Back in December 2020, when Frank Knuettel II was named president and CEO of Terra Tech Corp, now Unrivaled, thanks to a merger that closed in June, the vertically integrated company was a little “overextended” and “unfocused.”
With decades of C-suite experience in the traditional business world, Knuettel decided to focus on the company’s core operations as a plant-touching cannabis operator in California. He also restructured the balance sheet and existing debt and initiated the merger with Unrivaled, a California-based multi-state operator, that expands the company’s footprint into Nevada and Oregon as well.
“Our idea is just to build the largest footprint we can on the West Coast while we have this competitive advantage,” Knuettel says.
Originally from New York with an economics degree from Tufts and a finance/entrepreneurial management MBA from the Wharton School of Business, Knuettel worked at Sidney Frank Importing (which has the exclusive rights to Jägermeister and developed Grey Goose vodka), before moving to the tech world where he co-founded a semiconductor company. After that company was acquired by a major corporation, he worked with other technology companies, mostly as chief financial officer.
“Living in Colorado with NASDAQ public company experience, I got quite a few calls as the cannabis business was growing,” he says. But he didn’t take those calls at first. Yet when nothing changed after the rescission of the Cole Memo in 2018, Knuettel grew more comfortable with the industry and realized it was a good fit, taking positions at MJardin, Viridian Capital Advisors and ONE Cannabis before taking on his new role as CEO.
“I work really well in early-stage, high-growth operations and clearly cannabis fits that structure,” he says.
By focusing on sound business fundamentals, Knuettel has helped the publicly traded company right its trajectory, with new properties under development, new facilities preparing to open, an infusion of cash from the sale of an investment and a new acquisition of the delivery platform Silver Streak Solutions, expected to close this fall.
“A lot of what I’m bringing and brought is a level of governance, controls and process to the business side of things,” he says. “We have a good platform, we’ve put together a good management team and I think we have diverse operations with the close of the Unrivaled acquisition to really provide a good opportunity to use it as a launching point, and have the cash and the balance sheet to do so.”
— Brian Beckley