Jeffrey Stewart was first introduced to cannabis at the age of 6 years old. Growing up, Jeffrey suffered from Epilepsy and would have three to four seizures a day. His parents tried giving him pills to comfort him and control his seizures, but when it wasn’t working, they turned to a natural remedy: cannabis. His parents would put the cannabis in his food and teas with hopes to heal Jeffrey, and just a few years later at the age of 9, Jeffrey had his very last seizure.
Fast forward to a few years later as a college student, Jeffrey decided he wanted to create a product that would optimize the experience of using cannabis recreationally or as a natural remedy. Jeffrey locked himself inside his dorm room for 15 days straight, brainstorming on different products, and then came up with the idea for his vaporizer product.
That curiosity and intense brainstorming led him to create Ovandi – a smart home vaporizer that integrates with products like Google Home or Amazon Alexa. “We’re designing a product that basically brings the technological experience of a smart home device to cannabis,”Jeffrey said, adding that the product will be marketed to those who are new to cannabis or simply new to vaporizing.”
Ovandi is also equipped with a small touch screen for users to navigate through settings to obtain their personal, optimal cannabis consumption. The settings will personalize each consumption experience by “controlling and optimizing temperatures” depending on what form or strain of cannabis the user desires.
“Our thought was: how can we lower the barriers to entry for those who know nothing about cannabis or who are brand new to vaporization? So, we designed an experience around doing that,” Jeffrey exclaimed.
For Jeffrey, taking a hit at the cannabis industry is a smart choice – the marijuana industry is expected to bring in $75 billion in sales by 2030, almost as much as the soda industry in North America.
Getting into this industry hasn’t been easy feat, especially because of the struggles that Jeffrey experienced trying to find funding. In an interview, Jeffrey talked about his funding struggles and indicated that while he has no evidence he’s been denied funding because of he is Black, he’s heard several “no’s” from investors that just didn’t sit right with him.
“They’ve said things like, ‘You don’t seem like the type of person I would invest in,’ ” he explained. “You don’t know if that ‘no’ is because the idea is bad or because you’re not liked for being who you are. It’s in the backs of minds of a lot of founders and people of color: Is someone denying me because they don’t believe in my vision, or is it because they don’t believe in me as a person?”
Nonetheless, despite his struggle in the beginning getting funding, Jeffrey was able to obtain a fellowship and get into an accelerator. Just a few years ago, Jeffrey was in Canada’s first cannabis business accelerator – Leaf Forward.
Ovandi is tentatively set to launch later around the late summer/early fall this 2019. However, you can pre-order your smart vape today by clicking here.