HiBnb, an exciting new Canadian startup that offers cannabis consumers and those who want to serve them an alternative to AirBnb have successfully closed their pre-seed round of financing at $500,000 and are continuing to raise capital for the seed round so that they can grow North America wide.
Before finding her passion in this important emerging industry, company founder Elizabeth Becker started in payment processing before moving to work for a series of cannabis entrepreneurs. Becker has emerged as a robust player on the Canadian Cannabis landscape. She has proven herself to be a woman to watch – as successful in this new space as she previously was in the world of film and TV (well known to the public as an on air host of YTV Rocks”, “Rock n’Talk”, “Streetnoise”, “YTV News”, “NBA Dunk Street”, “28:48” IMDB profile: https://www.imdb.com/name/
In a statement released to the media today, Elizabeth Becker stated, “We are really excited to have closed this round of funding. Now we have the backing that we need to execute our business plan from a position of strength, to make sure that our technology is strong and that we can reach people with real marketing dollars behind us. Especially now when it is so timely, with such a shift towards cannabis in Canada, I feel like the pitch is coming, I’m standing at home plate, and I just got outfitted with the top of the line aluminum bat! – I’m proud to announce that we got what we need to hit the home run!”
A passionate entrepreneur, now developing a platform that will galvanize a global community, she is often described as a visionary. Elizabeth knew that the first step to making this vision a success was putting the right team in place. Strong on the creative side (Elizabeth had previously enjoyed a rich career writing and directing in film and television film production in Los Angeles, Vancouver and Toronto as a director in kids TV) and in sales and marketing, she set out to find a balance, looking for someone with a strong background in corporate finance.
“I feel lucky that I found the right partner in Kelly Ehler,” Founder Elizabeth Becker says enthusiastically. “He has such a strong anchor in the financial world and was able to help me navigate a new environment. He also brought in his personal relationships, which helped to close the pre-seed round to take us to the next level.”
Kelly Ehler, a CA is a Director on the board of Slang (a leading cannabis company focused on acquiring and developing market-proven brands and creating new brands) with experience at Price Waterhouse Coopers, and Bank of Montreal. He’s also experienced with public company corporate board experience and leadership roles in a variety of industries ranging from startups to billion dollar public companies and work in debt financing, due diligence, acquisitions and dispositions, audits, consolidations, multi jurisdiction entities and multijurisdictional public companies.
Addressing the difficulty that women have accessing this kind of seed money, Becker says, “Normally I wouldn’t want any attention to my gender whether positive or negative, because I want to be seen as equal. But when it comes to finance, that’s not the reality we live in. Despite the fact that there is so much support out there for women in terms of strengthening their financial intelligence, I find it alarming that the percentage of women founders receiving venture capital is much drastically lower than men, though statistically women-run businesses are much more successful than male-run businesses.
Elizabeth knows that to be true. After all, she grew up in one. Her mother, Rose Becker, was a great role model and inspiration for women in business. Her company R. Becker Marketing and Sales, Ltd. had 60 million dollars in annual gross sales at its height. Her mother, she says, “was a pioneer as a businesswoman in the early 1970’s.
Her mother wasn’t the only woman with incredible business acumen that Elizabeth turned to when it came time to make her big business dream a reality. She says she actually had a whole supportive team not only cheering her on – but giving her advice that had real value every step of the way. In particular, she credits the Fifth Wave Accelerator Program -designed to accelerate and sustain the growth of women owned / led enterprises (http://cfccreates.com/
“Women communicate differently than men and I found it very effective to communicate with these groups of brilliant women. They were all so supportive, referring me to other people and helping every way that they could . It definitely strengthened HiBnb’s foundation. They were investing their time and faith in me, these super smart women, and I wanted to prove them right.”
With the recent $500,000 pre seed raise, she already has.
HiBnb’s vision for growth is impressive. With the official launch in Canada this spring, they expect to be in the US by the end of the year. Industry watchers are excited to hear the foundation is being laid for HiBnb to become a public traded company.
HiBnb is a Canadian online marketplace and hospitality service brokerage through which members can book lodging, activities, and experiences that include or involve cannabis. As it strives to carve out a resonant, timely brand in the Wild West that is the cannabis economy, HiBnb sees strength in its Canadian proposition. Beyond being a Canadian owned and operated venture, HiBnb is the first and only venture of its kind to specialize exclusively in cannabis-focused, Canada-based accommodations, excursions and activities. Because Canada is only the second country in the world to legalize weed, this means something.