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Meet Rudy Ellenbogen of Wholegrow in Rino

Today we’d like to introduce you to Rudy Ellenbogen.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I am a Peruvian immigrant who came to the U.S. in 2010. A Civil engineer with an MBA, I did real estate development in Los Angeles upon arriving to the U.S. A couple of years later a friend of mine mentioned how cannabis had helped him with his autoimmune disease. I am an natural-born entrepreneur, so I was intrigued and decided to move to Denver and start a cannabis company. After researching the industry I found an strategic nitch in organic cannabis and built Verde Natural, the largest indoor cannabis cultivator of indoor organic flower in Colorado. The business was successful because of its solid funding and the clever strategy of diferentiation but most importantly I fell in love with the people who joined me in this endeavor. We had 65 employees after only 3 years in operations and leading a true tribe was the most rewarding experience I’ve had in business. Today at Wholegrow we are taking that strategic approach and brand culture to several other states with an innovative co-op brand approach.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road was full with challenges. But many of those opportunities contributed to my personal growth and the growth of the businesses I’ve run over the years. One of my main challenges was deciding to leave Verde, the company I gave blood, sweat and tears for 5 years, my baby. The partner I had was not aligned with the company culture (the most important reason for our success!) and I decided to move on and start from scratch. It was painful to see much of what my team and I built get lost…

Please tell us about Wholegrow.
Wholegrow (WG) is a cannabis brand that works with a network of local, organic growers by aggregating them under the Wholegrow brand. For many of the best craft cultivators in the U.S. is becoming increasingly difficult to compete with the large corporations that have entered the space with flashy packaging but low quality product. We want the craft cannabis movement to thrive in the U.S. (and the world) and the WG brand allows them to do that by aggregating them to be a part of a much larger co-op group that can get market-share and recognition to command higher prices. Our expertise as operators and connoisseurs allows us to select and distribute the best local organic growers in this purpose-driven mission to save craft cannabis for the patients and consumers to get the best cannabis.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Spending the summers at the beach in Lima Peru, playing soccer, water-skiing, enjoying with friends and family.

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