The serial entrepreneur of Victoria BC

That would be Richard Zwicky, whose latest business venture was reported on yesterday on the Green Entrepreneur site (supplying cannabis business news). The story came to me as it was picked up by the My San Antonio site, the on-line edition of the San Antonio (TX) Express-News:

(#1) Plena Global founder and CEO Richard Zwicky

“This Entrepreneur Wants to Cure the Sick with High-Quality Cannabis: Richard Zwicky, founder of Plena Global, seeks to standardize production of medicinal cannabis and is investing in Colombia and Peru to achieve it” by Martha Elena Violante on 4/8/19

Et in Canada sumus. (It’s not all Jan Zwicky.)

From the story:

(#2) The Plena logo

A Canadian company called Plena Global is aiming to become the main producer of ingredients and quality raw materials for cannabis-based products. The company is investing in various Latin American countries to produce marijuana plants that are cared for at all stages of their process to obtain high-end cannabis for medical purposes.

“The global market has a terrible shortage of high-quality medicinal cannabis that complies with good manufacturing practices (GMP) and that meets the highest pharmaceutical standards,” says Richard Zwicky, CEO and founder of Plena Global in a conversation for Entrepreneur en Español.

Plena Global is a B2B firm that grows medicinal cannabis in South American countries where its use is already regulated for export to markets where the product has high demand such as Canada, Germany, and Italy.

(#3) ECONNABIS, a private company founded in Colombia. ECONNABIS specializes in producing Medical Grade Cannabis (MGC) and cannabinoid extracts … The Company produces strains of medical cannabis at a large scale, covering a wide range of cannabinoids including THC, CBD, CBG, and more. (Wikiedia link)

Zwicky’s mission for Plena Global is clear: to generate a stable and standardized production of medicinal cannabis to supply the raw materials to large pharmaceutical companies, small dispensaries, and any organization licensed by its government to handle cannabis. In other words, if you buy a bottle of aspirin in Mexico City and then travel to Germany and buy another one, you have to have the confidence that the product will not only be manufactured with the same quality, but that it also will have the same effect. That’s what this Canadian firm wants to do with medicinal cannabis.

On RZ, from the site of the UVic (Univ.of Victoria) Peter B. Gustavson School of Business (where RZ is Entrepreneur in Residence):

Over the past 25 years, Richard Zwicky has founded and built several Victoria BC based companies. Over the years he built more than one organization into a global leader with operations in Canada, the US, South America, and across Europe.

… Currently Richard is an Executive Advisor with responsibility for Global Marketing Strategies with the Alacrity Foundation, a global business incubator and accelerator program; Chair at Metamend; and also an Executive Advisor with the French Accelerator. In his various roles, he continues to participate in mentoring and helping entrepreneurs develop their ideas, and themselves.

Richard began his career by building a highly profitable chain of retail stores until 1998. Upon exiting, he developed Luggageworld, one of the earliest drop-ship retail operations.

Success with Luggageworld led to the development of online marketing technologies. Demand from other business operators for the technology and supporting services resulted in the founding of Metamend, an online marketing agency, in late 1999. … Metamend continues to thrive today, servicing clients globally.

In 2004 he began work on a series of new technologies that resulted in the creation of new data collection and analysis systems which represented one of the first “Big Data and Cloud Technology Systems.” These led to the creation of Enquisite, the world’s first search analytics company. Between 2006 and late 2010 he raised over $20MM in Venture Capital for Enquisite [now known as Eightfold Logic], and hired a world-class leadership team. Operations were based in San Francisco, with a continued presence in Victoria, as well as NYC, and the UK.

… In 2010 he took an opportunity to exit Enquisite so to spend time with his growing children, and he began providing services to various clients…

Almost surely written by RZ himself; I’ve edited out a fair amount of p.r. prose.

Information about RZ the man is very hard to come by.

[Added 8/7/22, after exchange of e-mail with RZ: the original text below, from 2019, is fairly seriously in error; RZ himself might supply a better account of his life history, which is much more interesting than the text below suggests, but in any case, I’ll supply some material for a new AZBlog posting.

[old text:] Lots of googling around eventually revealed that he’s a graduate of St. Michael’s University School  in Victoria BC (date unknown), holds a bachelor’s degree from McGill Univ. in Montreal (field and date unknown), plays golf, is prepared to give addresses at business conferences in several languages, and (given the growing children mentioned above) was presumably married in 2010. I could not find a birth year, much less an actual birth date, nor do I know how his Zwicky forebears ended up in Victoria.] ]



Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: