  • The LVMH house owns stakes in the biggest brands in the world across all 5 sectors.
  • Bernard Arnault has successfully integrated his children into the family empire with each manning a select niche in the LVMH house.
  • Bernard Arnault, speaking to Forbes, revealed that he sees himself as a custodian of the French heritage and culture.

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Billionaire Watch

Bernie Madoff, mastermind of the historic $65bn investment fraud dies at 82

Bernie Madoff passed away today at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina.

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The man behind what has been described by many as the biggest fraud attempt in US history has passed away in government custody.

Bernie Madoff was the architect of the biggest Ponzi scheme attempt in the United States. He was a famous Wall Street fellow who at a certain time was the Chairman of Nasdaq and CEO/Founder of the Wall Street firm, Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC.

Bernie Madoff defrauded about 37,000 people in 136 countries over 4 decades according to US investigators. Included in his victim list are prominent Americans like movie director Stephen Spielberg and former New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon.

READ: Anti-virus creator, John David McAfee charged for U.S tax evasion

Bernie Madoff and the US Govt

Bernie Madoff was arrested on December 11, 2008, following tip-offs. He pleaded guilty to 11 federal crimes and admitted to operating the largest private Ponzi scheme in history. He was sentenced to 150 years in prison with restitution of $170bn.

Death 

Bernie Madoff passed away today at the Federal Medical Center in Butner, North Carolina. His death was confirmed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

Madoff died apparently from natural causes, the AP reported, citing an unidentified person familiar with the matter. He would have turned 83 on April 29.

What you should know 

  • Restitution is a payment made to compensate a victim for financial losses related to a crime.
  • Bernie Madoff’s family was badly affected by his fraud case. His older son Mark committed suicide according to CNBC.
  • JP Morgan Chase, the primary bank of Bernie Madoff was forced to pay $2.6bn to the US government in settlements.

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