This probably wasn’t the post-Microsoft career Jamen Shively envisioned.
But now that marijuana will soon become legal in Washington state, the former Microsoft product manager has big dreams of entering the retail marjiuana business. The blog Toke of the Town even wonders if he’ll become “the Bill Gates of bud.”
KIRO has a video interview here with Shively, who says he got the idea “after a few bong hits.” Shively was a corporate strategy manager at Microsoft from 2003-09 and was also the CEO of Findood, a Seattle-based startup that hosted an online marketplace to connect buyers and sellers of specialty foods.
Shively told KIRO he has “marijuana in his blood, so to speak.” His great-grandfather, Diego Pellicer, was apparently the world’s largest marijuana producer selling hemp rope in the late 1800’s. Shively wants to name the business after grand-pops.
He plans on selling premium, high-end marijuana. Think of it has a liquor store selling fine cognac and brandy, not Natty Ice and Bud Light.
Beginning this Thursday, it will be legal for adults 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of marijuana in Washington state (a similar law was passed in Colorado). This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of entrepreneurs capitalizing on this now-legalized industry. We recently wrote about Seattle-based Leafly, a startup that’s like Yelp and Consumer Reports for medical marijuana.
It’ll be interesting to see if and how other entrepreneurs enter this soon-to-be budding industry.
Previously on GeekWire: What legalization means for a medical marijuana startup