Into this new world Sheri L. Orlowitz’s 30-plus-year experience as an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, turn-around expert, board director, corporate leader, attorney and former federal prosecutor make her uniquely qualified not only to lead companies in the cannabis industry, but to advise regulators and provide strategic investment advice. Few can match her track record of success.
Sheri has owned and led a dozen very different companies, some acquired from Kodak, Tyco International, and Applied Magnetics, employing over a thousand people and raising $100 million in the process. She has invested in seed and venture capital companies for over 25 years including a payments company acquired by PayPal.
Her foray into cannabis was marked by years of monitoring the industry until enough factors developed to de-risk investments from being subject to being shut down under federal law. After careful analysis, she made her first investment in MJ Freeway a track and trace software company. Sheri subsequently raised the capital needed to fill out its Series C round to prepare it to be the first U.S. based cannabis marijuana company to be listed on the NASDAQ under the name Akerna.
From real estate development to computer component manufacturing, her successful ventures required precision, negotiating expertise, commitment to quality, coordination with federal regulators and an insistence on the highest ethical standards of corporate behavior. With an eye towards using her decades of board experience to guide growing companies, Sheri is a member of the boards of Aeon Botanika and AgTools and is the Chief Strategy Office of WITI a cannabis and medical device tech company, as well as having stints on established industry boards.
Sheri’s commitment to social justice led her 25 years ago to found a non-profit to address human trafficking as well as sit on the Harvard University Women’s Leadership Board and others. It also led to her involvement with the Marijuana Policy Project, the leading public policy advocacy group for the cannabis industry. Sheri is a member of the board and treasurer and in that role she created and is convening MPP’s Scientifc Advisory Board and Fortune 1000 Corporate Council whose major initiative is to help the FDA regulate the industry.
Her experience contributing to the evolution of this industry adds to her commitment in giving poor and minorities, once targeted for arrest, new opportunities in this now-legitimate field. Sheri’s experience, integrity and vision will help her develop the cannabis industry in a way that restores justice and increases prosperity for people and companies involved.