Featured Founder: Shawn Cutter of GreenScreens
Welcome to our Featured Founder series, where you’ll meet startup founders from Tampa-St. Petersburg who are building and scaling their ventures to solve some of the world’s greatest challenges. We interviewed Shawn Cutter, CEO of GreenScreens, empowering cannabis retailers with screens that deliver great experiences for consumers.
What were you doing previously and what inspired you to launch your company?
I come from a family of entrepreneurs, so I knew early on that I would start my own company. My first solo venture, Fielding Systems, began with a software solution for my family’s oil company and turned into a business. The opportunities for technology solutions in oil and gas were big enough that I was able to bootstrap my business and sell it to Quorum Software in 2015. Since leaving Quorum in 2018, I have invested and helped launch a few other startups.
Building and problem solving inspires my thirst for knowledge. My latest venture, GreenScreens, began with two of the original co-founders using technology solve real problems they were experiencing in the Cannabis industry.
We are witness to exciting times for startups and mature businesses alike where technology has become the differentiator. If you miss a strategic opportunity, you may not get another chance. First movers have an advantage because of the essential learning and experience deployed on each iteration. One of the most rewarding things one can do is build something from which others benefit. I have always been in active pursuit of understanding how things worked, routinely tearing them apart and not always putting them back together in the same way. Knowledge combined with curiosity is a powerful force. When I met Ryan Sterling, Martin DeFrance, and Jeremy Klammer to learn about GreenScreens, I knew right away I had to be involved. The future is becoming more and more digital, and the way the cannabis industry continues to boom, I knew my background and ambition, together with their determination and experience in cannabis, would create something spectacular in dispensaries and change the way dispensaries worked.
What pain point is your company solving?
Without GreenScreens, the Cannabis in-store shopping experience is cumbersome. Cannabis customers are often uninformed about the products, and even for experienced shoppers, the available product offerings change daily. Our screens solve these problems by enhancing the in-store experience. The content we provide captures the attention of the customers, engages them, and educates them about the available products. On top of that, the screens decrease the burden on the employees and increase profitability by providing advertising space. We’ve brought the future of retail, digital content, into brick-and-mortar Cannabis stores.
What gets you excited to go to work every day?
We have an unbelievably talented and creative team that consistently surpasses customer service needs. Being around creative, talented, perpetual learners is thrilling for me. We brainstorm together, create, and solve problems so I’m able to learn something new every day. I find it most rewarding working with a team. One of my hidden, and sometimes not so hidden, goals is to deliver technology that, to the ordinary person, looks like magic.
Name the biggest challenge you faced in the process of launching the company. How did you overcome it?
The biggest challenge GreenScreens has faced was surviving the pivot where I stepped in as CEO! We had to rediscover what would drive the company’s going forward, a huge task best accomplished in an agile way; by dividing it into manageable pieces. This means regularly scheduled retrospectives, daily standups, and so on. We also brought in outside expertise to fire up the team’s core values.
Where do you see your company headed next?
We are going to continue to expand into the growing Cannabis market and beyond. We are building the foundation of “Retail 2.0”; though we’re starting in the Cannabis industry, our concept will grow into many other small retail shops. Along with quality products, any profitable brick and mortar retail of the future must deliver a memorable experience and information that helps customers make decisions.
Give us a tactical piece of advice that you’d share with another founder just starting out.
I’m always happy to share what I’ve learned with a fellow founder so I’ll give you my top 4: Above all else, don’t give up and keep pushing. Second is to surround yourself with people that inspire you and hire up to the extent your budget allows. Third, stay informed about anything in your industry that will likely impact your business. Lastly, work smarter, not harder, especially by utilizing the technological resources available to you, like our dispensary customers are doing by using GreenScreens.
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