Mehran Moghaddam of Kurvana: “The lack of professionalism early on in the industry was surprising to me”

The lack of professionalism early on in the industry was surprising to me. So many other operators did not seem to care about regulations, ethics, properly paying taxes, and basically just operating illegally despite their claim to want to operate a legal and professional business. As part of my series about “5 Things I Wish […]

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The lack of professionalism early on in the industry was surprising to me. So many other operators did not seem to care about regulations, ethics, properly paying taxes, and basically just operating illegally despite their claim to want to operate a legal and professional business.

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 Mehran Moghaddam.

Founder & CEO of Kurvana, Mehran Moghaddam, has more than twenty years of combined experience in biotech, life sciences and nutraceuticals, focusing on health and wellness. Mehran holds a B.S. in Biochemistry and Exercise Science as well as an MBA from the University of California, Davis.

In 2014, he founded Kurvana, the nation’s leading premium vape pen and cannabis lifestyle brand. Mehran founded Kurvana to address the urgent need for professional biotech operators to bring higher quality and safety standards to the research, development, and manufacturing of medical cannabis.

Under Mehran’s leadership, Kurvana has established its reputation as a pioneer in the vape space. Mehran is the rare executive in the marijuana space who has a background in business as well as biochemistry, making him an expert on the science behind the cannabis plant and a thought leader in the industry.

Furthermore, Mehran is an advocate in the broader cannabis community. He is an active member on the Advisory Board for the University of California, Irvine’s Center for the Study of Cannabis, which is one of the first multi-disciplinary centers for Cannabis studies. He also maintains active memberships with the National Cannabis Industry Association, the California Cannabis Industry Association, the American Chemical Society, and the American Society for Testing and Materials.

Mehran is a distance runner and soccer enthusiast with a longstanding passion for health and wellness.


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?

During my undergraduate years, I studied biochemistry, launched a nutraceutical company and worked as a physical trainer. I’ve always been very passionate about health and wellness, and human physiology as a whole. The many therapeutic benefits of cannabis is what immediately drew me into the industry. I decided to start Kurvana back in 2014 after spending thousands of hours in a lab with a mission of creating the perfect cannabis oil.

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?

My company grew very fast, and I tried to hire high-level executives from industries outside of cannabis. I quickly learned that the cannabis industry is very special. One lesson learned was that I needed people who not only have a great resume and experience, but also a passion for cannabis. You may be great in other industries, but not necessarily a great fit for cannabis. We need people who will go into a dispensary (retail store) and actually enjoy our products.

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

Initially, I did not tell my dad that I was starting a cannabis company. He is a professor that valued education and academics. My family saw “drugs’ as a bad thing, and I never even saw my parents have a drink of alcohol growing up. So, when he came to visit, I invited him to a conference we hosted at The University of California with a range of high-level speakers, PhD scientists, and Congressmen. I introduced him to my new line of business by showing him the academic and scientific side of cannabis. Fortunately, he has been very supportive of my business after this interesting introduction.

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

I love to spend as much time in the lab and with product development as I can. I believe strong scientific leadership is critical to innovation in an emerging industry such as cannabis. Right now, we are working on expanding our new pinnacle vape line, Carbon21, which features the best of the best concentrates in a vape pen. We are working with live resin, diamonds, badder, sauce, HTFSE, rosin, and newer unnamed extracts all in cartridge form.

At Kurvana, we are all product visionaries. We always say that we are our own biggest competition. In that spirit, we never stop creating and are continuously improving. As soon as we release a new product, we get to work on the development of the next big release. We want to continue to innovate best-in-class products that push the entire cannabis industry forward, as well as explore other expansion efforts such as new markets and new categories.

The cannabis landscape is ever changing. Cannabis consumers have more choices than ever before with a growing market. But as always, we will stay true to our mission of uncompromising quality while exploring innovative ways to bring that quality to new markets and verticals.

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?

Kurvana was built from the ground up with a team of dedicated experts and young cannabis enthusiasts. We all came from humble beginnings and were united by an entrepreneurial spirit, passion, and commitment to bringing the highest quality products to the industry. Today, I continue to lead our research and development with a remarkable team and a culture that builds on our roots of innovation and striving for perfection. I believe Kurvana will continue to lead the way for premium cannabis products worldwide.

In addition, I have always found great inspiration from my father. He has always set an example of being the very best that you can be and dedicating yourself to hard work and passion. It helped me develop a lens which highlights how to do things right. I have definitely taken that work ethic into my business and many other aspects of my life. I recall even in the third grade, he spent the entire summer teaching me 4th through 7th grade math! I think I cried a few times, but he showed me what I am actually capable of.

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?

Ultimately, it always comes down to the consumer experience. We are hyper-focused on delivering what the consumer wants, how they want it now, and how we believe they will want things in the future.

At Kurvana, we strategically partner with essential marketing platforms that cater to our consumers’ needs to ensure an effortless, yet trusted purchasing experience. We also try to look at other industries to see how marketing is developing to bring that into the cannabis industry.

Marketing cannabis has certain restrictions so we always try to be as innovative as possible, be authentic, and stand out. Money is not always the answer, but being creative is.

I myself often get on the floor of retailers to get feedback from budtenders and consumers and understand the user perspective better.

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

These are the 3 things that most excite me:

  1. The cannabis industry is still an emerging market, so there is a lot of room for growth and change.
  2. There is so much opportunity to innovate in this industry.
  3. Global legalization of cannabis will bring so many new opportunities for merging cannabis with other markets.

3 things that most concern me:

  1. The speed to full global legalization is a concern since the individual cannabis markets are still very young and growing. In some ways, it would be great to slow down legalization to create a level playing field in all markets, although we would still appreciate more certainty as it pertains to legalization in new states and countries.
  2. Unfortunately, there is still a stigma attached to the industry that will take time to truly get rid of.
  3. The lack of regulation and changing regulation is concerning since it makes it hard to operate consistently when the rules or law are still changing.

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.

I entered the cannabis industry early on, so it was very different than it is now but there are things that I wish I had known, such as:

  1. The lack of professionalism early on in the industry was surprising to me. So many other operators did not seem to care about regulations, ethics, properly paying taxes, and basically just operating illegally despite their claim to want to operate a legal and professional business.
  2. The need to hire the right people and people with cannabis experience. You need people who are passionate about the industry and not just passionate about business.
  3. Understanding the importance of quality and testing since so many companies did not test early on. We tested our products before we even had to by regulation which gave us a strong competitive advantage.
  4. Cash flow is king and even more critical for a fast growing company. The need to have a lot of capital to start a business, so you do not have to worry about running out of cash before you are actually making money.
  5. In some ways, legalization has made it harder to operate with a lot of red tape, taxes, etc. Competing legally with an existing illegal market makes it very difficult.

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

The biggest contributing factor, or rather, motivator for Kurvana’s growth has been our commitment to innovation and pushing the boundaries in a fast-paced and challenging industry. Leadership is key. Anyone at Kurvana in a leadership role plays an important role in leading and coaching team members on a daily basis. Invest the valuable time into your team no matter how hectic or busy it may get..

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. 🙂

One of my biggest passions in life is health. As a scientist I am focused on creating products that can help people live a healthy lifestyle. I would love to inspire a health movement.

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

Readers can follow Kurvana on Instagram @kurvana_official and on my personal account @mehraninc

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

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