Namaste Technologies Inc. is often regarded to be emblematic of Canada’s new breed of pot conglomerate. The company went to a $1 billion market cap since it went public in 2014.
Namaste has always sought to become Canada’s premier of medicinal cannabis. They have established themselves as a global market leader, creating the world’s largest online marketplace for cannabis, cannabis accessories, and other related products with more than 30 websites in 20 countries. It recently made significant investments in AI technology and machine learning platforms, helping customers to make strain-specific purchases based on their individual needs.
They receive over 600,000 monthly visits to their e-commerce sites and a database of 1.5 million users. Their fully integrated e-commerce network spans across the globe offering everything from rolling papers to vaporizers. In Canada, Namaste has developed the country’s first telemedicine app, available on iPhone and Android devices which allows patients a to connect to nurse practitioners and a range of high-quality cannabis products and cannabis consumption systems.
In September 2018, the Company received its Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations Sale for Medical Purposes licence which constituted the first license of its kind to be issued by Health Canada. Namaste’s receipt of the license liberated Canadian consumers of cannabis from registration with just one Licensed Producer by allowing customers the ability to purchase medical cannabis from a far wider assortment of licensed producers via Namaste’s online store.
Listed on the TSX Venture Exchange and headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, Namaste is a global leader in the sale of all elements of medical cannabis consumption and aspires to become the world’s “one stop shop” of the industry. Namaste has nine offices with multiple distribution centres around the globe and is now prepring its Australian rollout.
What is the story behind Namaste Technologies?
Sean Dollinger has been innovating for years, challenging the business landscape with disruptive models across a range of different sectors. Whilst his tenure hasn’t always been smooth, this shrewd entrepreneur has manoeuvred his career to a profitable path in the face of adversity.
Born in 1980, Dollinger had a humble upbringing. He saw beauty and opportunity when it was not pretty every day. Baseball showcased his superpowers and gave him an identity outside the paralysis of poverty that made him feel alive. He was hooked. ‘When you’re an athlete you become important. It made me. It saved me. When I ran on the field nothing else mattered and I was able to let go,’ he says. As a child he was developed beyond his years- his literacy, numeracy, recall, critical thinking was sharp. ‘Growing up I looked at my entrepreneurial grandfather and wanted to create a similar life for myself. It’s funny. When I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said CEO of a Publicly Traded Company. And now I am leading one of the most exciting companies in the world.’
At age 18, (1998) Sean launched Easy Touch, a delivery service which would pick up and drop off anything from cigarettes to alcohol, food and fashion. It became one of the most recognised and reputable companies which made between $100 to $5,000 cash a day. ‘At times the weather was brutal and requests unreasonable, but we met the demands and became the fastest and most reliable delivery services in the city.’
Whilst his client base grew and word of mouth spread, some of the hoops he had to jump through were humiliating. ‘I will never forget the time a very rich regular threw me a big bag of pennies at the door for being 10 minutes late. It was definitely a low point in my life and, from that moment I made a promise to myself that no matter how successful I became I will always treat people with respect’. Whilst faithless he has always remained trustworthy which has been the hallmark of his success.
Life became busy when he was offered a baseball scholarship to the USA (1998 – 2002). Money was a palpable signifier of the boy’s outside status. Whilst Sean’s peers could concentrate on the game at hand he had to find a way to pay for his rental, keep good grades, excel at baseball and bring in enough income to feed himself. ‘There are moments in life that define you. I was 19 years old and the rental cheque my mother had sent to the landlord had bounced so I had to sleep in the car for two weeks before heading back to Canada.’
At the age of 21 Dollinger launched his first ecommerce company selling electronic parts online. ‘We started by selling just a few a day to quickly 100’s and it was the most exciting things I had experienced since Baseball. Once I saw FEDEX coming every day, my bank account rising I was hooked. E-Commerce is what I wanted to do for the rest of my Life. Nothing like making money while you sleep.’
His next entrepreneurial venture with the successful establishment of the technology company Online Internet Consultant in Niche Markets. The company is designed for those interested in expanding their products around the world from marketing strategies online, handling support in multiple languages to handling logistics through specialized channels. The core of the business includes concept and market creation through international e-commerce marketing channels and the formation of strategic supply and distribution partnerships to secure and develop products, open logistics channels and improve customer service.
Following this, he then launched a Fashion apparel company alongside Koodley (2006 – 2014) the first ever mobile repeater system company. Over 10,000 websites have been created under his command. Namaste Vapes (2010 – 2013) and Namaste Technologies (2014 – present) is his latest success story – it is one of the World’s biggest and most comprehensive cannabis-focused e-commerce platform with: 32 sites in 20 countries; over 600,000 monthly visits to their e-commerce sites and a database of 1.5 million users.
In 2018 the company reached a $1 Billion market cap since the company went public in 2014. Not bad for a company that serendipitously stumbled upon the venture quite by accident. Dollinger said that it all began on a trip to Israel about five years ago where a conversation was struck about rolling papers. When his biological father, a yoga instructor in Laguna Beach California, asked him to check out ‘these really cool vaporisers’ he decided to apply his e-commerce skills to this area and try to sell them online. Three to five units a day, became one hundred, then a thousand.
Global online expansion may concern purists however Sean’s knowledge of ecommerce and the cannabis industry has earned steadfast credibility that works to change perceptions about the industry. He enforces the power of ‘knowing your brand identity’ and knowing what you stand for as a company. ‘We don’t want to create a noise. We want to create a voice,’ he says.
Namaste has attracted a team so closely connected to the company they talk in code. ‘While the technology is all there, you need the people dimension,’ he says. ‘That means getting the right talent, effectively globalising teams of people who are reliable, excited about the development of the cannabis space and pushing them to be the best, every day.’ ‘Namaste is at forefront for innovation in the cannabis sector. We’re riding the wave and will continue to reinforce our position as “Your Everything Cannabis Store. It’s just the beginning.’
This brave entrepreneur and Co-Founder of Namaste Technologies has fought to change societal perceptions, found innovative solutions to problems, and built a multibillion-dollar industry, recognised as a Top 100 MOVER, SHAKER & CANNABIS BAKER of 2018.