Aviv Hadar - Co-founder, Oregrown and Think Brilliant

Aviv Hadar is proof that the “American Dream” exists. The son of Israeli immigrants, he came to America when he was just five years old. He is a successful college dropout who has gone through several venture capital money raises, built and sold multiple businesses, been involved in lawsuits with Hollywood stars, was part of the first KickStarter project ever to surpass $1M, and is the co-founder of arguably the most visible and fastest growing cannabis brand and business in the entire country. 

These days I spend my time truly enjoying life. I love what I do for work and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I run my software company, www.ThinkBrilliant.com, and of course, there’s Oregrown. Work and play are interchangeable for me. A lot of planning and thought has gone into the layout of my Lifestyle Design. I don’t have a set schedule. I can do what I went when I want. I am lucky and truly blessed live in the country on a beautiful piece of property with such a gorgeous view of the Cascade Mountains from right outside my living room.

After and during high school, I started seeing and following around the band Phish. Yes, I’m most definitely a hippie at heart. After they first broke up, I moved to Montana to attend classes at the University of Montana. I quickly outpaced the Computer Science department so I dropped out of college to found my first company, www.ThinkBrilliant.com. We just celebrated our 10th year of being open!

Think Brilliant started out providing web development services for third-party clients though we quickly pivoted to developing our own in-house applications and web services. I then founded and eventually sold an Apple rumor/news website that would aggregate a bunch of Apple rumors/news onto one page every single day. Think Brilliant then partnered with a Hollywood celebrity to create the website SoulPancake.com. For another project, we licensed the iconic illustration of Conan O’ Brien to the I’m With CoCo project. 

Next, I helped launch the first project in Kickstarter history to ever hit $1,000,000 in funding, the Elevation Dock. That was a smash success. Being the serial entrepreneur that I am, I then took a concept I had to a Startup Weekend contest. After 72 hours in a tech-think-tank, Perfect Menu — a piece of software designed for restaurants — was developed. Perfect Menu quickly garnered traction and was acquired after just sixteen months of being in service. 

Next, comes Oregrown, the biggest success of my life so far. Oregrown is a vertically integrated, licensed farm-to-table cannabis company in the great State of Oregon. We have a gorgeous dispensary in beautiful downtown Bend, Oregon and an 84-acre farm with jaw-dropping views just minutes away.

Oregrown is Oregon’s premier farm-to-table cannabis company, garnering back-to-back awards for Central Oregon’s Best Dispensary at the flagship store at 1199 NW Wall Street in Bend, OR. Offering an upscale retail experience with an amazing staff and high-end products including solventless extractions and one-of-a-kind cultivars, Oregrown continues to innovate, develop and release world-class offerings, delivery methods and applications to patients and recreational customers.

I am happily married to the love of my life, Chrissy. We spend our time enjoying the great outdoors and tending to our farm. We have sheep, horses, chickens and four dogs! We love to snowboard, surf, hike, bike, camp and pretty much do anything fun outside. We love to travel and we both love adventure. I’m an avid drummer and play as much I can. We are both health conscious, we have a gym in our home and we enjoy delicious food.

How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?

The idea for Oregrown hit me when I was standing in a driveway in Portland with the other original Oregrown Co-Founder Justin Crawn. I have been medicating with cannabis for over half of my life and I have a deep love and appreciation for the plant. Prior to us founding Oregrown, Justin was my medical grower for years cultivating the best cannabis I have ever seen in my life. Once the laws started changing in this country I knew it was time to step in and show the world what Oregon has to offer. Justin and I founded Oregrown in 2013 and we haven’t looked back since. We are constantly inspired by increased patient access to this medicine and making sure that everybody that wants to try our products, actually can.

How long did it take for you to become profitable?

I wouldn’t exactly say that Oregrown is “profitable.” The company is in a tremendous growth phase and every penny that is made is re-invested. Having an 84-acre farm for production is a tremendous asset that allows us to continue to invest in our vertically integrated model. In addition, Oregon is aggressively seeking out retail expansion opportunities, so “profitable” isn’t really a word that I would use to describe the company right now.

When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?

There’s always a fear that an idea or a business won’t work or won’t gain any traction in the marketplace. Entrepreneurs need to be comfortable dangling on a branch that may break at any minute. It’s simply part of the game. Luckily, after several failures, I became a bit less worried about failing. As great men before me have said “Fail Early. Fail Often.” If you can get that worry out of your head, running and growing a successful business becomes second nature. Especially if you love what you’re doing.

What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?

Marketing is an art form. Verbiage, content,and strategy all shine through when consumers are viewing your marketing attempt. Whether it’s classic radio, print or digital ads, or new forms of guerrilla marketing, consumers are extremely sensitive when it comes to them being sold on new products and services. Still, to this day, the best way to generate new business is to simply run a good business. Word-of-mouth is extremely powerful. People talk to each other and recommend businesses and brands that they trust. You can spend millions on an annual advertising budget, but if your business isn’t trusted by the public, word will travel fast and you’ll find it won’t take long for consumers and your community to abandon you.

What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?

I’ll use a Steve Jobs quote for this one: “People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.” ~Steve Jobs

What do you think it is that makes you successful?

My drive, ambition and desire to change the world. I wake up everyday with a great passion to enhance the way in which we live. To increase access to the best medicine in the world, to make it so people have a choice between pharmaceutical drugs and natural cannabis options. I want to see and be a force of positive change and light in this world.

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

To this day, my most satisfying moment in business has been when the State of Oregon first awarded us our first State Cannabis License. The date was August 11th, 2014 to be exact.

What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?

I’m most excited about federal cannabis laws changing, fair banking and taxation for cannabis businesses, and state borders opening up. We continue to work tirelessly lobby all over the country and directly in Washington DC for these changes. Hopefully we see something come out of Washington DC soon. 

What business books have inspired you?

I’ll list a few great books that I love:

  • Rework by Jason Fried
  • Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance
  • Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
  • Zero to One by Peter Thiel
  • Eleven Rings by Phil Jackson

What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?

A fleet of brand new SSD iMacs from Apple 🙂

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