Sohum Shah is the Director of Investor Relations for @MassRoots, the largest and most active social network for cannabis enthusiasts on the web.
We caught up with Sohum to get to know more about his roots and how he ended up in the cannabis industry.
Ganjly: What is your background and what made you decide to pursue a career in cannabis and then join MassRoots?
Sohum Shah: I am the Director of Investor Relations at MassRoots. During my final year working on a dual BSBA in Finance and Management Information Systems at the Eller College of Management at The University of Arizona, Amendment 64 passed by popular vote in my home state of Colorado. I immediately knew I wanted to pursue a career in cannabis. So, I turned down a job offer from Altria (Philip Morris USA) and moved home. Shortly thereafter, I started my first company, the Cannabis Commodities Exchange, a wholesale exchange platform for state-licensed cannabis businesses. Through the course of operating CCX for nearly four years, I got to know MassRoots, and eventually decided to shut down the company to join the MassRoots team.
Ganjly: How many employees does MassRoots have and what kind of traits do you look for when hiring new members?
Sohum Shah: We currently have seven employees. When hiring new team members, we look for candidates who take initiative and have the ability to think creatively with an attention to detail. Knowledge of the cannabis industry and regulations are a big plus, given the constantly changing regulatory and economic environment.
Ganjly: What is the most challenging experience you and MassRoots have had in the cannabis industry so far?
Sohum Shah: The most challenging experience we have faced is transitioning from an early-stage startup to a revenue-generating business. As we raised additional capital, we grew the team rapidly, which led to growing pains and some disagreements among company management.
Ganjly: What is your proudest moment since you started down this path of being an entrepreneur in the cannabis space?
Sohum Shah: For me personally, my proudest moment (apart from joining the MassRoots team), came in August 2015, when I joined The Cannabist (a division of the Denver Post) staff as a freelance writer and professional cannabis critic. The opportunity to smoke different varieties of cannabis and write about it for a major daily newspaper for more than two years was one of the most unique and rewarding experiences of my professional career to date. https://www.thecannabist.co/author/sshah/
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 MassRoots in the future?
Sohum Shah: We are very excited about the imminent launch of a brand new dispensary map and business portal. For a flat monthly fee, dispensaries and other brands will be able to reach our community of more than one million cannabis enthusiasts, as well as receive reviews and feedback about their stores and products. We believe this new product will help us become one of the largest and most useful resources about cannabis products and businesses.
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?
Sohum Shah: Take the leap! Jumping, head first, into a nascent industry is undoubtedly terrifying. However, it also provides a unique opportunity to help build an industry from the ground up. Make no mistake, constant regulatory changes can be frustrating, but just like entrepreneurs, state and local regulators are figuring it out as they go. I believe it’s inevitable that major, mainstream corporations will enter the space as the regulations reduce their perception of risk. However, instead of starting from scratch, I believe they will seek to identify acquisition targets. As such, we have the opportunity to build the ethical and sustainable standard operating procedures and practices that may be absorbed into their businesses.
Thank you very much for your time Sohum! We are honored to have interviewed you! To know more about Sohum and MassRoots, go to their website or download their app here – MassRoots.