Akerna Archives - Green Market Report

StaffSeptember 13, 2021
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3min7370

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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2min22780

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.

 


StaffSeptember 2, 2021
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8min27270

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.

 


StaffAugust 16, 2021
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6min18670

Ray Thompson is the Chief Operations Officer at Akerna. He has 15+ years of corporate management experience including operations, sales, and talent management. From 2008 to 2016, Ray served as the Senior Vice President of VisionLink, a multiagency humanitarian software platform. From 2016-2018, Ray was Head of Customer and Sales Operations at Gloo, a people development platform. With 20+ years experience in software systems, Ray specializes in meeting the unique needs of high growth technology companies and helping them scale. Ray has an MBA from University of Denver.

GMR Executive Spotlight Interview Q&A:

Title:

Chief Operating Officer (COO)

Company:

Akerna 

Years at current company:

3

Most successful professional accomplishment before cannabis:

Before Ray’s work in cannabis, he was part of the team that launched e-commerce for large brands like Vitamins.com and Whole Foods Market. During this time, Ray and his team pioneered many e-commerce features, including 1-click ordering, auto-refills and subscribe & saves, setting the standard when the industry was still nascent and paving the path for the e-commerce giants of today.

Company Mission: 

We are passionate about solving problems that better our world. Akerna provides data-driven cannabis solutions worldwide across the entire cannabis supply chain. Our technology empowers the cannabis industry to prove outcomes that positively change lives every day. 

Company’s most successful achievement: 

Our CEO, Jessica Billingsley, co-founded the company that invented seed-to-sale tracking in 2010. This was done upon identifying the need for organic material tracking and compliance SaaS solutions in the nascent cannabis industry. We recognized that due to the unique complexities and needs of the industry, cannabis needed technology built for it specifically, not just adapted from other industries. We believed visibility across the entire supply chain from seed-to-sale would be a requirement for the industry’s sustained growth. Today, this type of tracking is a requirement of most states that regulate legal cannabis.  

In 2017, we launched MJ Platform, the cannabis industry’s first ERP in response to the maturing of the cannabis market to multi-state enterprise businesses. We also led international expansion in the cannabis technology sector very early on in 2012 in Canada then into Spain. Today, our total footprint spans 23 states and 15 countries. Innovation and seeing what opportunities are next on the horizon – and then being ready for them first – has been a hallmark of Akerna since the inception of our flagship product MJ Freeway.   

In 2019, Akerna became the first cannabis software business to be traded on a major U.S. exchange, Nasdaq (ticker KERN). This listing was an unprecedented milestone for the cannabis industry and signified a shift in beliefs and generated ripples of opportunity for the future of the industry.    

Since then, we have grown the Akerna family to include many leading cannabis and alcohol technology solutions: Ample Organics, Last Call Analytics, Leaf Data Systems, MJ Freeway/MJ Platform, solo sciences, Trellis, and Viridian Sciences.  

Today, Akerna is the cannabis industry’s only scaled technology provider, enabling compliance, regulation, and taxation. We provide the single most comprehensive product ecosystem for cannabis operators that have businesses across any part of the supply chain, from seed-to-sale. This provides transparency and accountability along virtually every piece of the supply chain.   

Over the past decade, we have seen much change in the political and social environments surrounding cannabis. As we prepare for a post-legalization landscape and the industry continues to consolidate and mature, we firmly believe the enterprise capabilities we offer, including comprehensive compliance solutions and financial reporting integrations, will become increasingly crucial to the future leaders of the cannabis industry.    

Has the company raised any capital (yes or no):  

Yes 

If so, how much? 

Since going public Akerna has raised $22,000,000 

Any plans on raising capital in the future? 

 We feel we are well capitalized today and continue to have institutional support and access to the markets should the need arise.  We are always carefully evaluating the needs of the business to maximize long-term shareholder value.  

Most important company 5 year goal: 

To be the dominant provider of technology to the cannabis, hemp, and CBD industries, while also serving additional verticals by providing complete accountability and transparency to what consumers are putting in and on their bodies. 

 


StaffAugust 6, 2021
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6min21710

Throughout his career, Fowle has overseen several divisions such as finance, business operations, business intelligence, and monetization operations. Before joining Akerna, he served as CFO for REV360, a SaaS and business services company, and as vice-president and controller for WELLTOK. While at WELLTOK, Fowle led the successful diligence and integration of six acquisitions valued at over $230 million. Fowle is a certified public accountant. He holds an MBA from the University of California, Irvine, and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from the University of Southern California.

GMR Executive Spotlight Interview Q&A:

Title:

Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

Company:

Akerna

Years at current company:

Two

Most successful professional accomplishment before cannabis:

People are the most important asset in any business. From my tenure in Fortune 500 to my time in emerging growth, I have mentored and managed many individuals, with varied backgrounds, across North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.  To see them develop both personally and professionally and move on to have highly successful professional careers, and to know I played a part of that, is by far my greatest professional accomplishment.

Company Mission: 

We are passionate about solving problems that better our world. Akerna provides data-driven cannabis solutions worldwide across the entire cannabis supply chain. Our technology empowers the cannabis industry to prove outcomes that positively change lives every day. 

Company’s most successful achievement: 

Our CEO, Jessica Billingsley, co-founded the company that invented seed-to-sale tracking in 2010. This was done upon identifying the need for organic material tracking and compliance SaaS solutions in the nascent cannabis industry. We recognized that due to the unique complexities and needs of the industry, cannabis needed technology built for it specifically, not just adapted from other industries. We believed visibility across the entire supply chain from seed-to-sale would be a requirement for the industry’s sustained growth. Today, this type of tracking is a requirement of most states that regulate legal cannabis.  

In 2017, we launched MJ Platform, the cannabis industry’s first ERP in response to the maturing of the cannabis market to multi-state enterprise businesses. We also led international expansion in the cannabis technology sector very early on in 2012 in Canada then into Spain. Today, our total footprint spans 23 states and 15 countries. Innovation and seeing what opportunities are next on the horizon – and then being ready for them first – has been a hallmark of Akerna since the inception of our flagship product MJ Freeway.   

In 2019, Akerna became the first cannabis software business to be traded on a major U.S. exchange, Nasdaq (ticker KERN). This listing was an unprecedented milestone for the cannabis industry and signified a shift in beliefs and generated ripples of opportunity for the future of the industry.    

Since then, we have grown the Akerna family to include many leading cannabis and alcohol technology solutions: Ample Organics, Last Call Analytics, Leaf Data Systems, MJ Freeway/MJ Platform, solo sciences, Trellis, and Viridian Sciences.  

Today, Akerna is the cannabis industry’s only scaled technology provider, enabling compliance, regulation, and taxation. We provide the single most comprehensive product ecosystem for cannabis operators that have businesses across any part of the supply chain, from seed-to-sale. This provides transparency and accountability along virtually every piece of the supply chain.   

Over the past decade, we have seen much change in the political and social environments surrounding cannabis. As we prepare for a post-legalization landscape and the industry continues to consolidate and mature, we firmly believe the enterprise capabilities we offer, including comprehensive compliance solutions and financial reporting integrations, will become increasingly crucial to the future leaders of the cannabis industry.    

Has the company raised any capital (yes or no):  

Yes 

If so, how much? 

Since going public Akerna has raised $22,000,000 

Any plans on raising capital in the future? 

 We feel we are well capitalized today and continue to have institutional support and access to the markets should the need arise.  We are always carefully evaluating the needs of the business to maximize long-term shareholder value.  

Most important company 5 year goal: 

To be the dominant provider of technology to the cannabis, hemp, and CBD industries, while also serving additional verticals by providing complete accountability and transparency to what consumers are putting in and on their bodies. 

 


Julie AitchesonAugust 5, 2021
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4min29150

In every sector of culture and society, a shift towards greater diversity is moving the needle on what, and who is considered “typical”. This is as true in the realm of cannabis consumption as anywhere else, with the stereotype of surfer dude stoners and glazed and confused couch potatoes making way for women as the fastest-growing segment of cannabis consumers. Manufacturers are paying close attention to what these women want and how best to reach them with thoughtful branding, high levels of customer service, product design, and the retail experience. Not only are women increasingly driving cannabis sales, but they are also shifting their consumer behavior in ways that are pushing the industry to get more creative and innovative in meeting their demands—a trend that cannabis technology company Akerna (NASDAQ: KERN) highlights in its mid-year report.

According to Akerna’s report, “Since 2019, females have steadily increased their percentage of sales, a total of 3.2%. While that may seem like a low number, it’s actually a significant change considering the vast numbers of cannabis consumers – over 15 million have purchased in 2021 so far.”  Their market share, which in 2019 was 35% is now 38.2% and growing. Additionally, for the first time ever, concentrates have overtaken edibles in popularity among younger women, a change attributed to decreased stigma and increased consumer education. Previously, edibles held third place in female product preferences with concentrates in fourth, but that has changed since 2020 with 10.2% of women reporting a preference for concentrates over 8.9% who prefer edibles. Flower is still the favorite product among female consumers with 44% still ranking it their top choice, but the industry is watching this closely as new product innovations inspire new allegiances.

In Akerna’s report, 27.53% of female consumers fall into the under 30 category and 29.40% are between 30 and 40 years old, with both demographics preferring flower, cartridges, and concentrates in that order. Both age categories placed infused edibles and “Other” in fourth and fifth place. For these women, cartridges lead concentrates by 20% or more, with edibles roughly half as popular as concentrates. Edibles still beat out concentrates for the 13.6% of female purchasers in the 50-60 age range and the 10.33% falling into the 60+ category. The strongest showing for edibles was in the oldest demographic (60+ women) studied, with 18.39% preferring edibles and only 5.31% concentrates. 

The trend in younger consumers leaning more towards concentrates and elders remaining loyal to edibles holds up in the male demographic as well, though this isn’t attracting as much notice from the industry as the rise of women consumers. Although Akerna’s mid-year report has men still accounting for 61.8% of cannabis sales, women are closing that gap at a steady pace and challenging the industry to up its game in order to compete for their business.


StaffAugust 4, 2021
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6min19850

Nina Simosko is Akerna’s Chief Commercial Officer (CCO). With more than 20 years’ experience in bringing strategic innovation to companies such as Oracle, SAP, and most recently, NTT Group, Nina is extremely well suited to her current role with Akerna. She oversees all of the company’s revenue generation streams, builds strategies to drive revenue growth, and plays a pivotal role in aligning revenue generation processes across the entire organization.

GMR Executive Spotlight Interview Q&A:

Title: 

Chief Commercial Officer (CCO)

Company: 

Akerna

Years at current company: 

Two

Most successful professional accomplishment before cannabis:

At the time, I was the only female CEO to serve at NTT Group, a $110B consortium with 325,000 employees. NTT is a provider of fixed and mobile voice related services, Internet Protocol and packet communications services.

Company Mission: 

We are passionate about solving problems that better our world. Akerna provides data-driven cannabis solutions worldwide across the entire cannabis supply chain. Our technology empowers the cannabis industry to prove outcomes that positively change lives every day. 

Company’s most successful achievement: 

Our CEO, Jessica Billingsley, co-founded the company that invented seed-to-sale tracking in 2010. This was done upon identifying the need for organic material tracking and compliance SaaS solutions in the nascent cannabis industry. We recognized that due to the unique complexities and needs of the industry, cannabis needed technology built for it specifically, not just adapted from other industries. We believed visibility across the entire supply chain from seed-to-sale would be a requirement for the industry’s sustained growth. Today, this type of tracking is a requirement of most states that regulate legal cannabis.  

In 2017, we launched MJ Platform, the cannabis industry’s first ERP in response to the maturing of the cannabis market to multi-state enterprise businesses. We also led international expansion in the cannabis technology sector very early on in 2012 in Canada then into Spain. Today, our total footprint spans 23 states and 15 countries. Innovation and seeing what opportunities are next on the horizon – and then being ready for them first – has been a hallmark of Akerna since the inception of our flagship product MJ Freeway.   

In 2019, Akerna became the first cannabis software business to be traded on a major U.S. exchange, Nasdaq (ticker KERN). This listing was an unprecedented milestone for the cannabis industry and signified a shift in beliefs and generated ripples of opportunity for the future of the industry.    

Since then, we have grown the Akerna family to include many leading cannabis and alcohol technology solutions: Ample Organics, Last Call Analytics, Leaf Data Systems, MJ Freeway/MJ Platform, solo sciences, Trellis, and Viridian Sciences.  

Today, Akerna is the cannabis industry’s only scaled technology provider, enabling compliance, regulation, and taxation. We provide the single most comprehensive product ecosystem for cannabis operators that have businesses across any part of the supply chain, from seed-to-sale. This provides transparency and accountability along virtually every piece of the supply chain.   

Over the past decade, we have seen much change in the political and social environments surrounding cannabis. As we prepare for a post-legalization landscape and the industry continues to consolidate and mature, we firmly believe the enterprise capabilities we offer, including comprehensive compliance solutions and financial reporting integrations, will become increasingly crucial to the future leaders of the cannabis industry.    

Has the company raised any capital (yes or no):  

Yes 

If so, how much? 

Since going public Akerna has raised $22,000,000 

Any plans on raising capital in the future? 

 We feel we are well capitalized today and continue to have institutional support and access to the markets should the need arise.  We are always carefully evaluating the needs of the business to maximize long-term shareholder value.  

Most important company 5 year goal: 

To be the dominant provider of technology to the cannabis, hemp, and CBD industries, while also serving additional verticals by providing complete accountability and transparency to what consumers are putting in and on their bodies. 

 


StaffAugust 4, 2021
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4min11680

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.

 


StaffJuly 28, 2021
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6min11150

Prior to being appointed CTO of Akerna, David McCullough served as Akerna’s Executive Vice President of Product & Engineering, overseeing all software development, development operations, quality assurance, automations, systems, and security operations. He has 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. 

 

GMR Executive Spotlight Interview Q & A:

 

Title:

Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

Company:

Akerna

Years at current company:

Six

Most successful professional accomplishment before cannabis:

Before David’s work in cannabis, he invented an online self-publishing software that allows schools and children to create and publish books online to be published as physical books and returned to the writer.

Company Mission:

We are passionate about solving problems that better our world. Akerna provides data-driven cannabis solutions worldwide across the entire cannabis supply chain. Our technology empowers the cannabis industry to prove outcomes that positively change lives every day.

Company’s most successful achievement:

Our CEO, Jessica Billingsley, co-founded the company that invented seed-to-sale tracking in 2010. This was done upon identifying the need for organic material tracking and compliance SaaS solutions in the nascent cannabis industry. We recognized that due to the unique complexities and needs of the industry, cannabis needed technology built for it specifically, not just adapted from other industries. We believed visibility across the entire supply chain from seed-to-sale would be a requirement for the industry’s sustained growth. Today, this type of tracking is a requirement of most states that regulate legal cannabis.

In 2017, we launched MJ Platform, the cannabis industry’s first ERP in response to the maturing of the cannabis market to multi-state enterprise businesses. We also led international expansion in the cannabis technology sector very early on in 2012 in Canada then into Spain. Today, our total footprint spans 23 states and 15 countries. Innovation and seeing what opportunities are next on the horizon – and then being ready for them first – has been a hallmark of Akerna since the inception of our flagship product MJ Freeway.

In 2019, Akerna became the first cannabis software business to be traded on a major U.S. exchange, Nasdaq (ticker KERN). This listing was an unprecedented milestone for the cannabis industry and signified a shift in beliefs and generated ripples of opportunity for the future of the industry.

Since then, we have grown the Akerna family to include many leading cannabis and alcohol technology solution s: Ample Organics,  Last Call Analytics,  Leaf Data Systems,  MJ Freeway/MJ Platform, solo sciences, Trellis, and Viridian Sciences.

Today,  Akerna is the cannabis industry’s only scaled technology provider, enabling compliance, regulation, and taxation. We provide the single most comprehensive product ecosystem for cannabis operators that have businesses across any part of the supply chain, from seed-to-sale. This provides transparency and accountability along virtually every piece of the supply chain.

Over the past decade, we have seen much change in the political and social environments surrounding cannabis. As we prepare for a post-legalization landscape and the industry continues to consolidate and mature, we firmly believe the enterprise capabilities we offer, including comprehensive compliance solutions and financial reporting integrations, will become increasingly crucial to the future leaders of the cannabis industry.

Has the company raised any capital (yes or no): 

Yes

If so, how much?

Since going public Akerna has raised $22,000,000

Any plans on raising capital in the future?

 We feel we are well capitalized today and continue to have institutional support and access to the markets should the need arise.  We are always carefully evaluating the needs of the business to maximize long-term shareholder value. 

Most important company  5  year  goal:

To be the dominant provider of technology to the cannabis, hemp, and CBD industries, while also serving additional verticals by providing complete accountability and transparency to what consumers are putting in and on their bodies.


Debra BorchardtJuly 21, 2021
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5min9000

Cannabis software company Akerna (NASDAQ: KERN) has released its 2021 Mid Year report that highlights upcoming trends as well as recapping the first half of the year. These trends include interstate commerce, the importance of brands, and the quickly growing power of the female consumer.

Interstate Commerce

Scott Sozio who serves as Head of Corporate Development for Akerna wrote that while consolidation and access to capital have been important issues they are laying the groundwork for interstate commerce and the importance of brands. Sozio said, “The recently proposed Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (“CAOA”) contemplates interstate commerce. Whether the bill passes or not, interstate commerce is now part of the conversation, and operators large and small will have to develop their plans for how they will compete when state borders open.” He suggested that the consolidation that is happening in the industry today has been focused on accumulating assets and planting as many flags in as many states as possible. He believes this focus will shift to a geographically strategic production location that is positioned to service a national footprint. 

“The first evidence that the larger operators are positioning for interstate commerce came earlier this year when Curaleaf acquired Los Suenos, the largest outdoor grow in Colorado. The announcement noted that the transaction would provide Curaleaf with one of the largest outdoor cannabis cultivation facilities in the U.S. while building on its strategy of constructing low-cost supply chains critical to eventual interstate commerce,” he wrote in the report.  Sozio thinks there will be more acquisitions of strategic supply as companies begin building their national footprints now. 

Big Brands

Akerna thinks that the brands being built today could become the cannabis household names of the future. However, the company said many questions have yet to be answered. “Will a successful California brand resonate in Florida? Will the product be consistent from one state to the next? As in any industry, there will be national brands and niche brands.” There are brands that are flexing their muscle now as they begin to compete on a national stage. Cannabis brand Cookies was recently named by Ad Age as one of the Hottest Brands of 2021. The company is both creating its own dispensaries and selling its product in multiple states. It’s a strategy that many other brands are sure to try to replicate.

Girl Power

James Arhrendt Business Intelligence Architect at Akerna also noted in the report the growth of the female consumer in the cannabis industry. “Since 2019, females have steadily increased their percentage of sales, a total of 3.2%. While that may seem like a low number, it’s actually a significant change considering the vast numbers of cannabis consumers – 14.9 million have purchased in 2021 so far.” Like the rest of the market, women are also buying mostly flower. Even though flower purchases account for 44% of the female spend, concentrate purchases are taking preference over edibles. 

Akerna found that the concentrate category showed a direct correlation between age and the percentage of sales share for females. The report noted that the younger age groups spend more (14% of sales for under 30), and the sales percentage gradually drops in each age group as you increase in age (60+ age group only spends 5%). “Edibles also correlate with age but in an inverse relationship to concentrates. For the under 30 female age group, edibles are only 5.37% of their sales, 30-40 its 6.93% of their sales, and this trend continues up as the 60+ age group spends 19% of their sales on edibles.”

So, it seems that as the importance of the female customer grows, brands and companies will want to adapt and address the desires of this group. Money talks and if this group is gaining importance, it will also gain power.


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