Dhar Mann

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Dhar Mann
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Dharminder Mann

(1984-05-29) May 29, 1984 (age 40)
CitizenshipUnited States of America
Partner(s)Laura Avila

Dhar Mann (born May 29, 1984) is an American entrepreneur. In 2010, Mann and stock broker Derek Peterson garnered national attention for founding weGrow, a company which sold hydroponics marketed for growing medical marijuana. weGrow was closed two years later amid lawsuits between the business partners. In 2018, he founded Dhar Mann Studios, which produces short films for social media such as YouTube.

Early life and career

Dharminder Mann was born May 29, 1984,[1] the son of Surinder and Baljit Singh, who emigrated from India to the United States.[2][3] Mann's parents own Friendly Cab, a taxi cab operator based in Oakland, California, and are known for their donations to local politicians.[3][4][5] The East Bay Express reported in 2015 that the Singh family owned an "extensive portfolio of real estate in Oakland".[6]

Mann recalls growing up in a one-bedroom San Francisco Bay Area|Bay Area apartment that was shared with three other families. As his parents were focused on managing their company, rather than "give me their time, they gave me money to do things." At the age of nineteen, he started a real estate company, and founded other, often failed, companies within the decade,[2] including ventures in luxury car Car rental|rental services and mortgage refinancing.[7]

weGrow and legal issues

Mann founded weGrow, a retailer of cannabis-growing hydroponics, with former stock broker Derek Peterson in January 2010. Mann and Peterson rented a supply store in Oakland, California|Oakland, California to sell hydroponics equipment, and aimed to open franchises in eight other states.[2][8]

In early 2011, the weGrow store was closed, with Peterson filing lawsuits against the company citing unpaid debts[2] and accusing Mann of running a "hydroponzi scheme" in an Mother Jones (magazine) interview.[9] A spokesman for Mann subsequently accused Peterson of fabricating the allegations in retaliation for Mann's decision to downsize their partnership,[9] and Mann successfully countersued Peterson for a cash settlement and stocks in Peterson's own company.[2]

Fraud charges

In 2012, Mann was charged with thirteen felony counts of fraud for allegedly defrauding a city beautification program while operating his real estate company MannEdge Properties.[10][11] Prosecutors reduced the sentence to five felony counts in August 2013, and later that year Mann pled no contest to the five counts.[4] He was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay a $10,000 fine and restitution.[12] Mann told The New York Times in 2021 that the conviction was later expunged.[2]

Dhar Mann Studios

Mann founded video production company Dhar Mann Studios in 2018. The studio produces films for social media such as YouTube.[2][13] When Mann started a YouTube channel in 2018, its output comprised Motivational speaker|motivational videos, and the channel's focus later shifted to morality plays.[14] In 2021, Mann started a contract with the Creative Artists Agency.[13]

Ezra Marcus of The New York Times describes how Mann's YouTube videos present "timely narratives about police-calling Karen (slang)|Karens and Covid-19 hoarders" through the lens of "1980s after-school specials and the educational short films of the ’50s". Marcus criticized the often "thin and absolutist" moral philosophy of his videos and noted the usage of blatantly clickbait titles.[2] Lawrence Burney of Vulture (website) noted the "feel-good" nature of Mann's videos and their intent to "encourage people to be decent to one another."[15]

Personal life

In 2014, Mann was in a relationship with businesswoman Lilly Ghalichi, known for participating on the reality television series Shahs of Sunset.[16][17] Mann met his fiancée Laura Avila in 2015. Together, the couple manage LiveGlam, a cosmetics company that Mann founded in 2015.[2] The couple had their first child in 2020. Later that year, they purchased a mansion in Calabasas, California previously owned by media personality Khloé Kardashian.[18]


  1. Mann, Dhar [@dharmann] (May 29, 2021). "Today's not only special because it's my 37th bday- it's also the 3-year anniversary of Dhar Mann Studios. I'm not always the best at describing my feelings, but from what I've been told I am pretty good at telling stories. [Read more on my Instagram]" (Tweet). Archived from the original on May 29, 2021. Retrieved September 3, 2021 – via Twitter.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 Marcus, Ezra (August 19, 2021). "The Moral Philosopher of YouTube". The New York Times. Retrieved August 23, 2021.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Matier, Phillip; Ross, Andrew (April 28, 2014). "FBI agents' sting tried to lure more S.F., Oakland officials". SFGate. Retrieved September 3, 2021.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Artz, Matthew (December 10, 2013). "Oakland "ganjapreneur" pleads no contest to fraud charges". Oakland Tribune. Archived from the original on December 15, 2013. Retrieved September 3, 2021.
  5. Harkinson, Josh (December 11, 2013). "How a local "Ganjapreneur" bummed Oakland's high, and cheated the city out of thousands". Mother Jones (magazine). Retrieved September 3, 2021. The scion of a wealthy taxi monopolist and a major local political donor...
  6. BondGraham, Darwin (April 24, 2015). "Oakland Taxicab Family Hit with $37,500 Fine for Defrauding Oakland". East Bay Express. Retrieved September 3, 2021.
  7. Harkinson, Josh. "Weedmart: Marijuana Superstores. IPOs. Reality TV". Mother Jones (magazine). No. January/February 2011. Retrieved September 4, 2021.
  8. McLean, Kate (July 18, 2010). "Proposal for Marijuana Factories Prompts a Battle for Control". The New York Times. Retrieved September 2, 2021.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Harkinson, Josh (March 1, 2011). "WeGrow's "Joint Venture" Goes Up in Smoke". Mother Jones (magazine). Retrieved September 4, 2021.
  10. Bulwa, Demian; Kuruvila, Matthai (May 18, 2012). "Oakland pot entrepreneur charged with fraud". SFGate. Retrieved September 2, 2021.
  11. "Indicted Oakland Pot Entrepreneur Leaned on Political Relationships". NBC Bay Area. September 6, 2012. Retrieved September 2, 2021.
  12. Tucker, Jill (February 1, 2014). "'Ganja-preneur' of Oakland sentenced, fined $10,000". SFGate. Retrieved September 3, 2021.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Vlessing, Etan (April 7, 2021). "Filmmaker Dhar Mann Signs With CAA (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved September 3, 2021.
  14. Kaiser-Schatzlein, Robin (4 August 2021). "The Internet Demands Uplifting Videos. So He Stages Them". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved 6 September 2021.
  15. Burney, Lawrence (March 3, 2021). "Watching YouTube Through My Daughter's Eyes". Vulture (website). Retrieved September 3, 2021.
  16. Johnson, Zach; Sobol, Beth (April 4, 2014). "Shahs of Sunset's Lilly Ghalichi Engaged to Entrepreneur Dhar Mann—But Will She Keep the Ring?". E! Online. Retrieved August 23, 2021.
  17. Webber, Stephanie (December 19, 2014). "Lilly Ghalichi, Dhar Mann Split: Shahs of Sunset Star Ends Engagement". E! Online. Retrieved August 23, 2021.
  18. McClain, James (November 3, 2020). "Khloe Kardashian Sells $15.5 Million Calabasas Mansion to Dhar Mann". Variety (magazine). Retrieved August 23, 2021.

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