“Europe is seen as the next big market for cannabis”: Interview with Ludovic Rachou, co-founder of cannatech startup Rainbow

Cannabis culture and commerce continue to go mainstream and Rainbow is successfully breaking into the market. Founded in 2019 in Paris by five entrepreneurs, Rainbow has launched two wellness brands to help people relax thanks to the virtues of hemp and other adaptogenic plants.

An entrepreneur himself, Ludovic Rachou, is one of the co-founders of Rainbow. He brings his previous experience of launching two innovative confectionery brands, Onegum and Bonsai, into the new company, where he is now in charge of public affairs and sales. He had the opportunity to talk with him on their current stage of development, his opinion on the European cannabis market and next steps for Rainbow.

As a brief introduction to Rainbow, where did the idea originate and where are you standing at the moment? 

My co-founders and I already launched different businesses in the food and drinks sector such as OneGum (energy chewing gum) or Vai Vai (coconut water). We came across CBD and hemp as an ingredient early 2019. While trying to learn more about hemp and discovering its unique ecological properties and multiple applications, we discovered France was still one of the world’s biggest hemp producers and that hemp’s potential was largely unexploited. We launched Rainbow to address this untapped potential. Our mission is to launch consumer brands and products using hemp unique attributes. Our focus is on wellness and ecological solutions to modern problems.
You have recently launched two wellness brands in the UK and France, Kaya and Peace & Skin. Can you tell us more about your current product portfolio and do you have something else in your pipeline? 
Kaya is a UK-based brand with an extensive range of adaptogens and CBD products. We focus on innovative and efficient formats for food supplements such as natural chewing gum, gummies, capsules or adaptogenic oil. Peace & Skin, our cosmetics brand, also revolves around adaptogens and CBD. P&S will be launching in France mid-September with four products you can discover on the website. We’re also looking to expand into new ventures. Who knows, there might be a hemp marketplace or a project in the clothing industry coming out soon!
CBD is hitting new highs in the wellness world and we are witnessing an increase in CBD-based products that improve sleep, reduce pain & anxiety, enhance positive thinking etc. What makes Rainbow different from others in the cannabis space?
We strongly believe in the potential of CBD as a wellness ingredient. However, our brands go further than just CBD. We combine it with other adaptogens such as Ashwagandha or Maca root to enhance its properties and offer unique recipes suited to your needs. Furthermore, we’re working hand in hand with various CBD producers and hemp farmers throughout Europe to get a full understanding of our ingredients.
With the latest regulatory changes, Europe is becoming a new frontier of medical and wellness developments in the cannabis industry. What are your thoughts on the European cannabis market?
Europe is seen as the next big market for cannabis, especially for North American companies looking to expand. However, Europe is still fragmented in terms of regulation and consumer habits. This gives local brands a great opportunity to shine. Furthermore, with information on Cannabis and hemp products easily accessible, we believe the consumer is now well educated and searching for brands and experiences rather than just white labelled CBD products.
Do you see any big changes coming in the future of cannabis?
We believe that change is coming. It’s not a matter of “if” but a matter of “when”. Hemp, CBD and Cannabis are now recurring topics for politicians in France, UK, Germany and Eastern Europe… Hemp as a key role to play in the EU’s post Covid recovery plan. It’s good for the environment and has huge economic potential.
In June this year you closed a funding round of €1 million from private investors. What is next in line for Rainbow? 
After announcing our funding round, we’ve had a lot of interest from investors and companies from both North America and Europe. Especially since the Launch of Kaya, we were not expecting to have such traction online, we ran out of stock in the first week on a few SKUs! Although we’re currently focused on launching Kaya and Peace&Skin, we’re also looking to grow rapidly and have ongoing discussions to prepare the next steps.
What advice would you give to anyone looking to get into the cannabis space?
Forget about the hype and focus on your client. Cannabis might seem cool but it’s getting more professional by the minute, with large corporations entering the arena.

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