Former BlackBerry execs launch new cannabis vaporizer

3 mins read

From the Editor

Hi there,

After 14 years helping design smartphones for BlackBerry and another six running an independent product design and development house, Steven Fyke is now mere hours away from publicly launching his new life as a cannabis entrepreneur. 

The founder and CEO of Furna – named for the cannabis vaporizer it is launching Friday – spoke to The Chronicle about the challenges he faced during his years-long development process.

It is a fascinating story of innovation, beginning with a simple goal of keeping pocket lint out of a mouthpiece and ending with a vaporizer that not only achieved that goal, but also managed to solve a versatility problem that has long-plagued vaporizer users. (Teaser: Furna’s potential to have multiple ovens allow users to prepare more than one session in advance, share with friends without sharing germs, and easily switch between dried flower and concentrates) 

Not many cannabis startups dare venture into the hardware space – with its myriad regulations, complex supply chains and near-constant logistical issues. The story of Furna offers critical lessons for those with hardware ambitions…and a strong stomach.

Yours in pursuit of progress,

Volume 1: Issue 11

by Jameson Berkow

Keeping lint out of a vaporizer mouthpiece was a challenge. In creating the Furna vaporizer, Steven Fyke found a way to forever fix that issue while, at the same time, establishing an entirely new level of versatility of use. In his own words below, lightly edited for length and clarity and organized by subject, Mr. Fyke explains the process of building a unique cannabis startup.

Leaving BlackBerry 

I loved my time there. I was always looking ahead and always looked on to the next thing. Honestly, when the iPhone came out and people were saying we were crushed and we were doomed, I was excited about the opportunity.

Right up until the end I loved it because it was always a new challenge. We had found some really great [consumer-focused designs] but the senior leadership decided to double down on corporate entities and that was around the time when there was honestly nothing left for me to do at BlackBerry. 

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