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AUTHOR: Heather Allman
PUBLISHER: CANNABIS LAW REPORT
Spotlight on Derwin Wallace, Investor Relations Authority and New Director of Crowdfunding Campaigns
Experiencing High Demand for the Platform, FanVestor Brings on Investor Relations Authority Derwin Wallace as Director of Crowdfunding Campaigns
Los Angeles, January 8, 2021 – 2020 saw demand for crowdfunding spike, and it has not slowed down as we enter 2021. The demand for FanVestor’s all-in-one crowdfunding platform supporting securities raises, product launches and charitable sweepstakes is reaching an all-time high from celebrities and their management teams. To support this demand, seasoned investor relations professional Derwin Wallace has been named Director of Crowdfunding Campaigns and Account Management, the announcement was made today by company CEO Michael Golomb.
Wallace is charged with leading the success of the crowdfunding campaigns for the celebrity projects on the FanVestor platform.
“Derwin brings to FanVestor a vast range of investor relations expertise,” comments Golomb. “His experience in raising capital, successfully working with investors at all levels, as well as fostering invaluable relationships with the financial media and analyst community, make him the perfect candidate to join FanVestor’s rapidly expanding team.”
Wallace is the founder of Cannabis Investor Magazine and HempCBD Investor Magazine, the most respected publication in the cannabis/CBD investment community. Previously, he headed up CannaIR, LLC, where he assisted cannabis, hemp, and CBD companies in raising capital via Reg. CF, Reg. A+, Reg. D, and IPO.
Wallace boasts over 16 years of investor relations experience at top U.S. companies, including Home Depot, Cox Communications, First Data, and ResCare. His extensive experience targeting and communicating with institutional investors, accredited investors, family offices, non-accredited investors, research analysts, and the financial media will be critical to helping FanVestor’s clients reaching and exceeding their fundraising goals.
He holds an MBA with a Concentration in Finance, and a Certificate in Financial Analysis from Keller Graduate School of Management and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from DeVry University. Previously, he held Series 7 and 63 licenses as a stockbroker/capital markets analyst at Chatfield Dean Investment Bankers.
FanVestor offers an all-in-one crowdfunding investment, commerce, and charity sweepstakes platform designed specifically to meet the needs of celebrities.
Founded by Michael Golomb, an innovator in the world of business and fintech, FanVestor’s robust technology platform will allow current and former athletes, media and music celebrities, fashion icons, and artists to leverage their influence by offering their fans an opportunity to participate in their latest projects or charitable initiatives. The company’s leadership team and Board of Directors is highlighted by COO Larry Namer, founder of E! Entertainment, and also includes former News Corp. executive Marty Pompadur, former CEO of Warner Brothers Music, Phil Quartararo, and former President of Korea Telecom, Yung Kim, and several other successful executives.
On February 17, 2021, I had the unique pleasure of talking with Derwin Wallace for this spotlight interview.
PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL INTRODUCTION
CANNABIS LAW REPORT: Let’s start with an easy question. Do you have a life motto or favorite quote or words that motivate you?
My own words, “The earth is 4.5B years old, that is how long it took for me to be born – talk about being patient. So, I appreciate the prosperous times, but I also embrace the challenges, trials, and tribulations. I only have a small window of time to be on earth and achieve God’s goals for me – no time to waste!”
CLR: First, let us talk about your journey in the cannabis industry at large, culminating in your current role at FanVestor.
—How exactly did you make the transition to the cannabis space and what was your personal intention as you initially leapt into the cannabis space?
I was looking for employment as an Investor Relations Professional in other industries. I was contacted by a financial communications company who wanted me to assist them in hosting the first Cannabis investor conference in 2013. I did not know anything about Cannabis at that point, I just needed a job and signed a six-month contract. After the contract ended, I fell in love with the industry and the people and launched CannaInvestor Magazine, HempCBD Investor Magazine, and CannaIR, LLC to assist industry companies in raising capital.
—Now, as you move out of the cannabis sector into the crowdfunding sector: Why crowdfunding?
How can you make a difference and really stand out in the crowdfunding space?
CLR: When and how did you personally first discover the potential of cannabis? The potential of crowdfunding?
-I have assisted many Cannabis, Hemp, and CBD companies in their crowdfundfing campaigns; therefore, it was just a natural fit to come to FanVestor and assist celebrities with their crowdfunding campaigns. I have over 16 years of Investor Relations experience at “Fortune 500 Companies,” which has given me knowledge on how to target institutional investors, accredited and non-accredited investors.
Being in the Cannabis industry for seven years, I have heard countless stories of how people were healed with Cannabis. Many of the industry companies cannot raise capital via traditional means because Cannabis is still federally illegal, so crowdfunding allowed industry companies to raise capital without trying to get the attention of angel funds and venture capitalist.
CLR: Why do you love what you do?
-I love assisting entrepreneurs in achieving their dreams. Without entrepreneurs, America would not be America. Entrepreneurship is the heart of America. Politicians, corporations, and religion sometimes tear America down, but you can always count on entrepreneurship to build America back up.
CLR: Mainly, there can be people-centric or profit-centric companies. How do you reconcile the two to maintain a balance?
-Love. If you operate your business with love in mind, you cannot lose. Profit does not always come monetarily, sometimes it comes in the form of people. Love might not be reflected in your revenues and profits, however, when you reach the gates of Heaven you will see it on God’s Income Statement.
CLR: What is it about this executive position that most attracted you to it?
I couldn’t care less about titles; I would have taken a position as a secretary if I had a chance to be part of something special. I came to FanVestor because I believe in the model and the vision. Fans can invest in their favorite celebrity’s personal project or business endeavor. Because of a celebrity’s notoriety and resources, it may be less risky for non-accredited investors to invest in celebrity projects than a traditional start-up.
Nothing is guaranteed, however non-accredited Investors have a better shot.
CLR: Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your new role?
-Meeting celebrities. I am not arrogant enough not to be a fan. I have a meeting scheduled with Mike Tyson’s team this week. Hopefully, I get to meet Mike.
CLR: What do you enjoy most about your job? The upsides?
-The excitement of raising capital and meeting celebrities and to be honest compensation can be out of this world if I meet certain capital raise goals. In addition, to be able to work remotely is priceless!
CLR: What are the downsides of being an executive?
-The hours you must work are ridiculous. If I am not sleeping or eating, I am working. I do not go to bed until 3:30 AM and I work on weekends. If I take a vacation, I am not on vacation, I still work remotely.
CLR: Give me some examples of your typical daily responsibilities, or how are you actively achieving goals?
-Meetings all day and then email management at the end of the day. In the evening, late night, and early in the morning is when I get actual tasks done (e.g., investor targeting, crowdfunding administration, and digital marketing)
CLR: How do your past professional experiences and successes help you today in the crowdfunding space?
-I have over 16 years of Investor Relations experience at “Fortune 500 Companies,” which has given me knowledge on how to target institutional investors, accredited and non-accredited investors.
CLR: Briefly tell me about your “ultimate end game” in the crowdfunding sector?
-My “ultimate end game” in the crowdfunding sector is to launch a crowdfunding platform for minorities and other under-served communities.
MISSION AND CORE VALUES
CLR: Mission statement or MAIN GOAL(S) of FanVestor?
-FanVestor’s mission is to democratize investing so everyone, regardless of their bank balance, can become an “owner/investor” in individual celebrities and teams about which they feel passionate.
CLR: What are your personal top core values?
-Hard work, honesty, loyalty, and kindness.
CLR: The 1992 Earth Summit that led to Bill Clinton’s President’s Council on Sustainable
Development, or PCSD, had a specific mission “to forge consensus on cannabis policy by bringing together that first interest to identify and develop innovative economic, environmental and social policies and strategies.”
Tell me about your team and the importance of these choices and this diversity?
-FanVestor’s stellar leadership team is composed of seasoned entrepreneurs, technologists and advisors with proven success and key industry relationships. FanVestor’s Founder & CEO Michael Golomb is a long-time business leader, having helped raise more than $2B through multiple IPOs and other fundraising activities, and Larry Namer, COO, Co-Founder of E! Entertainment TV.
Advisors to FanVestor include Marty Pompadur – the former head of ABC TV Network and Head of NewsCorp Europe; Phil M. Quartararo – Former CEO of Warner Brothers Music, EMI Records and Virgin Records; Yung Kim – Former President/CEO of DASAN Zhone Solutions (Nasdaq: DZSI) and former President and an executive board member of Korea Telecom (KT); Yobie Benjamin – Former Global CTO of Citigroup and Chief Strategy Officer of Ernst & Young; Alan Qiu – Director of Investment for Panorama Capital and former Vice President, Business Development and International Business for PINTEC (NASDAQ:PT); Anya Goldin – Former 17-year Latham & Watkins equity partner and Board Member at public & private companies; Bryan Goldberg – Co-Founder of Bleacher Report; Founder & CEO Bustle, Gawker, Elite Daily, Mic, The Outline, & The Zoe Report; Marvin Liao – Former Yahoo! Executive and Partner at Venture Capital Fund 500 Startups, running the San Francisco-based accelerator program, as well as investing in seed-stage start-ups. He has invested in over 414 pre-seed and seed-stage startups.
Our team is diverse and experienced, characteristics that will be crucial to assisting a new Cannabis industry that itself is diverse, in conducting capital raises via crowdfunding.
CLR: Who taught you about or how did you learn about business? Do you have a mentor?
– I do not have a mentor and nobody taught me about business. I am from the ghetto of Chicago; it has always been trial and error. However, I am thankful to some people and companies that have given me an opportunity although my background an education was not traditional for the Wall Street community.
CLR: How is your actual job different than the job/role you thought it would be?
– It is exactly as I thought it would be.
CLR: Let us go beyond Corporate Social Responsibility. Talk to me about “positive impact” and what that means for you and FanVestor?
-FanVestor would like to have a positive impact on non-accredited investing, to democratize investing so everyone, regardless of their bank balance, can become an “owner/investor” in individual celebrities and teams about which they feel passionate.
YEAR TO DATE
CLR: Tell me about your year to date: Expand on your 2020, and your place in the cannabis landscape?
—2020 has been challenging for the Cannabis industry and 2021 will prove to be more of a challenge. Besides the negative impacts of Corona Virus, investors are being very strategic on what they invest in. The hype is over with and now Cannabis companies need to show performance. My place now in the Cannabis industry is to assist celebrities in raising capital for their Cannabis projects and business ventures.
CLR: Tell me your opinion on the importance of these areas to your position;
Crowdfunding is still an experiment and for politicians to pass legislation that expand and scale crowdfunding, leadership must act responsible and follow all laws, regulation and compliance and company owners and issuers must be transparent, consistent, and responsible with investor’s capital. The impact of crowdfunding is significant, many of the industry companies cannot raise capital via traditional means because Cannabis is still federally illegal, so crowdfunding allows industry companies to raise capital without trying to get the attention of angel funds and venture capitalist.
The only difference between our crowdfunding platform, is that we do not raise capital for traditional start-ups, we raise capital for celebrity personal projects and business endeavors.
In addition, we target fans to invest in celebrity projects.
CLR: How did you earn your reputation of trustworthiness?
-I earned it over time. Job after job. Company after company. Client after client. Crowdfunding campaign after crowdfunding campaign. My resume now has historicals, comps – a track record.
CLR: What is the biggest challenge you face in your new role as Director of Crowdfunding Campaigns? How do you solve it or work to change it?
-Raising capital is always a challenge. We solve it by partnering with the younger generation and learn how digital marketing and social media can be used for Investor Relations and raising capital.
CLR: In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced in crowdfunding that aren’t typically faced by cannabis? Any similar challenges?
-I think the biggest challenge for crowdfunding is how to protect non-accredited investors. If too many people start to lose capital, it may negatively impact crowdfunding legislation. Similar challenges for crowdfunding and Cannabis include legislation, regulation, and compliance hurdles.
CLR: In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges that U.S. cannabis currently faces?
– Big tobacco, alcohol, pharmaceutical, lobbyists, politicians, and DEA. Too much money being made with competing products and too much money being made in illegal trade. Are the above entities willing to share?
CLR: Something people don’t realize about running crowdfunding campaigns? Anything especially difficult?
-Compliance, compliance, and more compliance!
“Human subtlety will never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple or more direct than nature, because in her interventions, nothing is lacking and nothing is superfluous.”
~ Leonardo da Vinci
CLR: Moving forward, what innovative or visionary ideas are you seeing come to fruition in the national online landscape?
-We are seeing how crowdfunding is now being used and expanding to art, jewelry, antiques, and other investments.
CLR: Which areas of the crowdfunding industry are currently being prioritized more than others? In what facets are you investing most of your current time?
-More priority is being focused on traditional start-ups, but at FanVestor our focus is celebrity personal projects and business endeavors. We target celebrity fans as non-accredited investors, FanVestor is the only crowdfunding platform that does that.
CLR: Tell me about your vision for the future of crowdfunding in 2 years? Cannabis?
-In two years, I see the younger generation investing in private companies via crowdfunding and having an IPO exit strategy, where the older generation will still primarily be buying at the IPO or afterwards. Cannabis in two years will be legal in all 50 states and federally legal, however, regulatory, compliance, and tax hurdles and challenges will be complex and will last for years or even decades.
CLR: How do we get from here?
-States will get us there. States have gotten addicted to Cannabis tax revenue and have made that revenue part of their budgets. States are not going to give up their Cannabis tax revenue. Now we have politicians at the state level fighting for the legalization of Cannabis.
CLR: What do you see in the crowdfunding and/or cannabis landscape that needs to be improved, perfected, or achieved in the future?
-I think more education regarding crowdfunding needs to be implemented for the public. Crowdfunding is a wonderful opportunity for non-accredited investors and most people do not know what crowdfunding is and the benefits.
The Cannabis industry needs more experienced management teams. With many Cannabis companies going public, accounting, finance, auditing, disclosure, compliance, and human resources are more relevant. You need a management team that has experience in these areas.
TRENDS AND BEHAVIOR
CLR: This is an industry that has grown primarily off consumer demand and behavior. What corporate behaviors or shifts have you seen happening since COVID-19? Private or individual behaviors?
-Traditional companies are making Cannabis acquisitions, this was happening before COVID-19. Just about every product company or retail company will be involved in the Cannabis space in 10 years. COVID-19 has caused more people to rethink the way they view Cannabis and its health benefits.
CLR: How have users of the crowdfunding platform changed since you started in the business space, cannabis or otherwise? CLR: What type(s) and/or demographics of users are you seeing now?
-The younger generation are now investing in private companies via crowdfunding and exiting at the IPO.
CLR: What consumer product or service demand do you see trending currently?
-Cannabis edibles and beverages. Cannabis edibles and beverage consumption will surpass recreational smoking and medical marijuana.
CLR: Overall, as a nation, we are in flux, transitioning, and one thing most Americans agree on is cannabis legalization in some form or another. After this election, and concerning cannabis since you’re coming from the Cannabis/CBD sector, what do you see running smoothly in place by 2022?
-Cannabis will never run smoothly for another 50 – 100 years. If you want to enjoy the profits of Cannabis you have to be willing to ride the legislative and regulation roller coaster. In 1976, the Dutch government amended the Opium Act, by classifying marijuana as a List Two drug and still to this day they have significant legislation and regulation challenges.
—Where will the path get a little rocky?
-Taxation, regulation, and compliance.
CLR: In your opinion, do you feel that people are adapting and slowly changing their mindset from one of traditional fundraising to a mindset of crowdfunding? Are Cannabis companies using crowdfunding more and for what purposes?
-Some people are changing their mindset regarding crowdfunding, however not many people know about crowdfunding, the industry needs to do a better job of educating the public. Many of the industry companies cannot raise capital via traditional means because Cannabis is still federally illegal, so crowdfunding allows industry companies to raise capital without trying to get the attention of angel funds and venture capitalist.
CLR: Do you feel that companies and brands are adapting, changing their mindset, as far as what is important, what and where their priorities are/should be moving forward since COVID-19?
– Since COVID-19, I think companies are running more efficiently and managing cash burn better. The question is, once COVID-19 is over, will companies go back to reckless spending?
WORDS OF WISDOM
CLR: What one thing you do in your line of work that you feel makes the most impact? Why does this make the most impact?
-Democratize investing so everyone, regardless of their bank balance, can become an “owner/investor” in individual celebrities and teams about which they feel passionate.
CLR: Give me one concrete example of a future goal to show leadership in this growing online Industry? –My future goal to show leadership is to have just as many non-accredited investors invest in private companies via crowdfunding than in the public markets.
CLR: What business-related advice that you know NOW would you want to offer yourself when you just started out?
-Study your craft. If you want to be good at something, you must study it and practice it. A lot of time is wasted watching television and playing video games. Work hard in your early years and retire when your 40 years old.
—Or, what one piece advice have you learned along the way that you wish someone told you when you first started out? It is about building relationships. Education and hard work are important assets, however, if you do not build relationships, education and hard work will only get you to the manager or director level.
CLR: If you could plan your dream dinner party and invite five guests, who would they be and why these five guests?
-Martin Luther King, Mandela, Gandhi, Oskar Schindler, Malcolm X, and Abraham Lincoln. I know that is six, however I could not narrow it down to five, all of them are important. I choose these six, because they were more concerned about humanity than themselves. Today, that is a rare quality.
—What would your topics of conversation or discussion be? What is their opinion of the current state of the world? How can we make it better?
CLR: If people only focus on one thing about the world or the public conversation right now, what should that focus be, in your opinion?
-It is simple – love and kindness! Love and kindness are the solution to all our problems. It is not rocket science!
CLR: Aside from the state of the union right now, which is affecting all of us, what runs through your mind once your off work for the day and you are trying to relax?
-I do not watch television; I do not watch the news. People spend more time talking, than doing. I do not particular like getting involved in politics or religion, I cannot control the outcome and too many variables. I do not have downtime on a daily or weekly basis. I am a soldier in the trenches every day and there is no downtime for a soldier unless he is on leave or vacation. I try to schedule a mini vacation once a quarter and an extensive vacation once a year. Majority of the time I am on vacation in the Caribbean and all I think about is nothing – the world does not exist!
FanVestor would like to take a moment to ensure all potential investors are aware of the following. The opinions expressed in this article are not to be taken as a prediction or guarantee of what will happen regarding the cannabis industry, related investments, or related future federal or state laws or regulations. The opinions expressed are also not to be taken as medical advice regarding the use of Cannabis or related products. All investments involve risk including illiquidity and the potential to lose some or all of the money invested. Investors must be able to bear such risks. There can be no guarantee of a successful exist strategy from any investment.This material does not constitute an offer to sell nor a solicitation of an offer to buy any security. Investors are responsible for preforming their own due diligence and ensuring investments meet their level of risk tolerance, objectives, and level of investment knowledge.
FanVestor LLC funding portal, Member FINRA, 2055 Lombard St. #470217 San Francisco, CA 94147. Online: www.fanvestor.com