Nancy Do: A founder’s dream to democratize cannabis

Nancy, when did you know you wanted to be a leader?

My whole life, I’ve known I was a leader. I’ve always had new ideas, wanted to mobilize people, and push a group to be their best.

How did you become interested in entrepreneurship?

I’ve gone through several iterations of being an entrepreneur. I used to be a sommelier, and helped open bars and restaurants in my past life. While it was something I loved doing, I realized after a few years that it wasn’t as fulfilling. I wanted to find something that impacted people more directly in a positive way.

What is Endo Industries’ core mission and what are the problems you’re addressing in the cannabis industry today?

Endo is a unique cannabis company. We are building the largest, mission-driven supply chain in cannabis. We do this first by supplying the healthiest starter plants to growers by using a proprietary technique called tissue culture. Our genetics are collected from breeders all over the world. Then we buy back the cannabis grown by our network of farmers growing our genetics, so they have a reliable supply chain to build their brands. The thing that’s missing in the industry right now is reliability and consistency through supply chain maturity and we’re trying to address that.

Have you experienced inequities in the industry as a queer Asian founder? What challenges have there been?

I grew up in Eastside San Jose where access to resources was limited and queerness was not a comfortable topic. On the other hand, I was privileged to have grown up in the Bay Area, having seen big and small businesses grow into successful global companies in the heart of entrepreneurship. In watching the cannabis industry movement progress, I want to be a part of the community that can facilitate that kind of success. But it hasn’t always been an easy road.

How do you keep your motivation despite the setbacks?

I’m lucky that my environment supports my passion. There’s so much rich history and inspiration in California. Cannabis was literally legalized because of the LGBTQ+ community in San Francisco, so I feel this sense of deep connection and responsibility in moving this forward. And when I set my mind to something, there’s nothing that will stop me.

What advice would you give to other queer and Asian founders looking for their motivation?

I think it’s really easy as an underrepresented founder to get lost in the fog. They put their heads down and stress out because it’s hard. Oftentimes, founders end up closing themselves off to the world. If anything, play into these strengths that feel like weaknesses because we have more passion, grit and perseverance than the average company.

Nancy and Endo Industries graduated from the StartOut Growth Lab in 2018 and has continued to be one of StartOut’s most fearless supporters.

Connect with Nancy on LinkedIn for the latest updates on Endo Industries, and follow our blog on Medium for more founder stories.

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