Title: Founding partner
Company: JourneyOne Ventures
Helene Servillon was shocked after attending her first cannabis event and seeing the diversity of its attendees. As a San Francisco native, Servillon was well acquainted with cannabis culture, but seeing the people behind the plant inspired her to change career paths.
“I thought, ‘Hell yeah, this is an industry I need to be a part of,’” she says. “I love that cannabis entrepreneurs come from a diverse array of backgrounds across genders, races, geographies, age groups and prior work experiences, and are incredibly resilient, passionate and ambitious.”
While Servillon could have easily transitioned into a marketing or communications role within the industry due to her prior experience with companies like PUMA and Reebok, she saw a more meaningful business opportunity in financing cannabis operators. So she set out to build JourneyOne Ventures from the ground up.
“Launching JourneyOne is by far my biggest accomplishment to date,” she says, noting that developing a roster of investors can be difficult if you are not part of the finance world. “Prior to starting the fund, I didn’t have a Rolodex of investors in my network that would help seed and anchor the launch of the fund.”
Servillon says JourneyOne Ventures focuses on investing in the technology, systems and infrastructure that enable the industry to operate.
“We’re a group of industry insiders that have built and scaled data, technology and operations for notable cannabis enterprises — including tech companies, retailers, brands and vertically integrated operators across every legal market in the United States,” she says. “One of our goals is to help cannabis companies transform their data and software stacks into durable competitive advantages.”
What prompted you to join the cannabis industry?
I was initially drawn to work in the cannabis industry and continue to stay committed to this space because I’m inspired by the people, the plant and see massive long-term business opportunities.
I love that cannabis entrepreneurs come from a diverse array of backgrounds (across genders, races, geographies, age groups, and prior work experiences), and are incredibly resilient, passionate, and ambitious. I remember going to my first few cannabis events and being shocked by the level of diversity I saw across the room and thought, “hell yea, this is the community I need to be a part of and I need to work towards maintaining this level of diversity across the ecosystem.”
I also grew up in San Francisco where weed culture was accepted and have always loved the plant and the medicinal and healing journeys it has taken me on. Lastly, cannabis is a massive global market and we have yet to see what the true pharmaceutical grade benefits of the plant are and I am very excited to see how the medicinal side of the market will unfold and evolve.
What has been your biggest milestone so far in the cannabis industry?
Launching JourneyOne is by far my biggest accomplishment to date. Prior to starting the fund, I didn’t have a rolodex of investors in my network that would help seed and anchor the launch of the fund. I had to build those relationships from the ground up and no one gave me a playbook on how to find and meet high networth individuals, family offices, and institutional LPs. When you’re building an investor rolodex for the first time, it is by far one of the most challenging things to do as a founder, especially if your friends, family, and professional network does not come from the finance world. I certainly did not and it’s why I have so much empathy for founders. I am also a founder (but of a fund vs a startup), and we’re on very similar journeys. The difference is that I raise money from investors to invest in companies.
What do you hope to change or add to the industry?
The cannabis industry is highly fragmented which makes it very difficult to run streamlined processes across multiple states. Many mid-market and enterprise companies in the industry have a lot of challenges managing dozens of disparate software systems within their org and run into a myriad of issues with data health, management and optimization. At JourneyOne, we focus on investing in the technology, systems and infrastructure that enable this billion dollar industry to operate. We’re a group of industry insiders that have built and scaled data, technology and operations for notable cannabis enterprises – including tech companies, retailers, brands, and vertically-integrated operators across every legal market in the United States. One of our goals is to help cannabis companies transform their data and software stacks into durable competitive advantages.