Award winning CEO and founder Jeppe Krog Rasmussen combines a relentless passion for making the world better, with the courage to seek out problems, as he leads DanCann Pharma A/S to redefine how the world views cannabis driven medicine.
What do rocket science, artificial intelligence and cannabis all have in common? They are key aspects of how DanCann Pharma A/S and its inspirational CEO and founder, Jeppe Krog Rasmussen, are planning to make the lives of millions around the world better.
When you talk about an industry that is due to triple in global market value in just seven years and is causing disruption to two of the largest sectors the world has ever seen, you know you are talking about something special – and that’s the potential of the medical cannabis market – something special.
Over the past decade, the prevalence of cannabis as a medical treatment has been growing the world over. The number of products available is growing rapidly, as is the availability and there is growing support from the medical industry and patients. This is leading to forecasts that the European cannabis market alone will be worth over €115 billion by 2028.
DanCann Pharma A/S was recently listed on the Spotlight Stock Market (Copenhagen and Stockholm) and their IPO was heavily oversubscribed – over four times in the public aspect. Not bad when you consider other brands who have had oversubscribed IPOs include the likes of Facebook, Alibaba and Visa.
The well-established healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors are, in the most part, struggling to come to terms with the potential of cannabinoids. Disruptors like DanCann Pharma have been able to gain impressive investment by combining innovative ways of working with an unrelenting focus on their purpose to make things better for the user.
It is this purposeful mission that drives 25 year old CEO and founder Jeppe Krog Rasmussen. Business Worldwide Magazine spoke with Jeppe to learn more about how he balances the challenges involved in leading a rapidly growing business into the unknown.
So Jeppe, we’d love to ask you about your own story. You’re obviously much younger than most CEOs of stock listed companies – how did you end up in this position?
It’s an interesting question. There are those who would argue that a CEO has to have decades of experience working in organisations and a range of academic qualifications to be taken seriously, but for me, a leader is there to inspire, to motivate and to challenge everyone in the organisation to be hungry for improvement.
I believe that whilst there can be great value in education, school and college, these should go hand in hand with trusting one’s own instinct, having a relentless drive to learn and following your passions.
I think too often people keep doing the same thing because they say to themselves “Well that’s the way it’s always been done, so I guess we should just keep doing it in the same say”. I find that terrifying. A leader shouldn’t be the person who is expected to come up with all the ideas or answers. The role of a leader is to create an environment where people are supported and encouraged to come up with excellent ideas together, and it’s this philosophy which, I believe, has led me to being a successful young entrepreneur and innovator.
Do you ever worry that you don’t have years of experience in running a business in such a complex industry?
That’s another a good question. My focus, and my value, comes from a range of areas. If we look around us, the organisations that succeed are those that are able to find the balance between embracing innovation, technology and don’t lose sight of either their purpose or their end user.
You don’t need to be 50 years old to do that. In fact I would argue that too many older companies have lost sight of their purpose and fail to do enough to understand their users.
For me it’s crucial that all of us at DanCann truly believe that we can make a difference in the world. We can, and we do! I try to live this every single day and set myself the challenge of being an example to the rest of the organisation.
So why the medical cannabis industry?
I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when I was five years old and have had first-hand experience of the pharmaceutical industry from a patient point of view for 20 years now.
I think it was being on this side of the industry for so long that meant I kept asking myself how I could get make things better for patients. There are some wonderful people in the medical and pharma worlds of course, but as industries, the patient is far too often not seen as the priority.
I had been tracking the investment opportunities and trends in the cannabis market for a few years and when the Danish Government started their Medical Cannabis Pilot Programme I knew that I could get involved or watch from the sidelines – I don’t like to sit back and watch.
That’s an interesting story. What is it that DanCann does differently then?
Well from one point of view, we’ve embraced technology to ensure that we’re finding effective, efficient and reliable production methods to produce the highest grade products.
We’ve leveraged the potential of artificial intelligence for example and combined it with best practices when it comes to clean room environments to allow us to create a production process that consistently and safely delivers the highest quality products for the patient.
So is everything about technology at DanCann?
Far from it. The technology is important, but tech without the right people and the right purpose would achieve nothing.
I’m a big believer in the power of working towards something that is much bigger than ourselves. I was speaking earlier about the value that I feel I bring to the team and this is a part of it – I am relentless about challenging myself to motivate and inspire every single member of the DanCann organisation.
For me, that purpose is all about making the world a better place. We have the power to make the everyday experience of millions of people better. That’s an incredible opportunity and a huge responsibility at the same time.
And how do you inspire your people to achieve such a grand mission?
It’s going to sound strange but you have to find a balance between passionate optimism and a relentless desire to find problems.
That second part surprises people, but I truly believe that successful companies are the ones who have the courage to take an honest look at themselves and search for the problems, the errors and the bad news.
If you can have that hunger for reflection and that bravery to seek opportunities to improve as part of your DNA – and not just when things aren’t going well – then you are creating a culture that is comfortable with change and development.
And finally Jeppe, what’s next for DanCann?
Where to start?! Well the United Nations made a big announcement in December 2020 that is going to make things exciting. Following recommendations from the World Health Organisation, the UN removed cannabis from the list of most dangerous drugs. This should lead to significant growth opportunities in our industry which we’re looking to lead on thanks to our vertical integration and significant partnerships.
For me, it all comes back to that Steve Jobs quote:
“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
We’re pretty crazy at DanCann Pharma and we’re determined to use that to change our world and that of our users too.
DanCann Pharma challenge the status quo when developing and supplying medical cannabis, focusing on environment, consistency and quality. For further information regarding medical cannabis, its capacity for health and self-healing, plus updated news on this innovative Danish organisation, please visit https://www.dancann.com