2022 brought a lot of change and opportunity in the tobacco and cannabis space. With our long-term experience in placing executives in highly regulated industries like tobacco, we also have been called on for executive recruitment in newer, but substantially similar, cannabis concerns. And over the last year in recruiting for both industries, a few common themes have emerged. We see our clients in tobacco and cannabis focused on:
- Diversifying their product portfolios
- Creating stronger digital marketing campaigns to reach existing customers
- Successfully leveraging customer loyalty in global markets
What Does Product Innovation Look Like in the Tobacco Industry
Numerous well-established players as well as venture-backed startups are approaching the tobacco industry with newer products, most of which are aimed at alternative forms of nicotine delivery.
- Heated tobacco heats actually tobacco leaves, allowing the user to enjoy the flavor and nicotine in those leaves without smoke.
- Shisha tobacco is a syrupy tobacco mix that is smoked in a waterpipe or hookah, and often comes in a variety of flavorings. Shisha is considered a social custom in much of the Arab world, and is popular among diverse audiences in a number of American cities.
- Smokeless tobacco products which can take a variety of forms, including chewing tobacco, dip, and dissolvable products.
New Regional Growth in the Cannabis Industry
The United States cannabis market is currently managed on the state level, and therefore has a patchwork of regulations and markets at differing states of maturity, offering challenges and opportunities for those players, especially in private equity that want to enter the market.
Our approach to highly regulated industries is based on years of experience recruiting in tobacco, food & beverage and wines & spirits. We keep these concepts in mind when recruiting for cannabis:
- Executives who know how to make the most of a patchwork of state laws and regulations
- Cannabis will require creative talent in roles that range from design to publicity to digital and more.
- The cannabis industry is growing an incredible rate in the United States, but is really still in its infancy. In order to grow, it will require veteran executives who can parlay significant operational challenges into new market opportunities.
Cannabis in Pet Medicines
Pet care and pet medicine has been an interesting new avenue for private equity and venture funds looking for find new market opportunities. Scientific studies are showing promise in using CBD compounds to treat joint discomfort, stress and other forms of discomfort in veterinary patients.
The Role of Private Equity in Cannabis/Tobacco and Executive Recruiting
Private equity and venture funds are keeping a close eye on the legal cannabis market, along with innovative product development in the tobacco space. Major players like MedMen and digital app Weedmap have attracted hundreds of millions of dollars in funding.
Beyond retail and digital marketing and distribution, funders in the cannabis and tobacco space are also looking at opportunities in the “agtech” space, which may involve high tech farming, like vertical farm operations.
Crunchbase reported that $5 billion invested in the agtech sector in 2021, in 440 funding deals to VC-backed startups, outpacing the $3.3 billion invested in 422 deals in 2020.
Venture capital is also pouring into the “vertical farming” sector, totaling nearly $1.2 billion worldwide in 2021, and over $800 million this year, according to Pitchbook.
Need assistance in staffing your cannabis or tobacco company? Contact us for a customized strategy for executive recruiting in the tobacco and cannabis industry.