Interview with Alexej Pikovsky, CEO of Alphagreen Group

Alex’s response to our first question was better than the introduction we planned, so here it is “Alphagreen is the result of a love for health and well-being merged with a passion for technology and innovation. We created Alphagreen to provide global access to reliable and effective CBD and alternative healthcare products. Our goal is to provide our customers with the most effortless shopping experience, from making informed buying decisions to following up and ensuring that they get the most out of our products. Our team’s mission is to support people and their health journeys along every step of the way and in all walks of life”.

How did the founding of Alphagreen come about? In a past life, I was a semi-professional water polo player. In order to excel, I started reading about supplements and nutrition as a natural way of performance optimisation, and it quickly turned into a passion of mine. I learned so much about naturally-derived health-boosters, and I saw the effects that the right products had on my cognitive and physical functions.

As I made the transition from athlete to investment banker, I continued to watch the alternative healthcare space, with a particular interest towards medical cannabis and CBD, which showed promising results in clinical trials and experience reports, respectively. I moved into venture capital and private equity and grew a network of entrepreneurs and industry experts. The itch to launch a project that I truly care about became overwhelming during a 3-week trip to Canada and California, in September of 2019. It was there that I met with cannabis growers, suppliers, and manufacturers, and explored first-hand the properties and potential of the plant, both in the clinical field and the more widely legal form of CBD.

I did a lot of background reading and research into the industry and the market in Europe, and I quickly became frustrated with the lack of dependable information and products that didn’t fulfil their claims. Cannabis culture has been around for years, but it has only recently entered the mainstream, so there are a lot of companies that are abusing the space to make a quick buck, and that is counteractive to the entire movement, which is still working hard to destigmatize cannabis as a whole. I knew this would be a labour of love in more ways than one, and that I would need help to build this platform that I had in mind. I reached out to Viktor Khliupko, an old friend and e-commerce development expert. He is the co-founder and CTO of Alphagreen, and we would not exist without his experience and know-how. His love of tech, fitness, yoga and meditation also made him just the man for the job. What has Alphagreen done to date?

Bootstrapping the idea initially, we went on to raise capital from several well-known tech entrepreneurs and angel investors. We are very fortunate to also have Europe’s leading cannabis fund, Enexis, backing us and making introductions to exciting and legitimate CBD brands such as EMAAC and Dragonfly. Thanks to our growing network, we also have a highly knowledgeable panel of advisors and industry experts supporting us. In less than 3 months, we have already set up dropshipping and affiliate agreements with 84 brands, including the most popular health supplement producers such as Endoca, Naturelo and Erbology. We started with CBD products, but the demand for more complementary healthcare products was so high from both the consumer side and brands wanting to join our cause, that we were able to grow our product offering very quickly since our site launched in February. Why is now the time for self-care?

The word health is often associated only with physical well-being, but it should be considered from a holistic point of view. A healthy mind and spirit support a healthy body, and vice versa. Mental health has always been a prevalent topic that has generally been attached to certain stigmas, and there was reluctance in having open conversations surrounding the subject.

The outbreak of COVID-19 has understandably seen an increase in conditions such as anxiety and depression coming to light and opening up a dialogue without judgement has become more important than ever. Of course, maintaining physical health is just as important, it’s a 360-degree approach. Our products help to facilitate a healing process both inside and out, but we also believe in building a community.

How do you see the CBD/Medical marijuana market developing?

The fundamentals of the cannabis space and plant-based healthcare space have become even stronger in the last few months. At the same time, the industry is going through a moment of renewal and reset with many of the big names really struggling and potentially a lot of these companies not being around in 1-2 years from now. This brings a big opportunity for European players who started much later than the Canadian and US ones, but who are learning the lessons from overseas and can benefit from that. There are so many opportunities in the wellness, medical, and recreational spaces, though the latter is still dependent on legislative changes.

We are applying these observations from the get-go, as our e-commerce infrastructure is built to scale and we drive traffic and orders directly to brands who then do the fulfilment, which means that we never hold any inventory and can work with a lot more brands. In turn, this provides customers with a wide choice of hand-selected products that they may not have discovered otherwise. We audit all the brands we work with and only after receiving their lab reports and certificates, and them passing a level of customer reviews and scores, we award them the seal of Alphagreen Selection. The medical cannabis market is predicted to reach 50bn Euro in Europe by 2028, taking into account the wellness and medical sectors, and if you include other alternative healthcare products, the market is even larger, potentially upwards of 11 trillion dollars by 2022.  We are doing our part not to dilute the culture that is at the heart of all of this, to keep our customers educated and informed and continue to support the movement and its growth.

What does the future hold for Alphagreen?

We are growing exponentially and addressing a big need in society, which is at the heart of our business. We are adding new brands and products to our roster and working on expanding the ways to give our customers the quality and service they deserve. We are working on rolling out a B2B offering in addition to our B2C product, a subscription service, thematic bundles and personalisation based on a quiz. While always thinking how to improve the customer experience, we are also adding services for brands we work with such as analytics and digital marketing services. We want the whole ecosystem to grow and help millions of people with better access to high quality products.