As a 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 Ryan Dean Hoggan.
Ryan brings more than 18 years of leadership, global business development and entrepreneurship experience in the health equipment, medical devices and natural health products sectors. Early in his career, Ryan took on a leadership role in, HOGGAN Health Industries, where he led operations, business development and marketing efforts. After identifying an untapped niche in the market, he founded Hoggan Medical where he went on to launch over 100 health, fitness and medical device products and negotiated contracts with big and small customers including the Mayo Clinic, Boeing, Daimler AG and the Los Angeles Lakers (NBA). In 2014, Ryan discovered the power of CBD and essential oils — both personally and professionally — after a personal health scare prompted him to research and subsequently try holistic products to improve his health. He went on to co-found several natural health products in the CBD sector. As CEO of Mota Ventures, Ryan brings his extensive experience to further expand the company as a global eCommerce leader in the natural health products sector, including CBD and psychedelic medicine. Mr. Hoggan holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) from Westminster College, an MBA from The University of Arizona and a Master of Global Management (MGM) from the Thunderbird School of Global Management at Arizona State University.
Thank you for joining us! Can you share with us the story about what brought you to this specific career path?
I’m extremely passionate about entrepreneurship and new business development. Before becoming CEO of Mota Ventures, I spent nearly two decades in leadership roles within the health equipment, medical devices and natural health products sectors while developing and honing an expertise in both e-commerce and manufacturing. One of my first major accomplishments in the space includes founding Hoggan Medical, where I went on to launch more than 100 health, fitness and medical device products and negotiated contracts with major companies including the Mayo Clinic, Boeing and the Los Angeles Lakers (NBA).
However, my journey to the hemp-derived CBD market also has an important personal aspect. I’m a survivor of melanoma skin cancer and first discovered the power of CBD as a personal health and wellness treatment. I combined these life-changing personal experiences with my professional ambitions and went on to co-launch several natural health companies in the CBD sector that became quite successful, generating more than $29 million in revenue during 2019. 2019 marked another professional benchmark: I joined forces with Mota Ventures, a direct to consumer provider of CBD and other natural health products, and was named CEO. The new position is an honor and together my team and I will work to expand the company as a global eCommerce leader in the natural health products sector, including the CBD brands Nature’s Exclusive and Sativida, and as a pioneer in the burgeoning field of psychedelic medicines to treat addictions through our recent acquisition of the Germany-based Verrian and their 110,000 square foot pharmaceutical manufacturing facility.
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?
I was appointed CEO of Mota Ventures on February 22nd, 2020 and just a few short weeks later, the world went into lockdown due to COVID-19. This left me in a situation I had never experienced before: I had just taken over this public company and now had to lead us through an unprecedented crisis, navigating challenging times and determining if we’d even be able to ship our products. But I learned tremendously from the experience. For instance, since I couldn’t travel from to Vancouver Canada, where Mota Ventures is based, I utilized the opportunity to oversee our supply chains more closely and thoroughly, making sure we remained on track to fulfill orders. We also focused even more on product innovation, particularly by creating health-focused products that were able to help people concerned about the well-being of their families. I was able to take the lessons I’ve already learned throughout my career and business school and apply them to real life. You always prepare for the worst, but no one ever expected something quite like this. Going through this once in a lifetime situation forced me to work harder, innovate efficiently and go on the offensive rather than just wait for the pandemic to end. Though some of these techniques are an evergreen way to operate and how we always strive to lead, it was really reinforced due to the COVID-19 crisis.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Making sure that we have our supply chain 100 percent established and ready to scale is essential, but I’ve learned over the years that even when you think everything is fine, that’s when it’s time to get nervous. I’ve gone through experiences where we were scaling so rapidly, I was literally begging our suppliers to keep up. It wasn’t funny at the time but now I look back at it humorously and am glad I learned my lesson.
Are you working on any exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?
We’re very excited about Mota Ventures’ expansion into the European Union. We’re thrilled to take our CBD product line that’s currently available in the States and transform it to focus on what consumers in Europe are looking for. This expansion through our Sativida brand is significant because we can bring CBD to new markets and make it more accessible than ever before, empowering the international community to incorporate CBD into their daily wellness routines.
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?
My father is my most significant mentor. He was an entrepreneur who owned a health equipment and medical device company, and I worked with him early on in my career. He really showed me the ropes of the health and wellness industry and is the reason for my success today.
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?
Our strategy is having fewer products! For instance, Mota Ventures’ CBD brand Nature’s Exclusive CBD (available nationwide) offers simple, easy to use products to reduce consumer confusion and help people make their buying decisions seamlessly and confidently.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Cannabis industry? Can you share 3 things that most concern you?
The three things I’m most excited about are continued product innovation (including more varieties of great tasting edibles and beverages), general awareness of how consumers can use CBD, and more advanced cannabinoid research. We are just scratching the surface with CBD! Three things that concern me are the potential saturation of new, less reputable companies entering the market and confusing consumers; regulatory hurdles that vary by state; and the limitations and often convoluted rules surrounding international expansion, which can make global ambitions quite difficult and tedious.
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.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
Information is power, so I think it’s important for CEOs and leaders to be clear with employees and partners on how their position can positively impact the business and how they can be successful in their role. Transparency is key, as it helps to motivate and keep employees engaged.
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.
I’m looking forward to positioning Mota Ventures as the leader of the CBD movement worldwide and also encouraging more research in natural health products, alternative cannabinoids and psychedelic derived medicines. Mota Ventures, through our German-based Verrian operation, is researching and testing the efficacy and application of psychedelic derived medicines (natural psilocybin products) to treat addictions like opioids and alcohol. I’m excited to continue this sort of innovation that can potentially help millions of people for years to come.