COLORADO: While the tech industry soldiers on mightily in search of disruptive, game-changing, TED-worthy apps, SaaS platforms, and amplified monetization plays, a few brave souls have taken the proverbial off-ramp in search of the next big thing. Experts estimate that the highly fragmented $2.3 billion US legal cannabis industry will increase to $10.2 billion by 2018.
Tom Bollich, the artificial intelligence-savvy robotics engineer who co-founded Zynga, is betting on that boom. As director and CEO of Surna Inc., he’s gone from virtual goods in Farmville to a pure play on explosive growth in the cannabis industry. Bollich’s Surna produces water-chilled climate control systems, designed for legal marijuana growers but applicable to other hydroponic agriculture needs.
Why would a whiz kid who grew Zynga to a $10 billion market valuation make the pivot from a gaming industry to the promise of the cannabis industry? I contacted him in a written interview, and the explanation is more naturally progressive than you might think.