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Alexej Pikovsky of Alphagreen: “Hiring super strong and passionate people”

Hiring super strong and passionate people. The business idea alone is not worth nearly as much as the execution. Having smart and driven team members allows you to delegate a lot of work and sleep much better. As part of my series about “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis […]

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Hiring super strong and passionate people. The business idea alone is not worth nearly as much as the execution. Having smart and driven team members allows you to delegate a lot of work and sleep much better.


As part of my series about “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis Business” I had the pleasure of interviewing Alexej Pikovsky.

Alexej is the Co-Founder and CEO of Alphagreen.io, Europe’s leading platform for CBD and alternative healthcare products. Alexej gained his Masters from Imperial College London following a Bachelor of Science degree from Loughborough University. He is also a Fellow of the German Academic Foundation. Alexej began his career in investment banking at Nomura. He moved on to become a founding member of Delin Ventures, a venture capital arm investing in leading technology companies and VC funds. He acquired board-level experience as an investor for a large-cap private equity fund before founding Alphagreen. Utilizing his interest and involvement in tech-enabled services, Alexej aimed to connect health-conscious consumers with the best quality CBD products on the market. Alphagreen enables brands to scale by providing access to a global audience.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share with us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?

While working in private equity, I started investing in Cannabis companies in Canada and the USA and saw how strong the market was growing over there. I spent several months in the summer of 2019 educating myself on the Cannabis space in Europe and North America — this included meeting more than 50 companies face to face. The result was the idea to launch a platform to provide customers with access to top quality CBD, medical cannabis and alternative healthcare products. Initially in the UK/ Europe and later to expand globally.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

The Cannabis industry is highly regulated. The MHRA (Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency) and the FSA (Food Standards Agency) regulate the space in the UK. In Europe you have your country specific regulators with different regulatory requirements and in North America, you also have lots of red tape including the legalization of Cannabis products at the state level while Cannabis remains illegal at the federal level.

The most important lesson to learn is that the laws governing the Cannabis industry are inconsistent and constantly changing. To be a successful part of this industry you need to remain constantly aware of the changing laws — to both stay compliant as well as to forecast where the next big opportunities will be.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

There are so many similar sounding brand names and companies in this space that at one point, I was invited to a meeting where I ended up meeting two different CEOs from companies with identical names AND both CEOs had the identical first name. Neither of them expected to meet the other so it was very awkward; but, also very funny. The lesson learned is to spend the extra few minutes to check the diary before running into the meeting.

Are you working on any exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?

From our data we have been able to segment our customers into the three biggest consumer groups: pain, sleep and anxiety. While CBD can be highly effective for these conditions, there are several other product types that can provide value to these customers. We are now actively onboarding compatible product categories to allow customers coming to www.alphagreen.io to get an even broader selection of products to satisfy their needs.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I am very grateful to my early investors who backed me without even having a website, just on the back of the idea and a powerpoint presentation. I have several angel investors who have built big businesses themselves and who share their insights in what to do and what not to do. That extra guidance is very helpful and I feel very fortunate to have that type of sounding board.

This industry is young, dynamic and creative. Do you use any clever and innovative marketing strategies that you think large legacy companies should consider adopting?

Email and influencer marketing is becoming very important in this industry and generally in the consumer space. We have seen some clever marketing strategies also applied with Clubhouse, Telegram, and Lunchclub. It’s about running different experiments to see what can result in 1,000% growth rather than 10% increases.

Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Cannabis industry? Can you share 3 things that most concern you?

The Cannabis industry is here to stay and I am most excited about the impact it will have on people suffering from conditions under-served by current treatment and product options, the employment the industry will create and the amount of entrepreneurs being born from taking the risk going into this industry.

The three things concerning me the most is the high amount of unprofessional players and the amount of capital raised for projects without any fundamentals and without any background checks. Finally, the lobbying of certain industries and organisations is also quite concerning, these industries are trying to protect their interest, which may be disrupted with the rise of Cannabis.

Can you share your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Cannabis Business”? Please share a story or example for each.

Hiring super strong and passionate people. The business idea alone is not worth nearly as much as the execution. Having smart and driven team members allows you to delegate a lot of work and sleep much better.

Fundraising, better to raise more and fast than too little because you wanted to wait until you have a higher valuation. It’s a hyper competitive world and capital helps you to grow faster.

Be able to take a break. Running a business can feel like a 24–7 exercise; but, a lasting business is a marathon and not a sprint. You need to be able to relax and balance your daily work with sports, reading, family or whatever relaxes you the most. Find the activity you can use to relax.

Network network network, it’s not only about your network when you raise money or when you hire; but, also about keeping yourself in the flow of information and surrounding yourself with the people who will help you stay on top of events and see opportunities others don’t see.

Always keep learning. Growing a business means you as CEO have to constantly upskill yourself. That means watching videos and reading books on growth marketing, business models, hiring, culture and management. You have to surround yourself with experts but you also need to be able to build up your own knowledge and be able to challenge people. Constant learning has to be part of your culture!

What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?

Be fair and reward good employees. Give them space and do not micromanage. Allow everybody to be part of their goal setting, ask employees where they want to be in 5 years and think how you can help them to get there while maximising the value for the organisation and for themselves.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Ask people to be more transparent about their health data to allow more innovation and more data to be used to develop even better solutions.

What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?

https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexej-pikovsky-9743701/

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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