Brian Brunelle: Budfolio LLC
Our traditional education system doesn’t encourage any of us to seek the path of an entrepreneur. Perhaps it’s because it’s difficult, consuming, and can be both extremely rewarding and trying. It’s a contrasting experience, but it’s one that Brian Brunelle of Budfolio LLC sought to pursue. As a medical cannabis patient himself, he knew there was a lack of communication between the community and instead of sitting back and waiting for someone else to build and develop a solution, he decided to take it and run with it! So, without further ado, let’s dive into the mind of the man who brought this platform to life.
What was the deciding factor for you to join this particular industry?
The deciding factor was my passion for marketing and belief in cannabis as a medicine. I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 2010 and after trying dozens of different products with varying side effects, I knew there was a better way and that’s how I came to look at cannabis. I’ve always wanted to run my own business and work for myself. So, seeing the opportunity with the cannabis industry seemed like a great way to do that while also living out my passion for this plant as medicine!
I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis in 2010 and after trying dozens of different products with varying side effects, I knew there was a better way and that’s how I came to look at cannabis.
What were you doing before?
I moved to California in 2000 and have been moving around for the last 15 years. I went straight to work after graduating SDSU in 2008 and have worked primarily in sales. I started in advertising sales and sales management while attending school and continued doing advertising sales for the next two years, eventually transitioning to foodservice distribution management. I started Budfolio on the side of my full-time job with the hope of eventually transitioning to making it a full-time endeavor by the end of this year.
Tell us about the point in the time you realized the coming of the ‘green rush’?
It was in 2010 when I became a medical cannabis patient. I began searching out available dispensaries in my area and after seeing the vast number of them throughout the state, I knew this was going to be big business. As Colorado and Washington legalized recreational cannabis in 2013, it was clear that cannabis was here to stay. At that time, I reached back out to some of my business partners and created a plan to enter the space and create value by developing what is now Budfolio.
Right now, where are you guiding your passion and energy towards?
Right now, my passion and energy is spent scaling Budfolio and reaching new users. Budfolio recently closed a round of seed funding which has created many new opportunities for the business. My main focus at the moment is to build brand awareness and presence and I’m progressing in that regard, in a number of ways. I’m increasing marketing efforts and online advertising, as well as attending various trade shows to put Budfolio in front of potential users! We want to bring attention to our brand and our incredibly innovative platform. We are unlike any other and are committed to showing consumers and users just how unique and user-friendly we are!
Describe your work ethic to us in one word.
Who is a person that you consider as a role model? Maybe someone who has been a mentor to you? Why and how did this person impact your life?
My father has always been a role model of mine. Growing up, I watched him run and operate his own business which provided for his family. This taught me very early on about creating my own work and starting a business I could call my own that sustained my well being.
What book have you read that you’ve been inspired by? Any particular read we should put on our list?
“The $100 Startup” by Chris Guillebeau. My friend gave it to me as a birthday gift and it really opened my eyes to how many ways you can create a business doing something you love. I had been struggling with being motivated working on what seemed like everything alone and this book was a breath of fresh air for the ups and downs that come with running a start-up.
I had been struggling with being motivated working on what seemed like everything alone and this book was a breath of fresh air for the ups and downs that come with running a start-up.
Tell us about an esteemed achievement of yours.
Launching Budfolio was a great achievement of mine. It was the first time that I had worked in the technology space, managed a software development project, and brought a product to market. Empowering myself as an entrepreneur has enabled me to grow in so many ways and seeing this project from its conception stage to a live product has been an amazing growing experience.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
The best advice I’ve ever received was to above all, follow my dreams. It is easy to follow someone else’s dream and vision, but it is not as easy to actualize and fulfill your own. In school, we are often given a template of sorts – go to school, get good grades, get a job. It’s very rare that our traditional academic system encourages entrepreneurship. They don’t tell us to discover our passion and build a business around it; to veer off the beaten path takes courage and drive. The idea for Budfolio had been at the back of my mind and when I decided to take it and run with it, I had to persevere through the background noise and the people who said I couldn’t do it. It’s a great skill to learn!
What is the most important thing for us to know now about the legal marijuana industry?
The most important thing to know about the legal cannabis industry is that it is alive and thriving. The industry is picking up tons of momentum and the need for proper and solid information regarding cannabis is at an all-time high right now. Those who are providing and congregating that data for patients, consumers, and curious onlookers will be at the forefront of the movement. Information is everything, so always remember to continue to educate yourself.
The industry is picking up tons of momentum and the need for proper and solid information regarding cannabis is at an all-time high right now.
If we are sitting across from each other a year from now, how will our conversation about the ‘green rush’ be going?
The conversation will be exciting. In 2016 we will be discussing the new states in the U.S. which have adopted medical and recreational cannabis laws. This movement and new political landscape will bring about a major push for acceptance and education. That is exactly why information and communication is so important and that is why Budfolio will be at the bow of opening that conversation for patients.