It only took five years for two brothers-in-law to create a billion-dollar, award-winning, take-no-prisoners cannabis company called HEXO. How did they do it? That’s the story.
From early roadblocks and devastating personal and financial setbacks to explosive growth and some of the biggest cannabis deals in global history, Billion Dollar Start-Up not only recounts the HEXO story but the history of Canada’s momentous road to legalization.
In this part fast-paced memoir, part high-octane business book, writer and journalist Julie Beun gives us an intimate look at the life of a start-up and the ferocious entrepreneurial drive it takes to succeed — written in real-time, as the story unfolded.
Throughout history, there have been fewer than 100 Canadians who have started a company and lived to see it become worth one billion dollars. Adam Miron and Sébastien St-Louis are two of them. This is their story.
4:21 p. m., January 22, 2018
Somewhere in Gatineau, Quebec
“Hey. What’s up?”
What is up is that Ottawa is in the depths of one of its hellacious blizzards.
Adam Miron is on the speaker in his car, headed down Autoroute 50 out of the Gatineau farmland around Masson-Angers and back to his home in central Ottawa. But, being Canadian and given that a blizzard is a weekly occurrence from December to March, he is on the phone with his colleague Julie Beun, speeding a little in his clapped-out Mazda 3 and doing business anyway. In this instance, however, there’s something electric in his voice.
“Yeah. How are you? I’m good. You got a minute?”
Small talk is not Adam’s strength when he’s excited, so he blows past waiting for an answer.
“Listen, I just have to tell someone. Today is the day we became a billion-dollar company. Any way you cut it . . . we have 218 million fully diluted shares outstanding at $4. 95. That’s $1. 08 billion. Today is the day. ”
She can tell he is grinning down the phone.
“We did it. ”
“A story of two young men with an insatiable thirst for success and learning is compelling in itself. The ‘Billion Dollar Lessons’ that punctuate the story are essential reading for any budding entrepreneur who aspires to start the next billion-dollar company. ” — Michael Henry, Dean, School of Business & Economics, Thompson Rivers University
“How fun to now get a behind-the-scenes peek at the phrenetic growth of HEXO against the backdrop of cannabis legalization. It’s an entrepreneur’s dream … on steroids!” — Trina Fraser, partner, Brazeau Seller Law, CannaLaw® group
“Two young Canadians saw a business opportunity and threw themselves into it. Their story is one of hard work, high energy, endless ingenuity, and above all, persistence. Canada's budding entrepreneurs can be inspired by the path blazed by Adam and Seb. ” — Dalton McGuinty, Ontario's 24th Premier
“A fascinating tale of two young entrepreneurs navigating through an ocean of complex health regulations, filled with finance sharks and storms of uncertainty. One of the few true success stories in the frantic new cannabis business. ” — Tristan Péloquin, cannabis beat reporter, La Presse
“A front-row seat to the frenzy that drove Canada's cannabis industry to half the market capitalization of the country's gold mining industry. Compelling reading with real-world lessons you can actually use. ” — Steve Brearton, award-winning business journalist and writer