Nathaniel Gurien is the CEO of FINCANN, a company bringing compliant banking and payment solutions to the legal cannabis industry.
We recently invited Nathaniel for a Q&A session to talk about his background and his company FINCANN.
Ganjly: What is your background and what made you decide to pursue a career in cannabis?
Nathaniel Gurien: I have been a disruptive, pioneering entrepreneur for many years primarily in the name-brand consumer electronics industry. After that sector virtually collapsed during the 2008 economic crash I eventually moved my family to NYC and became a real estate broker. I was obliged to make the transition from an unaccountable ‘gray market’ operator to ethical professional practice. This experience provides me empathy with the challenges facing cannabis industry entrepreneurs making a similar transition from the illegal to a regulated legal landscape. I was unhappy in real estate and was open to a colleague’s invitation to attend MJBiz 2015 and experience the cannabis industry up front. I was hooked and the rest is history.
Ganjly: How many employees do you have in FINCANN and what kind of traits do you look for when hiring new members?
Nathaniel Gurien: Our organization is de-centralized with two HQ staff, contracted marketing, public relations, accounting, capital advisory and legal, plus a wide network of strategic partners, referral agents, and advisors. We seek mutual added-value in new members and partners.
Ganjly: What is the most challenging experience you have had in the cannabis industry so far?
Nathaniel Gurien: Overcoming the banking industry’s irrational prejudice against marijuana, which is at the core of our current dilemma with banking and merchant processing. Thank goodness electric utility, internet and telephone providers don’t share this prejudice.
Ganjly: What is your proudest moment since you started down this path of being an entrepreneur in the cannabis space?
Nathaniel Gurien: One of my BFFs (Best Feline Friend) was diagnosed with inoperable cancer and given a couple unpleasant months to live. Cannabis tincture gave him (and our family) another 18 months of symptom-free life together for which we will be forever grateful.
Ganjly: Do you have plans for new products, services or events and would you be willing to drop any hints about what we can expect from FINCANN in the future?
Nathaniel Gurien: In collaboration with my roughly couple dozen happy warrior colleagues active in the cannabis banking and electronic payment processing sector, I’m optimistic that 2018 will be the year these issues will no longer trouble our industry. Exciting and innovative solutions are in the works and each month we’re making important progress. FINCANN will be introducing branded cannabis-friendly financial products over the next 18 months.
Ganjly: What is your advice for hopeful cannabis entrepreneurs who are considering joining the cannabis industry? What are the positives and negatives they should expect?
Nathaniel Gurien: The best advice I received was during my first week in the industry: “Attend industry conferences, network with colleagues and apply your existing professional skills and experience to find your niche.’ There’s so much more to this industry than growing, dispensing and manufacturing cannabis. Be prepared for several false starts before settling in. Collaborate and share, don’t try to go it alone. There are so much joy and love in this industry. Embrace it!”
Thank you, Nathaniel, for taking the time out to talk to us!
To learn more about his company, go to FINCANN.