First-of-its-kind incubator helps pot startups grow

A new business accelerator is helping startups find their way in the new legal pot market. Canopy, a Boulder-based incubator for pot entrepreneurs, is the first of its kind, reports CBS News correspondent Barry Petersen.

Nearly a year and a half after recreational pot became legal in Colorado, there are now 550 retail stores, with dozens of big players, and even the business of marijuana can use a boost from some seed money.

English-born Harvard MBA graduate Roy Bingham, who worked in the banking industry, moved from Rhode Island to Boulder, Colorado, to be in the prime spot for a new venture.

He plans to analyze and sell sales data so pot shops know what's hot and what's not.

To get his new business launched, he turned to Canopy. Their one rule is that the companies they help do not sell pot, but pot products, which means they aren't breaking any federal laws.

Canopy gave 10 startup companies $20,000 and three months of mentoring and training. In return, they receive a 9.5 percent equity share.

Funding brainchild ideas comes from the mind of former Marine Micah Tapman and venture capitalist Patrick Rea.

"Success for us though at the end of the day is about return on investment for investors," Tapman said.

Rea said that's "good old fashioned business."

"I mean, if you can't do that, you can't do anything, in any industry," Rea said.

Right now, that industry brought in roughly $2.7 billion in sales last year in states that have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use. If more states approve recreational, sales will be billions more.

"I like to say that I think that we are coming from the future almost," Rea said.

But first, dreamers must become doers.

"We range from public speaking practice to talking to people about pro forma financials and other sort of fundamental business strategies," Tapman said.

Holly Alberti was accepted to the program. She and her husband went from owning a Massachusetts painting company to Healthy Headie Lifestyles selling products like vape-pipes in the privacy of people's homes.

"It's just like Mary Kay for 'Mary Jay,'" Alberti said. "The Avon Tupperware model is really what we were going after."

One thing they teach at Canopy: dream big.

"So in 2020 we will be in multiple states across the nation," Albert said.

So look out, America, here come the pot entrepreneurs.