Obvious Ventures makes CBD sporty with beam, which sells cannabis products to the GNC set

Athletes looking to take a break from all their worries over prescription painkillers and anyone who’s hankering to try out the new cannabinoid-based treatments for their conditions (without worrying about potentially getting dosed with some THC) can now turn to beam.

The Boston-based company founded by two former athletes (who were friends at Boston College) is pitching a product that’s 100% CBD sourced from hemp plants without any of the psychoactive ingredients that are found in tetrahydrocannabinol.

Matt Lombardi, a former minor league hockey player and serial entrepreneur, and Kevin Moran, who played baseball in the minors before taking an enterprise software sales job, launched the company back in 2018.

The longtime athletes both were intrigued by cannabis-based treatments and their possibility as an alternative to the chemically derived pain relievers and anti-inflammatories that could have severe side effects or result in addiction. But they also wanted products that would not be tainted with the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana that could cause problems for users in certain states.

So they developed a product set by working with multiple independent laboratories to ensure their products were free of leads, heavy metals and pesticides, the company said. That devotion to purity has led the company to sign agreements with fitness pros like Mat Fraser, Brooke Wells, Tia-Clair Toomey and Mikaela Mayer.

Beam Founders RMatt LKevin

Beam founders Matt Lombardi and Kevin Moran

The company currently sells three lines of products — cannabinoid-infused oils, which sell for anywhere from $60 to $140; a cannabinoid-infused salve that retails for $60; and protein bars with cannabinoid powders, which cost between $25 and $45. The bars, oils and salve can be sold in every state and ordered online, according to the company.

“At the high level we look at being a performance wellness company,” says Lombardi.

While the cannabis industry is still in its infancy, products infused with newly legal cannabinoids have been surging in the market recently. Not a day goes by that some startup isn’t launching a cannabis-infused brand touting its health and wellness benefits.

Beam looks to differentiate itself through its focus on testing and the purity of its products, along with an approach that’s aimed at the health and fitness market. There will be other products coming down the pike that will increase the company’s focus on tailoring its offerings to meet performance needs, says Lombardi.

“We’re launching some blend products that will be purpose-driven for different use cases,” he said. 

The company has also managed to land some venture capital backing to pursue its vision as Obvious Ventures came in to lead a $5 million seed round into the company.

“At Obvious, we believe that natural cannabinoids hold the promise for significant health benefits. We identified beam as a stand-out in a crowded landscape for their product innovation, rigorous focus on quality and ensuring zero THC content in those products and their amazing growth within the fitness community,” said Obvious co-founder James Joaquin, in a statement.

Obvious definitely has a recent track record of successful investments that point to an awareness of what’s on the horizon for consumers. The firm was an investor in Beyond Meat, whose launch has transformed the market for plant-based meat substitutes.

Joaquin sees another successful recent exit, from the portfolio company Olly, as the closest parallel to the thesis behind beam. “It’s very similar to the work that we did,” he says.

Olly, which had a line of health supplements, was sold to Unilever for an undisclosed amount earlier this year.

With the money in hand, beam is now thinking about the next phase of product development, which will be the launch of two different products — a daytime blend and a nighttime blend. The company intends to roll out additional functional products over time, says Lombardi.

AS Beam12182018389018 1