Kim Kovacs Is A Change Agent Bringing Expertise In Finance, Cannabis, & Tech

  • Published on:
    September 9, 2020
  • Reading time by:
    5 minutes

Tell us in your own words about yourself

I am the kind of woman leader who exemplifies the idea of making life happen. As someone who has had a career in executive leadership and finance, I truly don’t place limits on myself or my team. I look carefully to identify holes in the market, areas for opportunity or growth, and ask for what I want to make happen —all while keeping an eye on helping other women do the same.

As a serial entrepreneur and investor in software-as-a-service, technology, cannabis, and health, I have personally raised more than $100 million for different ventures over the years. Plus, as an active angel investor, advisor, and executive consultant I’m able to engage with emerging companies I’m passionate about. The entrepreneurial ecosystem and mentorship of young entrepreneurs keep me inspired and fuels constant improvement.

I initially entered the cannabis space as an investor to raise awareness around the usage of cannabis to fight the nation’s opioid epidemic. After watching a relative with chronic pain make the switch from opioids to cannabis, I felt the need to get involved. ​As a result, I have been able to help women take powerful ownership over decision-making in their health and wellness. Something that many people aren’t aware of is that a lot of the things women are suffering from—sleep, pain, and anxiety—could all be treated with cannabis.

As I lead the team at Arcview, I’m reminded of a quote from Simon Sinek, “You’re not in charge. You’re responsible for those who are in your charge.” This statement rings true for me because I invest a lot of effort into relationships in order to create a culture of trust and lead with purpose.

While you’ve been CEO what has The Arcview Group done differently to set itself apart from its competitors?

When I first joined The Arcview Group, the company was known for hosting incredible events for investors to come to mingle, learn, and see great company’s pitching for investment several times per year. When Arcview first started, 10 years ago now, there was no competition in their space since most of the country was still illegal even for medical marijuana. However, in 2019 there were many more players on the scene and a lot of groups hosting events globally – so Arcview faced tougher competitive challenges and needed ways to differentiate itself.

We decided at the onset of 2020 and pre-COVID, which was very fortuitous, to pivot to a digital strategy for our members. This enabled us to engage more frequently and to deliver a different experience to our membership than what others were doing. Now many are trying to adopt this digital strategy but since we got a few months jump we are in a very good position to now dominate this new digital space.

Also, another key factor in our success is how we listen and respond to our customers. Cannabis is a very unique industry and changes almost weekly. In order to be on top of your game, you need to understand how each stakeholder is also evolving and their need for information and insights to keep current.

And these set The Arcview Group apart from its competitors to give it a very different identity?

By redefining our mission and creating a new strategy around the customer vs the events business we have been able to distance ourselves from those who had been encroaching on our events business. In fact, we don’t see ourselves in the same competitive space with them anymore. Arcview is creating a new digital space for investors and companies to interact and use technology to do so.

What do you see as the key challenges for your industry over the next five years?

There are a few interesting developments in the cannabis industry that keeps us very bullish on the opportunities. First of all, cannabis was deemed essential. This allowed for cannabis businesses to stay open and actually many have seen significant jumps in year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter growth. This is terrific for the industry – demand is high so the market is expanding.

Second, due to COVID, many new consumers are trying cannabis and many consumers who used to be okay with buying from the illicit market are not wanting to take that additional product risk. They prefer to buy from licensed and therefore compliant operators. This boosts jobs and tax revenues too. However, the industry is still federally illegal and access to capital is tough for cannabis operators globally. I see small steps are being made but until we have federal protections for these businesses and allow for banks to step in we are always going to have an illicit problem.

One aspect of The Arcview Group’s growth is its workforce. How have you integrated all of these new people into the company?

I would like to answer this question in another way.

First, the legal cannabis industry was founded by those who had previously been in an illegal business. That is a very unique mix of cultures and people to now bring together in a legal entity. Second, people enter the cannabis industry for different reasons – some to make money and others for health and wellness benefits. Third, and certainly not least, there is overwhelming support of cannabis operators and those in the industry to create opportunities for POC and those most affected by the War on Drugs.

Social equity programs are an important first step but there is more to be done.

So back to your question on how we integrate new people in the company – it is pretty simple. We are here to serve our stakeholders and their cannabis journey is an important one for us to understand. Everyone at Arcview knows our mission and everyone has a true purpose towards that mission. By allowing people to find and then work in their genius and celebrating their abilities along with trust goes a long way.

How do you ensure that you have the team’s support?

I learned early on in my career that you really won’t go far without the support of your team, so very rarely will I make any decisions without most if not all of the team weighing in on the decision. No idea is a bad one, sometimes timing doesn’t work for some ideas but we encourage everyone to get creative and come with as many thoughts as possible.

Honesty is also a key thing for me. And by being honest I mean really sharing as much and with as many as possible. I find it interesting when CEOs and other leaders hold back on sharing ‘sensitive’ information from their team. Most of the time the team knows and they become resentful that you didn’t share it or at least give them a reason why you can’t do something.

What is the biggest risk you have ever taken and what in you has prompted this risk-taking?

You would think that getting into cannabis was the biggest risk but for me, it was a very calculated and planned move so really not that risky. I am actually very risk-averse. I keep most of my investments in cash vs the stock market and I hate leaving things to chance.

What I do is I use data to help me make decisions and take the emotion out as much as possible. Good data and a little foresight will go a long way in helping to de-risk decision making. I also tend to look at risk as an opportunity that most people won’t touch so it makes it actually more attractive. If there are a lot of people doing it and it’s easy, then it will be harder to be successful in my opinion.

What’s your vision for the company over the next 5-years?

We’re likely to see some significant changes to the cannabis industry during this year and over the next five. Not only is the market expected to grow through legalization and usage, but customers are likely to be more educated about cannabis and purchase multiple types of cannabis products. Currently, The Arcview Investor Network consists of 600+ accredited investors with over 200 companies having raised more than $270 million as a result of their participation in Arcview.

As a trusted leader, Arcview will continue to connect high-net-worth individuals, institutional investors, and money managers with investment opportunities and key players in the legal cannabis sector. Plus, The Arcview Group will continue to provide our investors with webinars, research, and quality opportunities. In addition, we’ll continue to mature and build new divisions within The Arcivew Family, such as Arcview Market Research, Arcview Consulting, Arcview Ventures, Arcview Collective Fund, Arcview Capital, Arcview Alliances, and The Arcview Women’s Investor Network.

What are some challenges of this industry business?

The Arcview Group, as the original investing network focused on cannabis, will see more competition with additional cannabis investor networks forming in the future. For the cannabis industry as a whole, there are ten key challenge areas on the horizon, including:

  1. Descheduling and Regulating
  2. Cannabis at the Federal Level
  3. Consumer Safety
  4. The Illicit Market
  5. Access to Banking
  1. Social Justice
  2. Fair Tax
  3. Legalizing Medicine
  4. Public Perception
  5. International Trade

How would you describe your leadership style and what has made it so effective?

I’m a transformational leader because I’m focused on clear communication, goal-setting, and employee motivation towards meeting the organizational objectives. This enables me to focus on the big picture and empowering teams that can handle many delegated tasks without constant supervision. This requires high levels of trust and cooperation, so it’s important to have the right team members in place.

What is your secret to being an effective CEO in terms of building the company culture and values you need to make the company successful?

My secret is being results-oriented and moving the measurable metric needle of success upward. Accountability and measurable success are critical to proving your worth and advancing your career.

What is your current mission?

The current mission of The Arcview Group is to deliver the ​Arcview Advantage​ through education, resources, insights, leadership, and access to offer growth opportunities across the cannabis sector for investors, companies, our Arcview Community, and those wanting to explore this essential industry.

What traits do you look for when building a team?

When building a team, I look for people who are dedicated, hard-working, and passionate. When people are working on something they believe in, then you get their best effort. Whether it believes in a cause, belief in the company, belief in each other. I try to nurture the beliefs that motivate each person in order to get the best results out of the team

How do you determine the best timing for scaling?

There is no time like the present!

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