Chris Burggraeve — a former Coca-Cola and AB InBev marketing executive — found his way into the cannabis industry through an unconventional path: The corridors of New York University’s Stern School of Business.
After Burggraeve left AB InBev in 2012, he turned to academia, teaching NYU master’s and MBA students around the world the ins and outs of marketing in the beverage industry.
Five years ago, it was craft beer, not cannabis, that was on Burggraeve’s radar.
But as Burggraeve taught, he said MBA and other high-level students began submitting proposals for his classes based on building businesses in the fledgling cannabis industry. “It piqued my interest,” Burggraeve said.
Then, in 2016, Punit Seth, a Stern MBA student, found Burggraeve after class.
“He pitched me the base idea of Toast — the back of the napkin story