In the latest episode of Vangst's podcast, "Proud to Work in Cannabis," host Karson Humiston, CEO & Founder of Vangst, delves into an inspiring conversation with special guest Socrates (Soc) Rosenfeld, CEO & Co-Founder of Jane Technologies. In this episode, Soc shares his remarkable journey from a military career to becoming a trailblazing entrepreneur in the cannabis industry.
Soc's story begins at West Point, where he attended despite not having initially chosen it for himself. It was an experience that taught him about friendship, character, and self-discovery. He emphasizes the pivotal role that friends and mentors played in helping him navigate this challenging phase of his life. Interestingly, Soc draws parallels between his military experience and the way people seek self-discovery through substances like mushrooms and ayahuasca. For him, cannabis played a transformative role in finding his true self.
Transitioning from the Military to Cannabis
While serving as a pilot and commander of a company flying Apache helicopters from 2004 to 2011, Soc had the opportunity to explore various parts of the world and work with diverse groups of people. However, upon leaving the military in 2011, he faced the daunting task of rediscovering himself. Like many transitioning veterans, Soc turned to others for guidance, which is how he found himself in business school.
Soc's journey took a pivotal turn when he discovered cannabis during his business school years. It was not just about earning a degree but a two-year period that allowed him to reconnect with his true self. Cannabis became his passion, setting the stage for his future in the industry.
The Story Behind Jane Technologies
Soc is not alone in his entrepreneurial journey. He co-founded Jane Technologies with a team of remarkable individuals. His brother, Abe, serves as the company's CTO and brings invaluable technical expertise. Ben Green, a family friend, introduced Soc to cannabis and plays a vital role in partner success. Howard, a business school friend from Australia, serves as the COO/CFO and is known for his remarkable business acumen. Simon Rotti, a friend of Howards from Sydney, Australia, works as the CRO and excels in making people comfortable in any situation. Soc's admiration for his co-founders is palpable, emphasizing the deep respect and love he has for them. Interestingly, his family and close circle played a crucial role in endorsing his idea for Jane, a rare occurrence that signaled its potential. When the team came together, they were unstoppable.
The First Year of Jane Technologies
The early days of Jane Technologies were marked by determination and hard work. Initially, the team worked tirelessly, accommodating off-site development in Russia. When their product faced issues meeting US requirements, they had to rebuild it from scratch.
Despite the challenges, they launched their first product in the spring of 2017. This marked the beginning of their journey to secure funding, a process that took nearly a year, piecing their vision together one step at a time.
Growing Jane Technologies After Series A Funding
Jane Technologies started with six people, the five co-founders plus Ezra, who joined full-time after graduating. Post Series A funding, they strategically expanded their team, filling key positions with dedicated employees who continue to shape the company's success.
Their guiding principle, "we grow our own," emphasizes promoting talent from within the organization, fostering a positive culture that Soc learned from his military and McKinsey experiences.
Pivoting From a Growth Mindset to a Profitability Mindset
Soc candidly discusses the shift in the industry from a growth-oriented mindset to a profitability-focused one. He draws a parallel to the pace set by Dutchie, their closest competitor, and questions the sustainability of such a strategy.
He emphasizes the importance of endurance, resiliency, and profitability over breakneck growth. For Soc, this shift aligns better with his comfort zone, and he believes it will benefit the industry in the long run.
Finding Endurance as a Business Leader
Soc shares his personal journey of taking better care of himself, both physically and mentally. He emphasizes the need to protect one's heart, showing oneself grace, empathy, and forgiveness—qualities often extended to employees but overlooked for self.
As he reflects on turning 40, Soc acknowledges the importance of stretching and adapting to life's changes.
It's Gnarly Out There: The Current State of the Industry
Soc provides insights into the cannabis industry's challenges, highlighting unrealistic expectations and a lack of fundamental business practices in some companies. He also expresses hope in the growing demand for cannabis products despite industry turbulence.
Soc reminds listeners of the importance of staying connected to the "why" behind their work, particularly in an industry driven by passion and purpose.
Proud to Work in Cannabis
Soc Rosenfeld's journey from West Point to cannabis entrepreneur exemplifies resilience, self-discovery, and the power of following one's heart. His story is a testament to the enduring spirit of those who are proud to work in the cannabis industry, where passion and purpose drive innovation and change. Tune in to Vangst's "Proud to Work in Cannabis" podcast to hear more inspirational stories like Soc's and gain insights into the ever-evolving cannabis landscape.
Join the Vangst Network
Whether you’re looking for a cannabis industry job or searching for the top cannabis talent to drive your company’s growth, the Vangst hiring platform has all the tools you need to make that game-changing move. Sign up and join our network in minutes.Join Today