WHO: Organic Genetics

Founders: Holly Wright and Paul Lee

HQ: Auckland

website: organicgenetics.co.nz

NZ Entrepreneur: Tell us why you started your business, Organic Genetics and have you always been entrepreneurial? 

Holly Wright: We founded Organic Genetics in 2019 after numerous discussions around the emerging medicinal cannabis industry here in NZ. We had a strong vision of being able to offer patients a natural alternative to opioids, after seeing both friends and family suffer from terrible side effects. Paul being raised in California, which is regarded as the mecca of cannabis, was able to draw on existing relationships which ultimately allowed us to partner with an extensive team of seasoned industry professionals. These relationships also enabled us to obtain access to exceptional global genetics. These factors gave us the confidence to invest all of our time and efforts into this business. We have both always had an entrepreneurial skillset, but more so Paul who has always had an incredible knack for business and pulling in the best of the best around him to succeed in his business goals.

NZE: There are a few other competitors in the NZ market now, as a startup what’s your point of difference? What gaps in the market are you looking to fill?

HW: Yes, there are already a handful of other NZ medicinal cannabis companies doing awesome work in the industry. From the beginning we have always said our biggest point of difference will be our genetics, we are all set to grow specialty premium, craft cannabis. Through our genetic pool and cultivation experts we know we can bring NZ patients a quality they have yet to experience. We have best in class operators to help in every aspect of our business from indoor and outdoor cultivation to genetics, extraction, manufacturing, product development and distribution. Our global team have done this time and time again and have a proven track record in the business of cannabis.

Organic Genetics
Organic Genetics cofounders, Holly Wright (left) and Paul Lee.

NZE: Your business partners are experienced in the medicinal cannabis industry, particularly in California, could you tell us more about how these relationships have helped you?

Paul Lee: Relationships are everything in business as we know. And our relationships have allowed us to establish some strong global networks within our team which give us an competitive advantage. It’s been invaluable for us to utilise their experience that’s come from their own trials and error over the many years cannabis has been legal overseas. Having cultivation experts for both indoor and outdoor gives us so much confidence and we know having access to their genetic pool is something even money can’t buy. We believe having experts in each area of the business is crucial to the success of Organic Genetics.

NZE: Your previous capital raise venture didn’t quite pan out due to the timing of Covid- 19. How has this recent $5m private investment come about? 

HW: Yes, unfortunately the timing of Covid was unavoidable and caused a huge delay to our funding opportunities. However, we didn’t give up for one second! The recent investment came about by us believing wholeheartedly in our vision and never losing sight of our goal. It was all about canvassing all opportunities that arose, constant meetings with different parties. We always knew it would take some time to find the right investor.

NZE: What do you plan to use this investment for?

PL: This investment is primarily for our indoor and outdoor operational equipment – this will enable us to start our first harvesting cycles.

Organic Genetics aim to focus on new discoveries and new breakthroughs in cannabinoid science.


HW: Our plans for the Northland location is to grow high level CBD hemp, which contains next to no THC and produces a much higher yield. The production growth capacity in Northland will be hugely scalable, and at full capacity we will be able to yield around 11,000 pounds of dried flower per harvest. Our investor will be purchasing land to begin our Indoor facility within the next month. The indoor facility will be very different to our outdoor location as it will be a much more controlled environment. Our focus indoors will be on producing THC flower. A premium, craft cannabis at a quality we believe has not been produced for medicinal use here in NZ yet.

NZE: What would your advice be for other startups looking to secure large investments to help grow their business?

PL: Never give up, canvas all opportunities, never say no to a meeting as you never know when you will meet the right person. Also, don’t just take any offer if it doesn’t fit. We’ve had multiple offers with high number values which we have declined as they weren’t the right investor and fit for us. Know what your business is worth, what your skill set is worth and what your team is worth.

NZE: any final words of encouragement for our readers looking to take the step towards growing their own business ideas?

HW: No matter what have a strong belief in what you’re doing. Nobody can see your vision like you can, so it’s up to you to articulate and communicate that. Some days are hard, and you think, ‘How are we going to get there?’ But you have to keep pushing no matter what and believe in yourself and your business idea wholeheartedly.

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