Creating Connections Through Networking With Matthew Robidou of Raiden Labs

For as long as he can remember, Matthew Robidou has been a very curious person.

Therefore, it’s not surprising that the first time he tried cannabis, his interest was piqued and he knew he wanted to learn more. However, he had to put cannabis on the back burner when he joined the Marines back in 2014.

Five years later, when Robidou had finished his military service, he was finally ready to dive deeper into the world of cannabis.

“I started digging into the science behind it and at first, it was out of genuine curiosity,” Robidou said. “But the more I dug into it, the more positives I uncovered. I could see such a bright future for this industry and that’s what prompted me to start cultivating.”

Because cannabis wasn’t yet legal, that experience was a bit of an adventure in and of itself, but Robidou firmly believes that the only way you can truly learn something is by doing it. And once he got going, he knew he’d found his calling. 

“As I started cultivating more, I really just fell in love with the process of growing this plant from a seed into a final product that I can utilize for my benefit,” Robidou said. “Since then, it’s really become my primary medicine of choice. I was on a couple of different anti-anxiety medications that I ended up getting off of. That was kind of my catalyst for wanting to jump into the industry.”

At the time, the only legislation that was in place was the federal 2018 Farm Bill which allowed states to come up with their own hemp programs. Robidou started planning to get his hemp license and it led to more than a few a-ha moments. 

“I realized that cannabis is overall just very misunderstood,” he said. “And I also realized that if I could grow good hemp, I can easily grow marijuana and overall I can grow cannabis. That’s what prompted me to really jump into the hemp market and in November 2022, I formed Raiden Labs.”

Last summer, Robidou cultivated 850 outdoor plants, all of which were converted into THC. His gummy products should be hitting the shelves in the first few months of 2024. 

Looking back over the last five years, Robidou – who is currently attending the University of Minnesota for plant science – is pleased to say that attitudes about cannabis are continuing to evolve in a positive way.

“At first when the scene kind of started up in 2022, there was a lot of skepticism and things were very hush hush,” he said. “But since then, we’ve legalized recreational use of marijuana and even though we don’t have the retail markets up yet, we’ve just had a massive change here in Minnesota over the last three years. A lot of people have moved toward normalization and acceptance and the people that were maybe slightly against it are now neutral. And the people who were neutral or leaning slightly pro may have experimented and tried a little bit.”

[Note: To learn more about cannabis in Minnesota, click here]

As such, Robidou said, “you can really feel the whole market shifting” and the sales data indicates that more people are indeed getting comfortable with using cannabis.

“We’re kind of an epicenter for low-dose use,” Robidou said. “That’s where our market is kind of starting – at the lower end – which is interesting because it’s proven to open up the market of cannabis use to the newcomers who haven’t really used THC before. That’s a good thing because you’re able to start off at a very small dose rather than making the mistake of using too much and having a bad time.”

Robidou has been working hard to educate people on cannabis and its many benefits, which means he’s gotten pretty good at networking over the last few years. And whether you’re in the cannabis industry or you’re selling real estate, being able to connect with people is key to your success. If you’re looking to enhance your networking skills, here are a few of his thoughts and suggestions:

  • Be present and vulnerable at the events you attend: Rather than coming into a conversation and simply telling the other person what you’re doing and leaving it there, focus more on opportunities for collaboration and connection with the person you’re talking to. “I’ve made pretty massive strides from when I first started,” he said. “Since then, I’ve built a really strong support network. And a lot of that came from the vulnerability of expressing a desire to work with others and looking for ways that I could help them.” In other words, it’s OK to be bold and confident and to speak with authority, but at the same time, be willing to give back as much as you can. It will pay dividends in the future. 


  • Find your niche and focus on it: We’ve all heard the saying “jack of all trades, master of none.” You don’t want to be that person! Whatever industry you’re in, Robidou recommends finding your niche and doubling down on it. For example, he specializes in chemistry within plant science and there aren’t a lot of people who have a deep understanding of that topic. Therefore, he’s recently had a number of people reaching out to him about doing consulting work for them. “I’ve become that person where it’s like ‘this guy knows more than anyone else I’ve met about cannabis sciences,’” Robidou said. “That’s become my little niche.”


  • Get involved in a variety of groups: Talking to others within your industry is great, but it’s also a good idea to join groups that bring people of different professional backgrounds together. This way, you can get fresh perspectives and ideas that may translate well to what you’re trying to accomplish. 


  • Prioritize collaboration over competition: We all need a little bit of support now and then  and it’s totally OK to ask for it. That said, you have to put in the work if you want people to be there for you when you need them. Additionally, Robidou advises building relationships that are personally driven rather than financially motivated, but like we just said, those connections won’t happen overnight. Like cannabis, they have to be cultivated in order to grow. “You have to invest in your relationships,” Robidou said. “I’m at the point now where I have people I can go to and ask for help with marketing, web design and sales and it’s all because I forged good relationships.”


  • Keep showing up: Your tribe is out there, Robidou said, but you won’t find them if you’re sitting at home and waiting for them to come to you. Keep showing up and being consistent. “That’s the best piece of advice I got in the beginning,” he said. “And I’ve been following it to a T.”


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