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50 Best Companies to Watch 2021

Ian James, The Ideation Lab, LLC Founder and CEO: ‘We Ideate, Create, Incubate, Accelerate and Scale Brands and Services for the market. We have numerous Hemp CBD Brands in-house and seek merger opportunities with other like-minded entrepreneurs who seek collaboration and Strategic Partnerships’


The Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics had reported that the global cannabis market is all set to reach $57 billion by 2027. There are hundreds of innovators and entrepreneurs out there with various brands and products trying to get a piece of the pie, but without proper guidance and financial support, most will just end up with crumbs. We must understand that cannabis is a capital-intensive business, and this creates a hurdle for companies with big ideas, inexperience, and great business plans. To overcome the hurdles, emerging businesses in the cannabis segment reach out to incubators and accelerators for support services and capital. Incubators help businesses quickly build their valuation and move to the next phase of their growth cycle. Globally there are various startup incubators providing excellent services to the companies in the startup segment, but The Ideation Lab, LLC stands out from the rest. The Ideation Lab is an Incubator in the Hemp and Plant-Based, Better-for-You Food, Beverage and Brands, Plant Genetics, and Services arena.

The Company’s initial goal has been to breathe life into Brands and Services, growing the gross sales and EBITDA, identify suitors for each Brand and Service from the beginning, and sell them within 36 to 42 months of launch. Over the last several months, however, Ideation’s leadership has examined and analyzed how publicly traded vehicles can accelerate liquidity timelines for privately held ventures, and its shareholders while also providing greater flexibility to facilitate non-dilutive M&A and financing initiatives. The Ideation Lab’s Founders are reviewing options to acquire the controlling interest of an SEC reporting, Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (PCAOB) Audited Public Company. The acquisition goal is to harness public markets to grow the portfolio and potential liquidity events for investors/shareholders. If successful, the Public Company could acquire The Ideation Lab’s Divisions such as The Jordre Well (the CBD Beverage Company partnered with Coffee Holding Company (NASDAQ: JVA)). Additional Ideation divisions and other synergistic companies could be acquired through the issuance of publicly traded shares.

In conversation with Ian James, Founder and CEO of Ideation Lab, LLC

Q. You started ‘The Ideation Lab’ to develop top-flight high-value brands and mass distribution opportunities. This sounds highly promising and incredibly productive. How uniquely do you address your customers’ pain points per this?

Developing Brands consumers want, and retailers will carry and securing the distribution channels is incredibly challenging. It requires sufficient capital to breathe life into the Brands, develop the creative elements for advertising and sales decks, education of the retailers’ compliance departments - because the Hemp market is nascent, and the FDA hasn’t provided sufficient guidance for many. That said, the UK and EU have opened their doors to properly labeled and manufactured CBD products, and Congress appears ready to provide the guidance the industry requires, and consumers need. We believe the move through COVID will usher in a robust demand for wellness and better-for-you brands, and we plan to be prepared to meet the demand.

Q. Let’s talk about your team. Are you convinced that your team’s efforts match with what the market is demanding?

We have a fantastic and growing team of incredibly talented and creative people who develop great brands, formulas and services, expand our footprint in the market, and ensure we remain a leader in compliance and product safety. During the early stages of the Pandemic, we had a handful of people on the team, and like others, closed our office and had folks work from home. But soon after, as we spoke with friends and associates who are epidemiologists, we began to hire new team members, and we needed to interweave them into small groups who would “pod,” and collaborate. The pandemic slow-down allowed our team to become incredibly reflective and want to learn more and more about what customers wanted from wellness brands, which led to a healthy obsession over how to get those brands to our customers. Our team doesn’t focus on our competitors; we focus on our customers. Because everyone here has a stake in its success. All of which allows them to be innovative and provide customers what they demand.

Q. What are the factors that contribute to your success? And would you like to talk about your achievements as a company or share a success story?

First and foremost, our Company has a fantastic Chief Brand Officer (Stephen Letourneau) who provides the brand vision for each category and division within the Company. Stephen and I Founded the Company after seven years of success and failure in the Hemp Industry. Stephen’s vision is unmatched, and his direct, “tell it like it is” nature is what we need. He has gotten products into Neiman Marcus, Ulta, Macy’s, C.O. Bigelow’s, and across the pond in the UK, EU, and Asia and is a powerhouse in our operation.

Q. Briefly walk us through your plans. Where do you see your company a couple of years from now?

In the next couple of years, I see the acquisition of The Ideation Lab, its Beverage Division (The Jordre Well), and its other divisions by a public company that will allow for capitalization, expansion, and growth. I would expect our Pet Treat and Wellness Snack lines to be a part of that acquisition and expansion, including acquiring a distribution company and other synergistic companies. In the end of the second year, I would expect our team to be engaged in a broad search for a Chief Executive Officer and executive team that could take the helm as the Public Company is better positioned to uplift a major market NASDAQ.

Meet the leader behind the success of The Ideation Lab, LLC

Ian James founded The Ideation Lab, LLC, and provides the Company’s strategic vision, development leadership in mergers and acquisitions, and analysis. Ian proven leadership relies upon his 37 years of expertise in heavily regulated industries to forge and maintain successful and profitable business relationships. He has raised roughly $100M in capital investment for various operations since 2014. From 2018 through 2019, he helped spearhead a reverse triangular merger with a sub-$90M Nasdaq company in which a vertical CBD company, SanaMundi, sought to go public. The COVID-19 Pandemic sidelined the “go public” plan. He served as the Chairman of a Colorado Board of a Hemp Genetic Company and is a leader in the Hemp industry for his work on regulatory structures, labeling, and testing requirements. Believing in solid alliances, he led The Ideation Lab and its Affiliated Companies to become the first Hemp manufacturing companies to join the National Association of Manufacturing. Because of his experience in state matters, Politico Magazine named Ian one of the United States’ most influential political thought leaders.

“We seek incredible M&A opportunities with young, fledgling brands where we can serve as strategic partners from incubation through exit.”