Athlete-Empowered Mendi Aims to Disrupt the CBD Industry

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The Cannabidiol (CBD) market is sprouting like a well-tended cannabis plant. Research indicates that the CBD market could skyrocket to $22 billion in revenues by 2022.

For the uninitiated, CBD is one of 113 identified cannabinoids in cannabis plants and accounts for up to 40% of the plant’s extract. CBD is the non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant. Unlike the chemical compounds found in Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD assists with conditions ranging from anxiety to MS to everyday muscle soreness without the high.

Lingering stigmas surrounding CBD are being tossed out the window as evidenced by CBD products like bath soaps and body lotions being readily available at major retailers like Whole Foods.

It also helps when startups, like Portland-based Mendi, combine tenacity, passion, and star power to alleviate aches and pains for athletes ranging from weekend warriors to WNBA and Olympic legends.

CBD Benefits

Former professional soccer player and Mendi CEO Rachael Rapinoe has surrounded herself with a lean team of cannabis experts dedicated to dissolving CBD stigmas while improving people’s lives via Mother Nature’s plant-derived gift.

CBD health benefits include improved sleep, relieving sore muscle, reducing anxiety and depression, alleviating cancer-related symptoms like nausea, and treating acne. Unlike its THC counterpart, customers needn’t worry about complicated smoking apparatuses or infringing upon federal law.How legal is CBD? You can purchase Mendi anywhere in the United States for doorstep delivery and bring it along on domestic flights.

The Mendi Strategy

Mendi currently sells its products only on its website, eschewing third parties like Amazon to maximize revenue and customer experiences. Available to any customers seeking pain relief, Mendi charged out the gate last year with ambassadors like Rachael’s twin sister, National Women’s Soccer League, United States national team, and Olympic gold-medal-winner Megan Rapinoe along with three-time champion and future WNBA Hall of Fame star Sue Bird.

The most popular products are topicals like the No THC Salve Stick. Sore knee from weightlifting? Rub it with salve. Hurt your lower back while moving? The salve stick has your back — literally. With its proprietary blend of terpenes and all-natural ingredients, Mendi’s Night Tincture is said to help customers sleep more soundly.

It’s not a stretch to envision a future marketplace where products like CBD salve sticks are tossed into gym bags as readily as towels, water bottles, and kinesiology tape.

“We really champion and advocate for the long-term health and well-being of athletes. That’s our number one goal for sure,” Rachael said from her Portland home office. “And in doing so, we are disrupting a lot of things about the sports and cannabis industry because we are female-led, we’re very out and loud and proud about being pro-equality and equity in everything we do whether it’s a female CEO or two female and gay co-founders. We intentionally came to market investing in women first. We believe we have to actually invest in women’s sports and female athletes if we want to see the same return that we see in men.”

What’s Next on the Schedule

As part of its disruptive strategy, Mendi expanded into male sports for the first time this summer when The Premier Lacrosse League named it the Official CBD Partner of the PLL Championship Series.

Rachael hopes the momentum will help the company dovetail on the $800,000 seed round raised in 2019 for a Series A in late 2020.

“I’d love to do a Series A round in the fall or winter,” Rachael concluded. “I’ll probably start fundraising again in October at the latest, so tell people to keep an eye out.”

Andy Coffaro

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