Akerna Corp. (KERN) is crushing it in the company’s first days of trading at the NASDAQ Marketplace (NDAQ). The cannabis compliance software company is a combination of special purpose vehicle company MTech Acquisition Corp. and the software company known for its seed-to-sale tracking program MJ Freeway. The stock debuted on the exchange at $11.51 on Tuesday and was lately trading at $42.33.
The company is set to ring the closing bell at the exchange on Thursday. “This is a great day for Akerna and an honor to be the first data company in the cannabis space to ring NASDAQ’s closing bell,” said Jessica Billingsley, Chief Executive Officer of Akerna. “We listed on the NASDAQ just two days ago and believe we are well positioned to realize our vision to connect businesses with data and consumers with information which will modernize and propel the cannabis industry forward.”
At one point, it didn’t seem like NASDAQ would approve of the listing. The exchange has been reluctant to list cannabis companies and has only recently begun to ease up on Canadian-based cannabis companies like Organigram Holdings Inc. (OGI). Then it listed e-commerce company Greenlane Holdings Inc. (GNLN) which is known for selling smoking accessories. However, the majority of Greenlane’s online sales come from Juul tobacco pods and that seemed to give the NASDAQ comfort.
Akerna is considered an ancillary cannabis company. While it provides the software to track cannabis plants, the company doesn’t “touch the plant,” meaning it doesn’t cultivate or produce cannabis products. Billingsley said that the company is looking forward to expanding its markets. It is currently working in 29 of the 33 legalized states and is in 13 countries. The software is available in four languages. It works with two state governments and she hinted that a third may be announced soon.
The company is not only the first cannabis compliance technology company to list on the NASDAQ, but it is also the first cannabis company led by a woman to trade on the marketplace. Billingsley has been with the company from its early days and has navigated it through the rough waters of security breaches to come out on top as Akerna begins its life as a publicly traded stock.