Colorado Inno – 2022 Colorado Inno Awards winner Vangst strives to maintain momentum – The Business Journals

Vangst is the winner of the 2022 Colorado Inno award in the Workforce category.
The cannabis hiring startup has been forced to get creative in order to support its clients during a difficult time for the cannabis industry, which has experienced the negative effects of a difficult economic environment. Despite the challenge, Vangst raised$19 million at the start of the year and plans to use the capital to fuel its growth.  
Location: Denver
Top exec: Karson Humiston, CEO
What inspired your business? I was still in my final year of college when I discovered that there was a disconnect between the number of jobs available in cannabis and available talent. This was back in 2015, when the only states with adult-use programs were Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska. The industry was still forming, and I saw the opportunity to be first to market with a cannabis-focused recruiting platform. I moved to Colorado the day after graduating to begin building Vangst and haven’t looked back since. When I started, I didn’t know a single person in the industry, [nor did I know] a single venture capital company.
What was Vangst’s biggest accomplishment this year? Our January $19 million Series B funding round.
 What about your biggest challenge? The cannabis industry is having a rough year — it’s not immune to the challenges of the overall economy. As a company that serves the sector, we’ve had to double down on our efforts to focus on strengthening our existing relationships and verticals while at the same time working hard at building new partnerships. In hard economic times, hiring is one of the first things to go. We’ve had to think outside of the box to find innovative ways to support our clients, even when their hiring needs have slowed down.
Has being based in Colorado proved beneficial for the company? Despite the fact that nearly 20 states have legalized adult-use cannabis, and nearly all states have legalized the plant in some form, Colorado is still seen as a model for the rest of the country in many ways when it comes to developing state-regulated cannabis programs.
What are your goals for the next year? To continue to grow with this burgeoning industry and connect more great people with more great jobs at more great companies.
How does Vangst inspire its employees to innovate? Vangst operates on the premise that every employee can be creative in how they approach their role. Every employee has the autonomy to select their own schedule, build the processes that work best for them and to do it from wherever they’d like. We’ve found that offering our employees maximum flexibility in how they work increases their ability to innovate. At Vangst, ideas are escalated and explored to vet if they work. If they do, we keep them; and if they don’t, we try something new.
Colorado Inno Awards Workforce finalists:
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