Updated: Apr 28
AN INTERVIEW WITH ANDER WENSBERG, FOUNDER OF YELLOW LABS
by Christopher Smith, Editor at The American Cannabis Report
Hello Ander! You’ve told me “I’m a longtime adman and entrepreneur who served great big brands and built platform services.” Can you tell me a bit more about why you founded Yellow Labs?
Ander Wensberg: Sounds like a phrase an “adman” would say, right? But there was truth to both parts. I had a good career when the industry was a real factor in global business. I led accounts at global agencies like J. Walter Thompson, McCann and Modem Media... I had C-suite level relationships at General Motors, Buick, American Express, Miller Brewing, Gateway, Lowe's....among many others.
The big agency advertising model was well-worn by that point, right?
Wensberg: Not for me! Even though I was in the big machine, I always solved problems with an entrepreneur’s attitude. I immersed myself every facet of advertising, sponsorship and digital brand development that I could get my hands on. That helped put me at the beginning of sponsored reality television, streaming, and brand activation in sports and entertainment... My technology start-up life started by building several SAAS platforms in private social networks and video streaming: ‘Sting Live in Grant Park’, ‘The World Golf Championships’, VH1 ‘Save The Music’, Tiger Woods’ American Express and Buick activations. I led Modem Media to win the build of the first global e-commerce platform for Philips Electronics…
Safe to say you’re comfortable on the leading edge?
Wensberg: The thrill of creating a new approach to a persistent problem is intoxicating for me. We’re doing that every day at Yellow Labs and to be perfectly honest, I leave work at the end of the day with more energy than I had at the beginning.
What is Yellow Labs?
Wensberg: Yellow Labs creates high performance ingestibles from the best cannabis and better science. Our plan is to serve maturing patients and consumers of cannabis who seek new, more body-positive ways to enjoy and benefit from cannabis at a different level of success and joy.
Can you describe your products?
Wensberg: We feature two ingestible products: a sublingual spray and a transdermal lotion. The cannabis infused inside is grown and extracted by the best Rhode Island cultivators, who are some of the most talented people in the industry.
So no flower products at all?
Wensberg: No. We know that many patients really want the benefits of cannabis, but either don’t like or cannot tolerate smoking flower. Or they don’t like the slow onset of edibles. We offer solutions that are fast-acting, and more efficient so you can experience true cannabinoids, terpenes, and their effects in minutes. And with the transdermal, directly on the point of discomfort.
Is Yellow Labs a cannabis company, or a technology company?
Wensberg: Yellow Labs is both, but more in the model of Apple than Cisco, which is to say our products are so easy to use, the “technology” is invisible.
Now we know “what” the company is, can you tell us more about the “why” you started Yellow Labs? Is this purely a business venture for you, or something more?
Wensberg: In 2017, I jumped into the cannabis industry, and I haven’t regretted it for one second. I am a longstanding cannabis geek. It's a deep personal connection from my lifelong relationship with ADD. I am also attempting to remain athletic at a beat-up 59, nursing ‘residual gifts’ from hockey and baseball through college. Like all of my experiences, I am self-taught in cannabis from jumping in face first on my own dime. I seek out plant-touching talent and insight, people with personal belief and experience with cannabinoids. This is personal for me.
Sounds like fun… but is there a business case?
Wensberg: I heard a question recently, “When’s the last time a consumer packaged goods industry could grow to $80B in annual revenue from scratch?” Yellow Labs has become a top craft brand in Rhode Island's medical marijuana program simply from the caliber of our people, partners and product. It’s unbelievably exciting.
"Our products deliver the most benefits of cannabinoids in the most body-friendly methods."
What role will Yellow Labs have in the industry?
Wensberg: One that can be viewed two ways: Our products deliver the greatest benefits of cannabis plant in the most body-friendly methods. We believe our combination of technology, top-quality strains, clean and potent extracts, and ease of use is the right combination for a lot of people. Our results show that we're on the right track. Also, our model is one of the few that can scale nationally.
How are your results so far?
Wensberg: It's taken some patients (pun intended). We are now at the economic position we wanted two be two years ago in RI, but with far deeper knowledge, more industry relationships, and vastly bigger potential. I am very bullish on Yellow Labs. This is my last tour stop. I want to do this for the rest of my days.
Learn more at yellowlabsinc.com