Exclusive Interview with Cannabis Strategies Acquisition Corp. CEO Jonathan Sandelman and COO Jennifer Drake
Jonathan Sandelman, CEO of special purpose acquisition company Cannabis Strategies Acquisition Corp. (NEO: CSA.A, CSA.WT, CSA.RT) (OTC: CBAQF), thinks it takes decades to build a strong CPG brand, and his company is taking a disciplined approach to do just that in the cannabis space. Sandelman and CSAC COO Jennifer Drake spoke with New Cannabis Ventures about the company’s five recent pending acquisitions, its approach to geographic “clusters” and their focus on finding the right talent.
Both Drake and Sandelman have finance backgrounds. Drake spent the early part of her career at organizations like Goldman Sachs, but found herself drawn to the cannabis industry because of the unique, entrepreneurial opportunity it represents. Sandelman has spent the past three decades operating as an investor, running his family office over the past five years. He has been highly focused on the CPG space and sees cannabis as the next big CPG opportunity.
CSAC, which went public in early 2018, wants to capitalize on that opportunity and build a national cannabis brand with the right people. For example, Sandelman pointed to the recent addition to the team: Chris Burggraeve as Chief Commercial Officer. Burggraeve is an experienced executive with leadership of brands like Budweiser and Coca-Cola under his belt.
As a special purpose acquisition company, CSAC is a publicly traded private equity structure. Typically, these types of companies seek to make an acquisition and shareholders vote whether or not complete the purchase, according to Sandelman. In the case of CSAC, the company made five simultaneous acquisitions of U.S.-based cannabis companies. The company is initially focused on limited-license recreational states, and it hopes to continue making acquisitions through stock and cash. Additionally, the company’s EBITDA and strong credit rating will