Technology Archives - Page 2 of 9 - Green Market Report

StaffOctober 8, 2021
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Green Market Report asked some of the top technology leaders in the cannabis industry for their thoughts on how tech is changing the cannabis world. Here’s what we learned:

Simplifya Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer Marion Mariathasan

   “Technology in every industry has enabled advancement to happen faster, and the cannabis industry is no different. Due to the fragmented regulatory environment, we knew remaining compliant would be a real challenge for businesses, but one that could be addressed through the creation of advanced technologies. We set out to take what was previously an archaic way of approaching compliance and developed software that would help cannabis entrepreneurs save time and money, drive efficiencies and create new opportunities. Beyond owners and operators, we also see technologies playing a vital role in how governments, regulatory bodies, insurers, cannabis-related banking and financial institutions also remain compliant under FinCEN Cannabis Banking Guidance. 

Whether it’s POS, data, commerce, social networks or compliance, technology continues to allow the industry to solve some of its most challenging problems while accelerating growth at a rapid rate. As Simplifya enters the multi-million dollar banking, financial and payment-related services sector, we plan to debut new software and advanced technologies that automates and simplifies mandated complex processes necessary to keep the industry moving ahead in a compliant way.” 

Marion Mariathasan is the CEO of Simplifya, the cannabis industry’s leading regulatory and operational compliance software platform. The company’s suite of products takes the guesswork out of confusing and continually changing state and local regulations. Featuring SOPs, badge tracking, document storage, tailored reporting and employee accountability features, the company’s Custom Audit software reduces the time clients spend on compliance by up to 45 percent. 

Marion is also a serial entrepreneur who has founded or advised numerous startups. He is an investor in 22 domestic and international companies, four of which he serves as a board member: Ceylon Solutions, a cannabis and non-cannabis software development company; Leafwire, the largest cannabis social network; ilios, a relationship app that matches users based on characteristics derived from astrology and numerology algorithms; and Simplifya. Marion is a regular guest speaker at events such as Denver Start-Up Week, Colorado University’s program on social entrepreneurship, and the United Nations Global Accelerator Initiative. 

 


Jushi Holdings Inc. Chief Creative Director Andreas “Dre” Neumann

“In the cannabis sector, digital consumers are in the driver’s seat. We believe technologies will continue to play a critical role, and that by taking the time to implement research, data and digital technologies, we have a competitive advantage. By constantly studying trends data, we foresaw that the digital and physical retail convergence would accelerate with the rapid growth of home delivery and express channels. Early on we were focused on ways to remove friction, build trust, and fine tune the entire customer experience. We use research data and technology-based omnichannel strategies to seamlessly serve the needs of the widest range of customers, and that really goes to the core of our ethos of improving peoples’ lives.

At a higher level, we’ve also integrated our data sources and spent time building out a custom data warehouse. This has not only helped us break down information silos, but has also allowed us to understand the business and our customers much more holistically. We plan to keep evolving with new technologies and programs that drive efficiencies in our retail experiences and operations. I’ve always been a big advocate for technological solutions — none of this would be possible without it — so for us, tech will be a priority for the future of Jushi and instrumental in defining the entire cannabis sector.”

In his role at Jushi, Dre and his creative team are charged with leading Jushi’s creative, marketing and communications efforts as well as ensuring the company’s successful entrance into e-commerce, cutting-edge digital user experiences and his efforts have already brought a tremendous amount of added value to the company and its shareowners. 

Dre is a serial entrepreneur who has founded numerous successful creative and technology companies and is a disruptive thinker, who before joining Jushi, served as the creative director and head of content for Idean, a leading global design agency that creates powerful digital experiences and uses design as a strategic tool to transform companies. He founded a partnership with British multinational communications and advertising agency network with 114 offices in 76 countries and over 6,500 staff, Saatchi & Saatchi UK, where he implemented creative strategies such as launching a branded content unit called Gum in an effort to reach more young people, who are increasingly tuning out traditional advertising. 

In addition to being a known and respected leader in the creative and technology arenas, Dre is known for his photography and work with artists such as Queens of the Stone Age, Iggy Pop, Foo Fighters, ZZ Top, Lenny Kravitz, and many others. He has also been cited as one of the world’s top rock photographers and will be featured in an upcoming documentary on Amazon scheduled to premiere in early 2021.

 

Navin Anand, Chief Technology Officer at springbig

“The cannabis industry is adopting native and cloud technologies at an ever increasing rate. Computing power has increased exponentially (at an affordable cost), so we all have supercomputers on hand, which helps development teams tackle AI/ML problems, predictive analysis, user segmentation, early fraud detection and more. Technology also has added tremendous value in the form of agri-tech, cloud evolution, and data science for improving this industry as a whole.

At springbig, we are leveraging technology to push the limits and capture trends that help our merchants achieve goals above and beyond 100%. The spingbig platform provides the ability for our partners to be in constant contact with end users. We have other offerings that provide numerous opportunities for improvement of user experience, instore, e-commerce and omni.”

Navin is the CTO of springbig, a leading provider in customer loyalty and text message communications solutions for cannabis retailers and cannabis brands. Founded in 2017, springbig offers a single source of truth CRM that becomes the database of record for in-store and online customers that captures key purchasing and behavioral data and seamlessly integrates with existing dispensary POS and eCommerce systems. Navin has over 15 years experience in software engineering including leading a team of 100 engineers at Verifone, one of the world’s largest multinational payment processing and POS solution providers. In his time at Verifone, Navin crafted solutions for blue-chip brands including McDonalds, YUM Brands, and Visa.

Navin is recognized as a data-driven leader and problem solver who is able to streamline the software engineering delivery and QA process through advanced systems automation and project management, reducing time to delivery and aligning various IT sub-departments into a common system that speak the same language.

 

 

 

Cathy Corby Iannuzzelli, Co-Founder and Chief Payments Officer at KindTap

“As a fintech company in the cannabis space, we can wholeheartedly say that technology is shaping the future of the industry with the consumer at the forefront of the conversation. From convenience to compliance and now even our credit payment option with loyalty points, advances in technology are bringing the consumer the best experience possible while still keeping all the backend bells & whistles legally sound.”

Cathy Corby Iannuzzelli is a payments executive with extensive experience in prepaid, debit, credit, and emerging payments and broad and deep knowledge of issuing and acquiring sides of the market. In 2019, Cathy joined KindTap, a fintech company with a team that was focused on the same cannabis payments problem she spotted a few years back. Together in September 2021, they formally launched KindTap and are the first company to bring a credit payment option to the cannabis industry. 

KindTap launched first to the Massachusetts market and will hit multiple US markets, including Florida, Maine, and New York by the end of 2021, bringing consumers immediate, revolving credit lines for upfront cannabis purchases and allowing merchants to seamlessly accept digital credit payments.  About 3 years ago while working for a client in Denver, Cathy became aware of how broken payments were in cannabis. Broken isn’t even the right word – payments simply didn’t exist in the cannabis market. Cathy’s pioneering spirit kicked-in and she refocused her consulting to the cannabis segment. 

 

 

 

Socrates Rosenfeld, Co-founder & CEO of Jane Technologies

“Our goal at Jane has always been to provide value for the entire ecosystem; we want customers to make informed purchasing decisions, and we want sellers to succeed. As the largest e-commerce platform in North American cannabis, the digitization of the industry has allowed us to keep the industry in line with the mainstream, allowing shopping for cannabis to be as accessible as shopping online for everything else in the world, all while ensuring an even playing field for brands and dispensaries.”

Socrates Rosenfeld is the Co-Founder and CEO of Jane Technologies. Socrates began using cannabis as a way to re-acclimate to civilian life upon return from active duty, but found himself questioning the origins of cannabis since it was illegal at the time. Fast forward to today and Socrates is now the founder and CEO of Jane Technologies- the e-commerce solution for legal cannabis retailers and brands. He holds a B.S. in Leadership & Management Studies from the United States Military Academy at West Point Academy and an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management. He is a U.S. Army Veteran and previously served as a commander of an Apache helicopter company. 

 


Julie AitchesonSeptember 23, 2021
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The power of the social media influencer has evolved from a curiosity of internet culture to a fixture of the modern-day marketplace, and one that brands across sectors ignore at their peril. Brands that are having their social media pages deleted for content violations are now relying on influencers to help market their products, and cannabis brands are no exception. Instagram, which is owned by Facebook (NASDAQ: FB), in particular, has a low tolerance for the marijuana industry, freely deactivating or restricting accounts dedicated to cannabis content where there has been a perceived breach of terms of service or user complaints. But on Instagram perhaps more than anywhere else online, the influencer reigns supreme—a reality that is helping to keep marijuana companies in the social media spotlight.

Over the past year, brands like Canndescent, Papa & Barkley, Hervé, and cannabis subscription box service Nugg Club have utilized influencers to promote their products, to great success. Nugg Club in particular has worked with over 1200 influencers since July 2020, and 700 influencers so far in 2021. Cannabis companies are tapping influencers from a range of demographics, including mommy bloggers, eccentric performers like Kimmy Tan, and food bloggers who are a good match for their brands in order to flog their products. Consumers are watching, and spending, accordingly. Influencers have a ready-made platform and attentive audience, with recent studies showing that social media influencers have 16 times higher engagement rates than paid media and media-owned alternatives. Social media sites tend to be more lenient with individual content, which makes influencers an ideal adaptation to online regulations around promoting cannabis.

With a billion monthly users, Instagram holds a lot of marketing potential for companies, as well as the power to deflate a campaign before it truly begins. Instagram is a major pipeline of information and communication for consumers, and when it closes that pipeline down due to brands attempting to sell or promote the sale of drugs on their pages, the disruption can be devastating. Cannabis companies are permitted to have a presence on the platform in order to raise awareness or talk about cannabis-related issues like legalization, but this can be a slippery slope towards inducing the sale of cannabis, linking to e-commerce sites that sell it, or baldly marketing products. These, at least on Instagram, are major no-no’s. 

Once an account is deleted it can be reinstated under certain circumstances, but the lapse in outreach capability can be the difference between a successful brand and a fail costing millions of dollars. Many companies have launched protests over inconsistencies in Instagram’s implementation of their terms of service, claiming a lack of clarity and specifics regarding what content is and is not allowed. Whether it is the rules themselves or the enforcement thereof that is inconsistent, the impact of social media silence on businesses and the trend towards tapping social media influencers to pick up the marketing slack is indisputable.


Debra BorchardtSeptember 14, 2021
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WM Technology, Inc., better known as Weedmaps  (Nasdaq: MAPS) is buying Sprout, a leading, cloud-based CRM & marketing platform for the cannabis industry. Weedmaps did not disclose the valuation of the deal. Sprout is a cannabis CRM and marketing software platform used by dispensaries and cannabis brands across the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Sprout’s cannabis CRM platform includes an entire suite of omnichannel marketing solutions including customer relationship management, text & email marketing, loyalty, mobile wallets, QR codes, mobile surveys, mobile coupons, advanced customer segmenting, and analytics.

“Our strategy focuses on establishing WM Business as the software solution of choice for cannabis businesses. With the addition of Sprout, we are one step closer to realizing this vision of providing an all-in-one seamless and integrated solution to run, manage, and grow one’s cannabis business,” said Chris Beals, CEO and Chairman of WM Technology, Inc. “This acquisition will allow our clients to better target, reach, acquire and retain customers at scale. I also want to welcome Jaret Christopher, Sprout’s exceptionally talented Founder and CEO, and everyone at Sprout to our team.”

WM Technology says its acquisition of Sprout reinforces the company’s end-to-end operating system as one of the most comprehensive software solutions available in the cannabis market today. WM Technology’s acquisition of Sprout will strengthen the company’s position between retailers and consumers in the legal cannabis industry.

“We’re incredibly excited to join WM Technology. We look forward to leveraging the breadth and scale of users, retailers and brands on the Weedmaps marketplace to accelerate the reach of Sprout as part of WM Business,” said Jaret Christopher, Founder and CEO of Sprout.

Sports Deal

Last month, Weedmaps announced a multi-year agreement with Kevin Durant and Thirty Five Ventures as well as a sponsorship deal with Boardroom. Weedmaps will become an official sponsor of Thirty Five Ventures’ sports business media network, Boardroom, as part of the agreement. In addition to its sponsorship agreement, Boardroom will collaborate with Weedmaps to produce an original content series, which is tentatively slated for debut in 2022. The multi-year agreement also comprises ongoing integrations with Boardroom, including: Out of Office podcast, development and distribution of original content, co-branded collaborations and events, exclusive merchandise, and more.

“As the largest technology provider in the sector, we are serious about our responsibility to lead the national discussion around cannabis and the need for cannabis regulations to be updated across the board,” said Chris Beals, Chief Executive Officer of Weedmaps. “This partnership with Kevin Durant, Rich Kleiman, and the team at Thirty Five Ventures is a pivotal step forward in our ongoing efforts to break down stigmas surrounding cannabis, especially in the sports industry.”


StaffSeptember 13, 2021
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Akerna (Nasdaq: KERN) is buying 365 Cannabis, a cannabis business management software system built on Microsoft’s Dynamics 365 Business Central in a $17 million deal at 2.1x LTM revenue. The deal will be paid with $4 million in cash and $13 million in stock with a potential earnout of $8 million. The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021.

“By adding 365 Cannabis into our Akerna ecosystem, we will continue to create new standards and best practices around compliance in every state, province, and country across the globe, standardize how the global supply chain is managed, and forge best practices in technology and hosting,” says Jessica Billingsley, Chief Executive Officer of Akerna. “The synergies between our two companies’ products and offerings will finally create all in one for the entire cannabis industry, on a global scale.”

365 Cannabis’ 85+ clients will gain access to Akerna’s Compliance Gateway, feature-rich reporting, MJ Retail POS, and the recently launched Akerna Connect. Cannabis 365 clients include Pharmacann, Nectar, Revolution, Sundial, Kiaro, and many others.

“As we combine our leading solutions built specifically for the ever-evolving cannabis industry, along with Akerna’s 80+ integrations through open APIs, we can now offer cannabis operators a full suite of products to optimize their businesses, improve overall functionality, and ultimately increase sales,” says Jeff Kiehn, Chief Executive Officer of 365 Cannabis. “With the combined team of over 200+ skilled employees including 30 + years of consulting experience, coupled with an unrivaled true ERP system and supporting technologies, our goal is to modernize and propel the cannabis industry throughout this rapid growth period and beyond.”

The two companies said in a statement that the acquisition will allow Akerna to deliver the broadest portfolio of ERP solutions for cannabis operators, covering access to a majority of the mainstream mid-market financial and tax planning market. It will offer cannabis operators a financial and tax planning system for each stage of their growth while realizing combined scaled synergies by maintaining regulatory compliance every step of the way through Akerna’s Compliance Gateway.


StaffSeptember 8, 2021
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Akerna, the parent company to MJ Platform, announced a new offering, Akerna Connect, this month.   

Akerna Connect is a mobile marketing platform for cannabis retailers that provides marketers with a suite of tools that are both effective and easy to use. Akerna Connect empowers operators with responsive online menus, mobile ordering, and loyalty rewards and enables them to communicate directly with consumers’ mobile phones and devices for a variety of different applications such as marketing campaigns and order reminders. 

Unlike many eCommerce offerings, Akerna Connect is designed to be customizable and brand-able so that the consumer accessing the dispensary/brand’s menu will only see the company’s branding, not “Akerna Connect” – furthering that company’s brand recognition with their consumer base.     

While POS systems like MJ Retail provide dispensaries with a smooth in-store experience, Akerna Connect gives them the ability to engage with customers after leaving the facility.  

For both the consumers shopping at dispensaries and retailers offering Akerna Connect, the software will keep them updated on store promotions, place orders online, and engage with staff in real-time. 

Dispensaries running the software have already seen success from the platform.   

“The tools that Akerna Connect provides our dispensary are game-changing. Akerna Connect is a central component of our marketing strategy that drives our foot traffic daily. We trust that our text messages and promos reach our customers’ phones when and how we expect them to, and the eCommerce tools help us provide a continuous brand experience after the customer leaves our building,” said Natalia Rivera, President of Emerald Cannabis Wellness Center.

 


Debra BorchardtSeptember 8, 2021
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Cannabis breathalyzer company Hound Labs, Inc. has raised $20 million from a variety of cannabis investment groups. Investors in the company include Entourage Effect Capital (EEC),  Intrinsic Capital, Benchmark, Icon Ventures, and Tuatara Capital. The company raised the funds in order to scale production of the HOUND MARIJUANA BREATHALYZER. Hound Labs says it has developed a patented and one-of-a-kind ultra-sensitive technology that is at the core of the company’s first commercial product.

“The groundbreaking breath testing technology created by Hound Labs provides a substantial competitive advantage to the Company,” said Dov Szapiro, Managing Partner at EEC. “The Hound Labs team has accomplished an impressive scientific achievement – precisely and consistently targeting one specific type of molecule out of the more than 3,500 different compounds found in breath. Not only are we excited about the immediate capabilities of the Hound breath technology to measure recent cannabis use, we are also excited about future applications that can detect pathogens such as SARS-CoV-2 or biomarkers for disease by changing the targeted compound.”

Cannabis use testing has been notoriously difficult. Unlike alcohol use, which is relatively easy to measure with traditional breathalyzers, cannabis consumers often show positive results long after actually consuming the product making traditional methods unreliable. Hound Labs says its product has been designed to isolate recent cannabis use by specifically measuring THC1 (the primary psychoactive ingredient in cannabis). The company noted that the ability to determine when an employee used cannabis is critical now that most adults in the U.S. can legally use recreational cannabis outside of work hours. While Amazon made news recently by saying it wouldn’t test employees for cannabis use, it specifically carved out drivers from that statement.

Hound Labs claims to be the only ultra-sensitive cannabis testing solution that identifies recent use that correlates with the window of impairment, allowing employers to keep employees who might otherwise test positive via conventional cannabis tests of oral fluid, urine, and hair.

“In order to manage our supply chain and meet demand for inventory, we have been reaching out to employers on our Wait List to understand the volumes required for our commercial units in 2022,” stated Dr. Mike Lynn, CEO of Hound Labs. “The response has been incredible. We are negotiating multi-million-dollar contracts with companies from a variety of industries who want to secure HOUND MARIJUANA BREATHALYZERS ahead of our 1Q22 commercial launch.”

The Company was founded in 2014 by a team including CEO Dr. Mike Lynn, an ER physician, reserve deputy sheriff, and former venture capitalist. The HOUND MARIJUANA BREATHALYZER is intended to detect recent marijuana use. The company said that its product does not measure whether, or how much, a person is impaired and that it is intended solely for use in law enforcement, employment, and insurance settings.


StaffSeptember 2, 2021
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The presence of technology has changed the entire world. In the cannabis industry, it is the backbone of most operations whether discussing extraction, seed to sale tracking, customer management software, loyalty program apps or platforms to conduct delivery operations. Technology is everywhere in the cannabis space. Major investment seems to continue to pour into technology for this industry, for example Jane Technologies just announced a $100 million dollars raise. This is big money and it comes with big minds. Green Market Report decided to highlight some of the best and brightest in cannabis technology. Here are a few power players who we feel you should know.

David McCullough, Chief Technology Officer of Akerna

Prior to being appointed CTO of Akerna, David McCullough served as Akerna’s Executive Vice President of Product & Engineering for the last five years, overseeing all software development, development operations, quality assurance, automations, systems, and security operations. He has over 16 years of Software Engineering experience.

Before joining Akerna, he was the CTO of StudentPublishing.com, where he actively managed the technical aspects of Student Publishing’s sale to and systems integration with lulu.com.

David has extensive government systems experience and was also a professor at New Mexico State University where he taught courses in data communications and networking.

 

Navin Anand, Chief Technology Officer of springbig

Navin Graduated Northern Illinois University with a masters in electrical engineering and a masters in technology and management.

Navin has over 15 years experience in software engineering including leading a team of 100 engineers at Verifone, one of the world’s largest multinational payment processing and POS solution providers. In his time at Verifone, Navin crafted solutions for blue-chip brands including  McDonalds, YUM Brands, and Visa.

Navin is recognized as a data-driven leader and problem solver who is able to streamline the software engineering delivery and QA process through advanced systems automation and project management, reducing time to delivery and aligning various IT sub-departments into a common system that speak the same language.

Tiffany Burtt, Founder & Chief Technology Officer of Bulb Tech 

Burtt is the Founder and CEO of Bulb Tech. With 15 years of throttling early-stage startups to the market on a bootstrap budget, Tiffany Burtt, delivers performance focused products and technology solutions to aide in launch strategies, boosting sales and capturing new opportunities. Recognized for creating rich and flawless CX design, her product innovation and solutions consistently propel revenue growth and drive strategic business initiatives to elevate the company vision. Since 2014, two of Tiffany’s projects have been acquired by Fortune 500 companies. 

In 2016, Tiffany took the plunge and applied 20 years of experience as a woman in tech and her lifelong affair with cannabis to build a powerful set of business tools solving critical challenges in the industry. With unwavering passion, she believes in the combined power of cannabis and tech to improve our lives and create a sustainable impact. Tiffany’s company, BulbTech, is woman owned and operated.

Tiffany’s work doesn’t stop with technology. She is a fierce advocate for women, minorities, veterans, and the LGBT community as it relates to medical cannabis and overall business. She educates, mentors, and consults with new businesses facing the challenges of an emerging industry. 

Burtt built a global team with varying skills and diverse backgrounds. Her reach spans India, Pakistan, London, Russia, Belarus, Sweden, Netherlands, Indonesia and the US.

From digital idea/product concept into executable definition, both technically and operationally, to the market, on-budget. Tiffany is sassy, scrappy, original, and driven.

 

Marc Lopez, Chief Technology Officer of Drop Delivery

Marc Lopez is the CTO and co-founder of Drop Delivery, the cannabis industry’s only all-in-one delivery technology solution for retailers. A twenty-something serial entrepreneur, Marc previously co-founded Greenlight Technologies, a leading order-ahead and digital loyalty software in the cannabis industry, which was acquired in 2018 by publicly-traded Leafbuyer Technologies.

Before jumping into the cannabis industry, Marc co-founded two vape industry software companies, the e-commerce platform Vape Block, and the peer-to-peer marketplace Vape Mail in 2015, where he built the technology that both platforms ran on. The motivation to develop a peer-to-peer marketplace came from his previous startup, Uniform in 2015, a peer-to-peer marketplace for the fashion industry.

While in college, and with his current Drop Delivery co-founders Vanessa and Jade Gabriel,  Marc co-founded aSociete in 2011, a shopping platform for millennials to shop for their favorite fashion brands from all across the web in a simple, entertaining, and engaging way.

Marc Sherman, Chief Information Officer of HERBL

Marc Sherman is a highly-skilled Information Technology Executive with over 20 years’ experience designing, delivering, and supporting innovative Enterprise Supply Chain System solutions that drive business growth and profitability for all stakeholders.

Prior to joining HERBL, he was Vice President, Information Technology for FedEx Supply Chain, a $1.6B subsidiary of FedEx focused on Third-Party Logistics in multiple verticals including Technology, Retail, Consumer Products and Healthcare across over 130 sites in North America.

Before joining FedEx, Marc served on active duty in the United States Air Force for 20 years where he held multiple Operations and Logistics management positions in the United States, Europe, and Southwest Asia. He holds a Master of Business Administration degree in Information Systems and is a former Adjunct Professor with Northwood University.

Sherman currently lives in Keller, Texas with his wife Caroline.

 


StaffSeptember 2, 2021
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Healthcare tech company Forian Inc. (NASDAQ: FORA) has raised $24 million through a convertible note offering. The company said in a statement that the notes are convertible into shares of the company’s common stock at a conversion price of $11.98, the consolidated closing bid price of its common stock as reported by the Nasdaq on Tuesday, August 31, 2021. In addition to the fundraising, Forian appointed Michael Vesey as Chief Financial Officer effective September 2, 2021. Vesey will succeed Clifford Farren, who will remain with Forian in an advisory capacity through the end of the year to ensure an orderly transition.

“Michael brings a successful history of driving results and positioning emerging companies for growth, and we are happy to welcome him to our team,” said Max Wygod, Executive Chairman of Forian. Max continued, “As I mentioned on our last earnings call, I believe it is an exciting time at Forian with our new products expected to be released in market and meaningful growing backlog and pipeline giving us a solid opportunity for future substantial revenue growth.”

Vesey was most recently the Chief Financial Officer of Wayside Technology Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: WSTG), a provider of cyber security, software and technology solutions. During his five-year tenure with Wayside, Vesey led multiple acquisitions that facilitated the organization’s shift to cloud marketplace, resulting in a significant increase in average share price over a two-year period.

“On behalf of our entire team at Forian, I share with Cliff our gratitude for his efforts during his tenure as our Chief Financial Officer,” said Dan Barton, Forian’s Chief Executive Officer. “Over the past year, Cliff supported our combination with Helix Technologies and listing on Nasdaq. We wish Cliff all the best in the chapters ahead as he focuses on his health and future endeavors.”

Investors of the convertibles included both unaffiliated investors as well as a director of the company. Wygod purchased $6,000,000 principal amount of Notes. Unaffiliated investors purchased the remaining $18,000,000 principal amount of Notes. An independent Special Committee of Forian’s Board of Directors was established to review and negotiate the transaction on behalf of the Company. Two institutional investors led the negotiations for the unaffiliated investors.

Forian provides a unique suite of SaaS solutions, data management capabilities and proprietary data and analytics to optimize and measure operational, clinical and financial performance for customers within the traditional and emerging life sciences, healthcare payer and provider segments, as well as cannabis dispensaries, manufacturers, cultivators and regulators.


Debra BorchardtAugust 9, 2021
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Cannabis online marketplace company Leafly Holdings Inc. and the SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) Merida Merger Corp. I (NASDAQ: MCMJ) sponsored by Merida Capital Holdings have signed a definitive agreement for a business combination. When the transaction is complete, Merida will adopt the Leafly name and its common stock is expected to be listed on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol LFLY. The combined company’s transaction values at an implied, fully diluted enterprise value of approximately $385 million and equity value of approximately $532 million, subject to any redemptions by Merida stockholders. It is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021.

Leafly provides a subscription-based platform for more than 7,800 brands and 4,600 paying retail subscribers. Approximately 55% of North American retail licensees are currently subscribed to its marketplace and advertising services. As a non-plant touching platform with leading brand recognition, a user-friendly experience, and an established position in core growth markets, Leafly is well-positioned to capitalize on accelerating legalization trends and e-commerce adoption across North America. Based in Seattle, Washington, Leafly has a highly engaged audience of more than 125 million annual visitors to understand, select, and reserve cannabis products from licensed retailers.

Existing Leafly shareholders will roll 100% of their existing stake in Leafly and, upon closing, are expected to own approximately 72% of the combined company on a pro forma basis, assuming the company receives 100% of the proceeds currently held in trust. The transaction is expected to generate proceeds of up to $161.5 million, subject to any redemptions by Merida stockholders. This follows and is inclusive of Leafly’s recent $31.5 million capital raise led by leading cannabis-focused investors, including Merida Capital Holdings, Delta Emerald Ventures, SOJE Capital, and Leafly’s existing shareholder base. The proceeds of the capital raise and transaction provide Leafly with substantial capital to enhance its advertising and platform technology, expand its marketplace, and execute customer acquisition initiatives.

Peter Lee, President of Merida Merger Corp. I said, “Merida Capital is very excited to be involved in this transformative event for Leafly. We have seen firsthand how consumers respond to Leafly’s innovative technology and proprietary insights. Leafly has a proven flywheel and clear and achievable growth plans, and we look forward to leveraging our team’s demonstrated track record with other high growth ancillary cannabis companies to support their transition to the public market.”

Leafly plans to accelerate retailer monetization with retailers seeing 14x Return on Ad Spend and in the early stages of monetizing the more than 7,800 brands on the Leafly platform. The company is projecting revenue of approximately $43 million in 2021 and $65 million in 2022, representing  a roughly 52% annual growth with gross margins of roughly 88% as Leafly further penetrates current markets and capitalizes on its strong position in the newly legalized East Coast

Leafly struggled at the beginning of the pandemic and laid off 91 employees. It had been a part of the private equity Privateer Holdings portfolio, but then the company was spun out to be independent. In its early days, former Leafly founders Cy ScottBrian Wansolich and Scott Vickers departed Leafly to launch another Seattle-area marijuana data company, Headset.  Leafly had created a back-office product to help dispensaries run their business called Leafly Insights and Headset was essentially the business that Leafly Insights looked to be emulating. The company raised $2.3 million in October 2019 even as it was announcing plans to scale back its growth. Overall the company has raised approximately $38 million.

Yoko Miyashita, Chief Executive Officer of Leafly, said, “For the past decade, we have focused on building a unique, legally compliant marketplace with an equal emphasis on educating consumers and enabling them to reserve cannabis products from legal, reputable providers. With this transaction, we are looking forward to entering the next phase of our company’s journey – creating more personalized consumer experiences, driving more value to our retail partners, amplifying brands on our platform, and further scaling our presence in local markets as legalization continues. Our consumers recognize Leafly as one of the most trusted brands in cannabis, and we do not take that trust for granted. We are excited to partner with Merida’s deeply experienced team to create even more value for our consumers, partners, and shareholders.”

 


StaffAugust 4, 2021
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Jessica Billingsley, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of Akerna, was announced as the Chair of the newly formed US Cannabis Council, a coalition of organizations, businesses, and individuals seeking to end federal prohibition of cannabis and create an equitable, values-driven cannabis industry in the United States. 

The USCC aims to raise ethical standards within the industry, achieve restorative justice for communities that have been disproportionately impacted by misguided state and federal cannabis policies, and create a healthy, inclusive, and well-regulated cannabis industry with social, financial, and environmental benefits shared by all.  

The USCC credited Billingsley’s leadership experience in the cannabis industry for her unanimous appointment. Billingsley was the first cannabis technology CEO to list on the Nasdaq, invented seed-to-sale tracking for the industry, won exclusive contracts for Washington, Pennsylvania, and Utah’s cannabis regulatory track-and-trace programs, and has engaged with members of Congress on cannabis reform for nearly a decade.  

“Billingsley is a proven leader who will elevate our voice for cannabis reform and an equitable, values-driven cannabis industry,” said Steven Hawkins, USCC CEO. “Her extensive background working in the cannabis industry and with the government will greatly assist USCC in reforming cannabis policy and advancing an equitable, well-regulated cannabis industry in all fifty states. 

“I am honored by this appointment and look forward to continuing my work with the USCC’s diverse collection of cannabis leaders striving to push forward critical and meaningful policy change in US cannabis,” said Jessica Billingsley, Akerna CEO and new Chair of the USCC Board. “A crucial part of the legalization process is to address the harms incurred by the mostly Black and brown populations who have served criminal convictions and prison sentences due to nonviolent marijuana offenses. We must, and we will fight for change.” 

USCC’s founding members represent the broadest group of organizations and people in the cannabis industry seeking to end federal prohibition. The group includes Acreage Holdings, Akerna Corp., American Trade Association of Cannabis and Hemp, Association for Cannabis Health Equity and Medicine, BellRock Brands, Buckeye Relief, Cannabis Trade Federation, Canopy Growth Corporation, Central Coast Agriculture (CCA), Columbia Care Inc., Cresco Labs Inc., Cronos Group, Culta, Curaleaf, DNA Genetics, Eaze, Flowhub, Global Alliance for Cannabis Commerce, Good Chemistry, The Grove Cannabis Dispensary, Headcount’s Cannabis Voter Project, Husch Blackwell, iAnthus Capital Holdings, Inc., Jushi, Keef Brands, Lightshade, LivWell Enlightened Health, Marijuana Policy Project, Medicine Man, MedMen, Native Roots Cannabis Co, 1906 New Highs, PAX Labs, PharmaCann, ProKure, Schwazze, Scotts Miracle-Gro Company, Urbn Leaf, Veterans Cannabis Project, Vicente Sederberg LLP, Vireo Health, and Wana.

 


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