Flowhub Archives - Green Market Report

Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtJanuary 31, 2019
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9min5990

Licenses for cannabis operators are multiplying as fast as the plants can be grown. According to Cannabiz Media, in the fourth quarter, the state of Connecticut doubled their dispensaries from nine to 18 and Oklahoma went on a license issuing frenzy. By the end of 2018, the Sooner state issued 805 dispensary licenses, 1,302 growers and 341 processors.

They are dwarfed by California which has almost doubled its licenses since November. The state has 10,940 active licenses, although Ed Keating the co-founder of Cannabiz Media noted that only a few dozen are annual licenses. In comparing licenses issued by activity, many categories almost doubled like distributor at 198%, manufacturer at 188%, and cultivator at 178% and retailers increased by 58%.

As more states legalize adult use sales, cannabis is becoming a rapidly growing market that topped $8.5 billion in spending in 2017 and will nearly reach $11 billion in 2018 and then push past $23 billion by 2022.

In Colorado, there were 509 retail dispensaries. Washington State has 514 and Oregon has 561. The numbers continue to grow as more states like Michigan, New York, and New Jersey begin planning for legalized adult use sales. As a result of this, being on the front line and customer facing is seen as the sweet spot for many companies. These are some of the top consumer-facing retail technology cannabis companies in the industry today.

Headset

Headset is the top retail data provider. This company captures consumer purchasing data at the point of sale in real time. Producers can use the data to learn what is and isn’t selling and determine consumer preferences. For example, when it comes to cannabis edibles, gummies are the big winner in Colorado, while mints are the product of choice in Washington. The retailers can also mine this data to track inventory levels and learn what their customers prefer. Do they like sweet or sour flavors?

Dispensary owners can also use the past performance data to predict future buying habits. If the upcoming Valentine’s holiday demonstrated a big jump in chocolate sales, then the owner can make sure they are stocked up.

Headset recently completed a Series A funding round of $12.1 million. This money will go towards improving current products and services and expanding the company’s offerings to additional U.S. states and international markets. It will also help the company serve new customers from the consumer packaged goods, beverage/alcohol, and financial industries, who are taking an increased interest in cannabis.

Springbig

Dispensaries can’t advertise in traditional methods and the customers probably wouldn’t respond to traditional ads anyway. Springbig is able to capitalize on this by helping dispensary owners reach customers in loyalty programs through text messaging. Everybody loves to be rewarded and find bargains when shopping and cannabis consumers are no different. Earning points for purchases motivates customers to stick with their favorite stores.

The data also helps owners get more sales and it also lets them analyze what works best with their customers. The company said that dispensaries that use Springbig found that their customers spent more and that revenue increased by 25%. The company can even drill down into the customer’s preference and then only send targeted promotions. For example, if a consumer only wants flower, then they won’t be sent promotions for edibles if that is what they prefer.

Seed

Seed is an in-store cannabis educator. With interactive touch screens, customers can easily get answers to their questions, which frees up the dispensary employees time. The company was developed to help the dispensary staff and also give the customer a nonjudgmental way to learn more about the products. Of course, the ultimate idea is to sell more product, but dispensaries are such a new experience for many people and the products are mostly unfamiliar. There is a huge learning curve and if you can ask your questions through a cool interactive touch screen, that seems easier than taking up  20 minutes of a budtenders time if there is a line of people waiting.

The units are integrated with the dispensaries inventory so once the customer goes through the touch screen to see what it is they want, the Seed is programmed to suggest items that are in stock. Having said that the company says it remains focused on education more than pushing a product. It isn’t a pay to play model such that one product can pay to be recommended over another.

Flowhub

Flowhub is the behind the counter solution for dispensary owners. This point-of-sale software is sold as a compliance solution to dispensaries. Flowhub includes a small handheld mobile device called a Nug to help speed up daily operations like scanning barcodes, checking in customers, and auditing inventory. The software gives managers complete control over their data, allowing them to generate inventory discrepancy reports and make adjustments before submitting via an API. Customers can also opt for the company’s free loyalty software that is included.

The system is also tightly synced up to METRC — the track and trace system used in most legal cannabis markets — making compliance really easy in those markets. At this time, it isn’t aligned with MJ Freeway or BioTrack, but that is expected to happen as the company expands into other markets. Flowhub is a little different from the others because it provides an open source option. This lets customers with a high level of technical knowledge customize the software for their needs. A tech nerd’s delight.

KlickTrack

KlickTrack is the new kid on the block after a beta launch in September. Co-founder Brendan Hill (of Blues Travelers fame) said it addresses common issues and pain points that the founders themselves experienced when they tried various software solutions as owners and operators of Paper and Leaf, a retail cannabis boutique, located on Bainbridge Island in Washington state. After years of frustration with non-integrated systems, they developed KlickTrack as a synchronized ecosystem, saving retailers time and money.

KlickTrack co-founder Steve Kessler said, “We created this system from inside a working retail shop from the ground up. We teamed with world-class developers, using a proprietary translator to solve industry-wide problems. KlickTrack removes the compliance worries from retailers and allows them to focus on running their business and having access to real-time actionable data.”

The company said it gives retailers the ability to easily view and manage inventory and offer their products organized by brand. It reduces inventory redundancies, speeds up workflow and enables retailers to maintain customer service on high traffic days. It provides real-time insights into all sales metrics, allowing retailers the ability to analyze historical customer and product data. The compliance translator ties directly into state regulatory systems and the company said it virtually eliminates the risk of fines and violations.


StaffStaffJanuary 15, 2019
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7min2090

Top cannabis database now offers consumers precise product location and pricing information through the Flowhub API

Seattle, WA – January 15, 2019 /AxisWire/ Leafly, the world’s leading cannabis information resource, and Flowhub, the award-winning cannabis compliance and point of sale provider, are today announcing their new, real-time integration to help cannabis dispensaries drive visibility and automate online menus.

As the world’s leading source for consumers to find cannabis, Leafly.com sees more than 16 million monthly visits and offers localized dispensary listings in legal cannabis markets. Now Leafly is partnering with Flowhub in order to show real-time dispensary inventory and pricing for every strain and product.

Updating online menus is a huge part of marketing for cannabis retailers, a task which can often be time consuming and inefficient. With the new Leafly and Flowhub integration, dispensaries can now automatically update their online menus on Leafly to match their live inventory in Flowhub’s industry-leading POS system. The Flowhub solution allows retailers and managers to save time on manual data entry, while providing accurate information and a seamless shopping experience for their potential customers on Leafly.

“Everyone can relate to the disappointment of showing up to a store only to learn that the product you want isn’t available. Our integration with Leafly prevents this type of poor customer experience from happening. Leafly has long been considered a top community website in the global cannabis movement and Flowhub has experienced rapid growth, with hundreds of dispensaries using our software to process over $1B in cannabis sales annually. Together with Leafly, we’re bringing the way consumers find and buy cannabis into the digital age.” says Kyle Sherman, CEO of Flowhub.

“By integrating with Flowhub, Leafly continues to offer the best point-of-sale integrations to partner dispensaries,” said Jason Makuch, Chief Product Officer at Leafly. “Leafly’s goal is to create a world-class user experience for product discovery while helping dispensaries grow their businesses at the same time.”

Consolidation of high-tech tools such as these is important for the future of legal cannabis. The industry faces unique challenges compared to any other industry, and business owners require a suite of products that are custom-built for the cannabis space which work seamlessly with one another.

The integration between the two technologies is officially live as of today. To learn more or to request a demo of Flowhub, visit flowhub.com.

About Flowhub

Powering the largest retailers in the industry, Flowhub is the leading compliance and point of sale software for cannabis dispensaries in the United States. Built specifically to serve the highly regulated industry, Flowhub is helping nearly 500 cannabis retailers grow revenue, stay compliant, and manage inventory. Founded in 2015 by former Compliance Officer, Kyle Sherman, Denver-based Flowhub processes over $1B in cannabis sales annually and is backed by industry investors like Poseidon Asset Management, Green Lion Partners, Phyto Partners, and Altitude. Learn more at flowhub.com.

About Leafly

As the world’s leading source for consumers to find cannabis, Leafly’s mission is to help patients and consumers make informed choices about cannabis and to empower cannabis businesses to attract and retain loyal customers through advertising and technology services. Learn more at www.leafly.comand download the five-star rated Leafly mobile app through Apple’s App Store or Google Play. Visit Leafly.com, Leafly Canada at Leafly.ca, Leafly Germany at Leafly.de, Leafly in Spanish at Leafly.es, and Leafly in French at Fr.Leafly.ca.


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtJanuary 14, 2019
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6min4231

The cannabis industry experienced a 45% growth in dispensary licenses in 2018 according to CannaBiz Media, a company that tracks cannabis licenses. Cultivator licenses grew by a whopping 110%.

One company that has managed to take advantage of the opportunity in the cannabis industry without actually touching the plant is Denver-based Flowhub. The company provides point-of-sale software that is sold as a compliance solution to dispensaries Flowhub includes a small handheld mobile device called a Nug to help speed up daily operations like scanning barcodes, checking in customers, and auditing inventory. The software gives managers complete control over their data, allowing them to generate inventory discrepancy reports and make adjustments before submitting via an API.

The system is also tightly synced up to METRC — the track and trace system used in most legal cannabis markets — making compliance really easy in those markets. At this time, it isn’t aligned with MJ Freeway or BioTrack, but that is expected to happen as the company expands into other markets. CEO Kyle Sherman said that he wanted the company to be laser-focused first on integrating with METRC and excel at that program before taking on others.

The trend of consolidation within the cannabis industry has not affected Flowhub negatively. Sherman said that it has actually worked in their favor. “With the bigger guys buying smaller players, our customers have been able to put our products there,” he said. “Of course, the single owner-operated stores will continue to exist and there is always room for them in the market,” he added. “It’s important for us to service both the big one and the small ones. That way they can outshine the competition, make better decisions, improve margins.”

Flowhub also works with lots of other popular apps and services in the cannabis space. This adaptability has made Flowhub and easy company to partner with. Sherman noted that its software comes with a free loyalty program, but they also integrate with other loyalty software companies like Springbig and Baker. In addition to that Sherman said they work well with Leafly and retail programs like Dutchy.

Another example of Flowhub flexibility within the cannabis industry is that its platform welcomes others to leverage its API to build apps on its platform. Sherman told a story about one dispensary customer who used to be a programmer and for fun he created his own dispensary software to use with Flowhub’s.

Flowhub’s clients seem to be pretty happy with the system since it brings order and compliance to their cannabis business. One dispensary client, Nectar, is currently in the process of expanding quickly across the state of Oregon with Flowhub. Similar to other emerging dispensary brands, Nectar’s growth model involves buying other dispensaries who are interested in selling their license.

Because Flowhub is integrated with METRC track-and-trace system, Nectar would easily be able to expand from its 16 retail locations in Oregon,to a completely new state, with few compliance headaches.

According to Owler, Flowhub is estimated to have annual revenue of around $2.5 million. The company is also estimated to have raised $8.8 million in capital through three different fundraising rounds beginning in 2015. Its last round took place in April 2017 for $3.25 million and it came from Green Lion Partners, Altitude  and Phyto Partners.

At the time of the deal, Larry Schnurmacher of Florida-based Phyto Partners said, “The technology solution Flowhub provides is critically important to operators, they can’t do business without it. This vertical is where we will see billion dollar valuations in the coming years.” The company also made the Green Entrepreneur 100 Cannabis Leaders of 2018 list.

Since the company’s tech and POS are so simple to replicate across multiple stores, cannabis dispensaries can easily expand and grow their businesses at scale, without missing a beat when it comes to compliance. The handheld device also speeds up the time it takes for employees to track the plants.

Sherman said the company has some new products in the pipeline that are expected to be introduced in 2019. “We’ll be supporting more hardware and making transactions faster,” he said. “We’ve listed to the customers and we’re launching new products that are even better suited for the retailers.”


Anne-Marie FischerAnne-Marie FischerNovember 9, 2018
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7min8430

“Beverage companies are already placing bets on cannabis-infused beverages,” says Ryan Smith, CEO of LeafLink, and industry-leading B2B e-commerce platform, “They present an exciting new frontier.”

While places like Canada have started off slow in allowing regulated products into the market, places like California have an already thriving infused food and beverage market, with products like colas to infused drops to kombuchas to functional beverages flying off the shelves and into the hands of the health-conscious consumer.

A Notable Rise in Popularity

Infused-beverages sales in legal states are on the rise and are demonstrated by year over year results. Flowhub, a POS company, has indicated that beverage sales have increased 88% year over year from 2016 to 2017, with that trend seemingly continuing in 2018. When Flowhub compares data from the first half of 2018 against data from the second half of 2017, beverage sales have increased 18%.

According to LeafLink, these are the industry leading beverages:

  1. Pearl 20 Minis by Tarukino in California
  2. Sprig Lemon Tea 20mg CBD & Sprig Original 10mg THC by Sprig in California 
  3. Orange Kush Soda 10mg by Keef Cola by K.I.N.D. Concentrates in Arizona
  4. 100mg Passionfruit by HIGHDRATE by Evergreen Herbal in Washington
  5. “Yippee Ki-Yay” – High Energy Blend Drops by ZOOTS by Bronnor in Colorado
  6. “Waking Giant” – 10 mg (Sativa) by Mirth Provisions in Washington

“Purchasing trends on our platform have shown an accelerating shift toward branded, consistent products that resemble recognizable consumer packaged goods,” says Smith of the growth in popularity in cannabis-infused beverages. “They are incredibly discreet, hide the taste of cannabis well, and provide a fast-acting dosage without the guesswork of a typical edible,” adds Smith.

A Health-Conscious Driven Demand

Move over kombucha! As a representative for mood33, a cannabis-infused “functional beverage” herbal tonic company says, “We know that the modern consumer is actively searching for ways to reduce their alcohol consumption and the adverse effects that come with overconsumption, drunk driving, and hangovers.”

“Once consumers realize that cannabis can be consumed like an alcoholic beverage via products like mood33, we will see even more demand for cannabis beverages – as we expect the cannabis beverage category to consist of 20-25% of the overall market share within the next 5-7 years due to these developments and elements of market/category maturation,” mood33 adds.

The news has been rife with beverage companies eyeing the cannabis market, with the likes of Coca-Cola and now Pepsi moving in on the promises for infused beverages. Earlier this year, Constellation Brands (STZ) made a huge investment into Canopy Growth Corp (CGC) that Moody’s referred to as a speculative bet.

These investments and partnerships “have brought tremendous awareness to the nascent cannabis beverage category, and we predict every sophisticated cannabis company will have a cannabis beverage program in the coming years,” says mood33.

mood33 is hyper-focused on providing a cannabis beverage consumption experience for everyday people: the stressed-out soccer mom, the overworked professional, the sore runner, and the health & wellness/fitness maven.

The Global Future for Cannabis-Infused Beverages

The deals being made between cannabis and food and beverages industry big-wigs are something to pay attention to. While cannabis-infused beverages are not permitted in Canada’s legal market yet, these deals indicate that cannabis-infused beverages can have a global demand outside of established legal markets.

“There is great opportunity for the Canadian industry to offer a wider variety of products to serve patients and consumers with different preferences, while capitalizing financially,” says LeafLink’s Ryan Smith, “The demand for non-smokable product categories like beverages will only increase as long as people pursue the wellness benefits of cannabis.”

As for mood33’s plans, they want to see cannabis-infused beverages hit the mainstream: “we are eager to help develop a national framework where manufacturers and marketers can develop mainstream inspired, regulated cannabis food and beverage products that could one day sit on a Whole Foods shelf.”

 


StaffStaffSeptember 11, 2018
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8min3530

Ten New Investments Since Initial March 2018 Fund Close

New York – September 11, 2018 /AxisWire/ Altitude Investment Management, LLC updated the market today on its fund Altitude Investment Partners, LP’s recent cannabis industry investments. During the period of March through August 2018, Altitude invested in ten companies: six of which were add-on investments to existing portfolio companies and four were investments in companies new to the Altitude portfolio.

The Altitude portfolio now consists of investments in 15 companies. The following is a summary of a selection of notable recent investments:

BDS ANALYTICS

Altitude made an add-on investment as co-lead in BDS Analytics’ Series B Preferred Stock $3.5 million capital raise. BDS is the leader in cannabis business intelligence. This funding places BDS in a very strong position to execute the national expansion of its GreenEdgeTM software and to roll out its Consumer Insights & Industry Intelligence services to a much broader client base. Using the GreenEdgeTM sales tracking software, BDS Analytics is able to generate actionable insights pulled from hundreds of dispensary partners’ point-of-sale systems and closely study the behaviors and psychographics of cannabis users through its Consumer Insights Group. Its Industry Intelligence Services enables the company to make accurate market-wide financial projections and help the cannabis industry make better informed decisions. “We are very impressed with the management team,” says Jon Trauben, partner at Altitude. “Based on extensive experience in other industries, BDS Analytics has developed proprietary software and services that provide its clients with really useful data and insights. Its value is reflected in the rapid growth and diversification of the BDS Analytics client base.”

CANNDESCENT

Altitude made an add-on investment in Canndescent’s Series C Convertible Note $13 million capital raise. Canndescent closed 2017 as the #1-selling brand of cannabis flower in California with its market-leading effects—Calm, Cruise, Create, Connect and Charge and is taking that success to the vape and ingestible categories. Canndescent is a leading modern cannabis company by combining world class management with best practices from consumer-packaged goods, advanced agriculture, and luxury lifestyle marketing. The company is commencing a multi western-state expansion strategy. John Brecker, partner at Altitude added, “We took a small position in Canndescent’s Series B Preferred Stock raise and have increased our investment significantly based on the milestones the company has achieved in such a short period of time.”

GRASSROOTS CANNABIS (AES Compassionate Care PA and Grassroots Compass Ventures IL)

Altitude made separate investments in both AES Compassionate Care Pennsylvania and Grassroots Compass Ventures Illinois. Each are fully-licensed, vertically-integrated cannabis companies that are active in cultivation, extraction, manufacturing and retailing. Both companies are managed by the same management team. Altitude partner Michael Goldberg stated, “Our investments in multistate vertically-integrated operators will allow us to participate in the growth and value creation as the medicinal markets grow, new patients are added, and new approvals for qualifying conditions increase the patient base. Additionally, large upside exists when a planned rollup takes place and as these states legalize adult use.”

FLOWHUB

Altitude made an add-on investment in Flowhub’s Convertible Note $3.3 million capital raise. Setting a new standard for the highly regulated industry, Flowhub offers dispensary and cultivation license holders a metrc™ integrated platform built specifically to simplify compliance, with data automatically sent to state regulators via an API. Flowhub’s award-winning software serves more than 300 of the largest retailers and cultivators in the United States. Flowhub processes over $1B in cannabis sales annually and is the top cannabis compliance technology recommended by state agencies. Rod Stephan, partner at Altitude added, “Flowhub has successfully created software which meets the regulatory and compliance requirements of each state and also creates a sticky customer with recurring monthly revenues. We are excited by the accelerating growth of this company.”

C4 DISTRO (Golden Systems)

Altitude made a lead investment in Golden Systems’ Class B Preferred Units $5 million capital raise. Golden Systems owns C4 Distribution Co. (a.k.a C4 Distro), a California-licensed distribution operating company. C4 is poised to become a leader in the California cannabis distribution market. California needs companies to provide quality distribution services due to the extremely fragmented market of suppliers and retail dispensary buyers. C4 has most recently added four new brands for distribution to its growing list of products. Rod Stephan stated, “With service to over 160 dispensaries in southern California, C4 is experiencing accelerating month-over-month growth by leveraging its high touch business model to build close relationships with its customers. The distributor plays a material role in the supply chain as well as in creating and growing brands. We believe C4 has the right management team to capitalize on this opportunity.”

PATHOGEN DX

Altitude was the co-lead investor in PathogenDx’s Convertible Note $3.4 million capital raise. PathogenDx provides DNA-based disruptive testing technology and solutions to the cannabis, botanical, food, and agriculture markets at an adaptable scale for both large and small testing facilities. The company offers growers, processors, producers, consumers, and ancillary services real-time data and information pertaining to the quality of their product, ensuring a safer commodity and preventing millions of dollars in losses from contaminated or spoiled crops. PathogenDx’s testing kits identifies bacterial and fungal contaminants and reduces testing time down to hours from the traditional petri-dish method which takes days. Jon Trauben commented, “The company is in an enviable position as it fulfills a central regulatory need with cutting edge science, while alleviating existing bottlenecks.”

ABOUT ALTITUDE INVESTMENT PARTNERS

Altitude Investment Partners, LP is a US-based, global venture capital fund that invests in a range of early-stage to growth companies supporting the fast-growing legal global cannabis industry. The fund is managed by Altitude Investment Management, LLC, (the “Manager”), whose members have been actively investing in the cannabis industry and have successfully invested in the alternative investment space for years. The Manager provides institutional quality investment management experience to its investors. The fund continues to accept new investments and plans to close the fund to investors later this year. For more information about Altitude Investment Management please contact info@altitudein.com or visit www.altitudein.com.


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtJuly 10, 2018
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10min19450

Happy July 10. 710 is a thing for cannabis consumers. If you don’t know what that is, it’s okay. We’re here to help you learn. July 10 is or 710 is becoming a big sales promotion day and is growing in popularity. Cannabis consumers are always happy to find a new reason to celebrate and since 420 has been adopted by even non-cannabis consumers, 710 or Dab Day is the latest insider holiday.

If you turn the numbers upside down, it loosely resembles the word “OIL.” So, fans of cannabis oil as using that as an excuse to celebrate. Not convinced?

According to MJ Freeway, point-of-sale (POS) data from thousands of cannabis retailers across the U.S., Monday, July 10, 2017 sales were 15% higher than average Monday sales. The 15% increase can be wholly attributable to increased concentrate purchases. Concentrate category sales jumped 18% on July 10, 2017.  In the last three years, year-over-year 710 holiday sales growth has averaged 19%.

In addition to that, MJ Freeway predicts a sales spike of more than 25% today. Of course, these sales pale in comparison to 420 sales, but it is significant enough for dispensary owners to recognize it. Plus since 420 has been so heavily commercialized, it gives cannabis consumers a new secret handshake.

Cannabis oil can also be described as concentrates or extracts and has become one of the fastest growing categories for sales. It’s been well documented that flower sales have either stalled or declined as oil sales increased. MJ Freeway noted that the flower category share as a percent of total product sales has declined 14% since 2014. Comparably, edible category share growth is up 2% since 2014.

The company went on to say that on average, individual cannabis retail locations have experienced the following product sales growth since 2014:

  • Concentrate sales have grown 412%
  • Edibles have grown 272%
  • Flower sales have grown 149%

Flowhub Data

Cannabis data provider Flowhub has also picked up on this trend in sales growth. The seed-to-sale software company tracked a sample set of cannabis consumers on this holiday over the course of one year. They found that there was an 88% growth in concentrate sales when comparing 7/10/2016 against 7/10/2017 for the same sample set of customers. ($15,053.75 in 2016 and $121,802.14 in 2017). In comparison to an average Monday, sales of concentrates increased 34% on Dabs Day 2017, and in comparison to an average Tuesday, sales of concentrates increased 26% on Dabs Day 2017.

Promotions 

Cannabis oil companies aren’t missing the opportunity to use the holiday to promote their products. The Green Solution is offering up to two grams of NectarBee shatter, wax and pie crust concentrates for $24.95 each on July 10. If there isn’t a dispensary in your area, the online cannabis catalog on iheartjane.com currently has over 20,000+ cannabis products specific to the “extracts” category, which is the largest offering in the world.

If companies aren’t sure how to approach this holiday, MJ Freeway has created two retail guides:

 

 

 


William SumnerWilliam SumnerApril 12, 2018
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3min12660

Flowhub, a provider of compliance software for cannabis companies, announced today that it had entered into an agreement with technological giant Hewlett Packard (HP) to provide the company’s clients with HP’s ElitePOS Retail Point of Sale Terminal.

The ElitePOS Retail Point of Sale Terminal is currently on sale now and can be purchased online through Flowhub’s website. Integrated with the metrc compliance and business management platform, the terminals will help assist dispensary owners in keeping accurate records and staying compliant with state cannabis laws.

“HP is one of the largest and most innovative retail hardware manufacturers in the world,” said Kyle Sherman, CEO of Flowhub. “As we expand to new markets like California, we couldn’t think of a better partner. Retailers in this industry are bombarded with hobbyist software solutions with consumer hardware choices that cause compliance and operation headaches. Flowhub is excited to offer professional retail standard solutions that you’d find in other industries.”

As more states begin to legalize cannabis, the need for hardware and software to track cannabis sales and transportation records has become an ever-increasing concern. Flowhub’s partnership with HP is just the latest in a line of tech companies that have begun working with the cannabis industry.

Tech Giants Join Cannabis Industry

In 2016, Microsoft announced that it would welcome Kind Financial, which is also a cannabis compliance company, onto its Azure Government platform. A little more than a year later, news also broke that IBM had submitted a three-page proposal to the Canadian provincial government of British Columbia endorsing the idea of using blockchain as part of a seed-to-sale tracking system.

“HP is delighted to have our ElitePOS point-of-sale system selected by Flowhub for this comprehensive solution targeted to the growing Cannabis industry,” added Aaron Weiss, HP Vice President and General Manager for Retail Solutions. “Flowhub is one of the original metrc™ approved vendors with years of compliance experience, and HP is delighted to be a key part of the solution in this exciting new regulated industry.”


Peggi CloughPeggi CloughFebruary 13, 2018
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5min13260

Valentine’s Day spending by U.S. consumers is projected to reach $19.6 billion in 2018, according to an annual survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics. That’s up from $18.2 billion spent last year.

Cannabis shopping for the holiday has increased dramatically as well. Colorado-based point-of-sale software company Flowhub compared last year’s weekend sales before Valentine’s Day versus this year’s and reported a 22% increase in total sales year-over-year. Edible sales jumped a whopping 42% over last year

“With the holidays behind them and the winter months dragging along, consumers are looking for something to celebrate this time of year,” said NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay about overall Valentine’s spending. 2018 looks to be the second highest spending year in the survey’s 15-year history, with the most having been spent in 2016—$19.7 billion.

Valentine’s Day was the fourth most popular holiday for cannabis use last year, according to Eaze’s 2017 State of Cannabis report. The report covers current cannabis trends in California and is published annually. It showed use increased across all major holidays in 2017.

Not just for men, either. Eaze also reported that women’s use of cannabis is increasing, from 25 percent of the total users in 2015 to 35 percent in 2017. Their monthly spending increased last year by 20 percent too. Monthly spending on cannabis is up in all age groups from where it was in 2016.

The gift market and choices for cannabis users have grown exponentially in the past few years. The number of products available on Eaze increased by 323 percent from 2016 to 2017. Last year was the first that saw ready-to-use product use surpass flower use.

In 2017, women were more apt to buy cannabis-related health and wellness products, while men were inclined to choose concentrated forms of cannabis.

Non-cannabis Valentine Statistics

Of the 55% of Americans celebrating Valentine’s Day this year, most plan to buy for their spouse or significant other. They expect to spend an average of $88.98, accounting for $12.1 billion of the total spending. The next largest group receiving gifts is family members, averaging $25.29 each, for a total of $3.5 billion.
Many retail stores are running holiday specials and promotions this week in preparation for Valentine’s Day, and cannabis companies and dispensaries are no exception. Be sure to keep this in mind as you finish your Valentine’s Day shopping.

Coworkers shouldn’t expect to fare well this Valentine’s Day: consumers only plan to spend an average of $4.79 on them, while spending $5.50 on pets.

The biggest spenders are in the 25-34 age group; they plan on shelling out an average of $202.76. Almost half of them—41 percent—plan to give gifts of experience, such as concert tickets or vacations.

Jewelry tops the gift categories. It’s expected to be given by 19 percent of buyers, for a total of $4.7 billion. Two other traditional holiday favorites, flowers, and candy will account for $2 billion and $1.8 billion, respectively.

Retailers still have a chance to make sales from those not celebrating the holiday: 27 percent of people in this group plan to observe the day in some way, either by spending it with friends and family or by splurging on themselves.

“Valentine’s Day has become a holiday consumers take advantage of not only to spoil their loved ones but themselves,” Prosper Insights & Analytics Executive Vice President of Strategy Phil Rist said.

 


Debra BorchardtDebra BorchardtJanuary 26, 2018
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3min11960

Kyle Sherman, the founder of cannabis software company Flowhub knew he wanted to be a part of the cannabis industry. His personal experience with anti-depressants and his desire to rid himself of those drugs led to experimentation with medical marijuana. His success with that withdrawal gave him an intense passion to work towards legalizing cannabis so others could benefit as he had.

In 2014, he headed to Denver, Colorado as the legal cannabis market was blossoming. He worked with Dixie Elixirs, WeedMaps and ultimately ended up as a compliance officer. Through this work, he realized that there was no way to report to the seed-to-sale tracking software Metrc through an API (application program interface).

“I started to investigate and look for something that would work. Instead, I built a prototype,” said Sherman. He closed on a seed round of funding in 2015 for Flowhub and was the first to integrate with Metrc’s API. For the business owner, it provides automatic compliance with state regulators by sending back information directly. Flowhub also has a handheld device that cultivators can use to scan barcodes and track plant movement. It can track employee productivity as well, saving employers money and headaches.

On the retail side, Flowhub has a point-of-sale technology and can manage inventory. The company partnered with CannaPay for cashless payments. “We track everything,” said Sherman, noting that all of this tracking protects the business owner.

The California Challenge

His latest challenge is the California market. The state just began legal sales of adult-use marijuana on January 1, but the Metrc system is not in place yet and many businesses are operating with a temporary license. Sherman said he believes that companies will receive permanent licenses when Metrc goes live. “I also think some of the companies with temporary licenses won’t get permanent ones,” he said.

While the Denver market has embraced the regulatory environment, some Californians have been reluctant. “You’ve got folks who are open-minded to this shift and then you have other groups that are operating in the grey market and are resistant to change,” he said. “They don’t want to report to Metrc.” Sherman found this was a tough conversation to have with a lot of long-time cannabis businesses. “A lot of folks are not willing to look at solutions,’ he said.

Of course, at some point, these business rebels will have to capitulate and join the regulatory landscape or face getting shut down. Sherman noted that the savvier business owners realize they have to do this and aren’t fighting it.

 



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