The First National Cannabis Brand
Toast is aiming to become the first national cannabis brand in America.
It's embracing what it believes is a new era of cannabis consumption — an era when cannabis is not just legal, but a mainstream indulgence.
To succeed in this era, Toast is building an affordable luxury cannabis brand. As the company says, “The Budweiser or Coca-Cola of cannabis doesn’t exist yet.” Toast aims to change that.
This company has impressive credentials:
• Retail sales since 2017 have surpassed twelve million dollars.
• Toast’s co-founder was Chief Marketing Officer with Anheuser-Busch, and held senior roles with Coca-Cola and Procter & Gamble.
• And it’s raised more than ten million dollars from notable investors including cannabis-focused venture capital fund Yaax Capital and the former Chief Operating Officer of fifty-billion-dollar hedge fund Citadel Group.
Most cannabis companies are focused on the mass market, targeting value-driven consumers. The thing is, this represents a small part of the total cannabis industry.
Data shows that the fastest-growing consumer segment is not the one with those who aim to "get as high as possible," but those who seek to integrate cannabis into their lifestyle. These consumers identify with brands that offer curated experiences.
The Toast brand is centered around enhancing experiences. As the company says, “From birthdays to anniversaries, there’s always a Toast for that.”
It offers a range of products that span the full spectrum of the cannabis plant — from micro-dosed cannabidiol (CBD) + tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) for the “canna-curious,” to high-potency offerings. Toast sells products including joints, gummies, and oils.
Toast is what’s considered a non-plant touching business. This means it sells cannabis products and services, but doesn’t handle the plant directly. Typically, non-plant-touching businesses have less trouble scaling and expanding in a market that's still finding its way to mainstream adoption.
Toast products are already sold in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Colorado, and Nevada. The company aims to expand to New York, California, and Florida in 2023, and Arizona, Missouri, and West Virginia in 2024.
Prior to starting Toast, Punit was Chief Operating Officer with Viceroy Creative, an advertising company. Before that, he was Senior Chief of Staff with Bridgewater Associates, an investment management firm.
Earlier in his career, he was a manager with Accenture, a management consulting business. Before that, he was a project manager with Bristol-Myers Squibb, a pharmaceutical company.
Punit began his career as an analyst with Bank of America, and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Information Systems from Clemson University. He also earned an MBA from NYU.
Chris has spent thirty-three years in the marketing and consumer packaged goods (CPG) sectors.
He began his career with Procter & Gamble, a CPG company, working in brand management. From there, he was Group Marketing Director with beverage company Coca-Cola’s European Division.
He then became Global Chief Marketing Officer with Anheuser-Busch InBev, an alcoholic beverage company. In addition to his role with Toast, he is an advisor to several marketing-related companies.
Chris holds a Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Leuven in Belgium, and a Master’s in European Economics from Centre European Universitaire in France.
Shovahn started Toast after spending more than twelve years with Accenture, a management consulting business, as a senior manager. In addition to her current role, she is an advisor for slowtravlr, a technology platform focused on collaboration ideas for travelers.
She earned a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from Northwestern University.
A VC fund investing in cannabis-related companies.