Simplifya Archives - Green Market Report

Debra BorchardtApril 25, 2022
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29min2060

Cannabis investors have seen stock prices tumble even as cannabis companies report increasing sales. Green Market Report recently asked some leaders in the cannabis industry how they felt about the market in general despite the market pessimism.

Brandon Pollock, CEO and Co-founder of Theory Wellness

Theory Wellness, Inc. is an independently owned and operated vertically integrated cannabis brand. The company operates retail, cultivation, and product manufacturing across Massachusetts and Maine, including the cannabis-infused seltzer brand Hi5. 

  • Leading analysts have recently projected reduced short-term cannabis industry growth, with a less than optimistic outlook for federal reform. Do you agree with this projection?

From our view, no, we feel as optimistic as ever about the growth and future of regulated cannabis and have no concerns about the trajectory of the market. In our view, stock market prices are not a good indication of actual on-the-ground performance and the expectations of many independent operators. Especially on the East Coast, we’re expecting explosive growth in the next few years as New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut implements adult-use sales. On the Federal side, it’s only a matter of time before cannabis becomes legal, as it is one of the policies most supported by the American populace.

  • What may be causing the current market pessimism? 

Generally, it seems this pessimism has risen from the sluggishness of Federal reform coupled with the underperformance of publicly traded cannabis companies. We’ve seen multiple large-scale multi-state operators (MSOs) posting revenue misses or struggling with profitability. From our view, we are slightly surprised by how much the market seems to value Federal changes in law, as many organizations are not prepared to handle such a monumental shift in the first place, and many businesses ascribe significant value to the moats they build around themselves on a state-by-state basis – especially in markets with limited numbers of licenses. 

  •  Do you agree with analysts who are saying that the current landscape will help MSOs consolidate the industry? If so, what is the projected industry impact? 

We would generally disagree – many consolidation strategies and deals are based on using stock as currency, and with depressed stock prices and heightened uncertainty of the future, many independent operators will be wary of deals that may have looked attractive twelve months ago. The only exception may be increased activity from smaller publicly traded companies combining all stock transactions with larger counterparts.

  • When can we expect market projections to turn back around? Federal legalization prospects?

On a macro scale, both are contingent on one another. The larger MSOs betting big on legalization cast the most considerable shadow over the industry. Until legalization starts to loom, market forecasts may not brighten. However, we still believe that smaller independent operators in the industry might be running with a narrative contrary to the gloomy forecast surrounding the largest operators.

Andrew Thut, Chief Investment Officer at 4Front Ventures

Headquartered in Phoenix, AZ, 4Front Ventures Corp. (CSE: FFNT) (OTCQX: FFNTF) is a national, vertically integrated multi-state cannabis operator with operations in strategic medical and adult-use cannabis markets, including California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Washington. 

  • Leading analysts have recently projected reduced short-term cannabis industry growth, with a less than optimistic outlook for federal reform. Do you agree with this projection?

It’s true that MSOs and cannabis stocks, in general, have sold off over the last year, but there’s a bigger question here: are companies struggling from a business perspective? Right now, there is a risk-asset sell-off and overall market volatility. As such, growth stocks like those involving MSOs, for example, have been selling off. Perceptions around the larger cannabis markets have also been under pressure recently. Take sentiment around California as an example; challenges such as pricing pressures, oversupply, and the illicit market continue to affect confidence in the sector. We feel differently here at 4Front, and see the huge opportunity to take advantage of those same perceived challenges and have focused accordingly. Production of low-cost, high-end products with scale efficiencies is a proven 4Front strategy that will allow us to build real value in the largest cannabis market in the world, while challenging public perspective along the way. 

  • What may be causing the current market pessimism? 

Our view is that current market sentiment is due to SAFE banking and cannabis liberalization being stalled, temporarily we believe, at the federal level. Legalization and liberalization will be major steps forward, but at the end of the day, they won’t transform enough of the sector to prevent risk-asset sell-off; ultimately, strong and reputable companies will be the ones to do that. Meanwhile, we can’t just sit idly by and wait for wide-sweeping federal reforms to be enacted. When Biden won, there was a lot more optimism that such reforms would be enacted – but with a split Congress, intense party allegiances, and the unwillingness of politicians to work with their counterparts across the aisle, reform measures have stood in limbo. This has led to disillusionment among investors, which has further hindered industry momentum. Whether you’re talking about 4Front, the folks at Cresco, Trulieve or another top-performing MSO, we are all going to continue focusing on building robust businesses, optimizing our production processes, building consumer awareness and loyalty, and strengthening our fundamentals. 

  • Do you agree with analysts who are saying that the current landscape will help MSOs consolidate the industry? If so, what is the projected industry impact? 

We agree with those analysts who believe the current landscape will help MSOs consolidate the industry. Smaller companies with less capital and less efficient processes will benefit from being acquired by larger companies that have optimized production and scaling capabilities. In the case of 4Front, we feel the innovative automation processes we’ve developed in California at our state-of-the art Commerce facility could easily be applied to a broader portfolio and an even larger footprint, realizing nearly immediate value in a consolidated model. We know that other operators have similarly improved their processes, which will lead to further inevitable consolidation. Increased consolidation will bring greater efficiencies and innovation, which will ultimately benefit consumers as prices will be more affordable and there will be more refined, higher quality, consistent products on the market. 

  • When do we expect market projections to turn back around? Federal legalization prospects?

Even as the House just passed SAFE banking for the sixth time, it is yet again doubtful that the Senate will follow suit before the midterms. Without SAFE banking, US institutional investors are still locked out of the market. Their hands are tied. But on the flip side, this presents a huge opportunity for retail investors, who under normal circumstances would only hear about companies like 4Front after all institutional money has already flowed in.

I have spent a lot of time on the buy-side in the small-cap space, and what we’re seeing in U.S. cannabis is truly unique. No other industry has as many quality high-growth companies with solid fundamentals and sustained profitability with such low valuations. With that in perspective, investors’ concerns about the future of cannabis are a bit shortsighted. Investors need to focus on well-run, well-capitalized, promising cannabis companies with good long-term prospects, and then adopt a buy and hold strategy. Eventually, the wider market will care – and when it does, it will care a LOT. To get ahead, I think investors need to think about 4Front and the other MSOs as they would a business in any other sector: you’re buying a share of a business – is the business solid? At 4Front, we’re growing and doing it in a way that supports the bottom line; on top of this, investors should keep the following in mind: cannabis is a kicker that will provide a huge upside when inevitable regulatory reform passes.

Robert McEvoy, Vice President of Customer Success, Corporate Development, and Government Affairs at Agrify Corp.

Agrify Corp. is a rapidly growing developer of premium grow solutions for the indoor agriculture marketplace. 

  • Leading analysts have recently projected reduced short-term cannabis industry growth, with a less than optimistic outlook for federal reform. Do you agree with this projection?

The notion that cannabis outlooks are less than rosy is inconsistent with national acceptance perspectives, high-profile celebrity involvement, and increased M&A and investment activity. Looking ahead, more and more states are actively considering implementing adult-use sales, establishing medical programs, or expanding existing markets. Over the last year, New Jersey and New York have taken significant steps in launching adult-use programs projected to be multi-billion dollar markets for each state. States such as Ohio and Oklahoma have not only built robust medical industries but have created profitable single-state operators primed for expansion in and out of state. Further, the new wave momentum of purpose-built companies and products that focus on social equity, sustainable agriculture, and delighting an increasingly segmented customer base, is fostering a fertile environment for existing brands to be reborn, and providing new-to-world products an inclusive space to succeed.

  • What may be causing the current market pessimism? 

Short-term cannabis faced two impactful circumstances back-to-back over the last two years: a vaporizer crisis fueled by illicit products making consumers sick, and a global pandemic resulting in lockdowns and supply chain problems. That said, state regulators’ mistrust of unfamiliar vaporizer products was met with credible lab-based testing and transparency in operator quality control programs – each of which bolstered consumer confidence and highlighted bad actors, both legal and illegal. Counterfeit and cheap products have penetrated non-regulated consumer channels for centuries, so I can’t realistically call adverse reactions to carelessly made, non-tested illicit products with harmful additives an unforeseen circumstance. However, accurate and informative health and safety campaigns should have been carried out more responsibly, particularly by state agencies tasked with helping the public differentiate between safe, lab-tested products and non-compliant mystery oil. Regarding the pandemic, clearly its global presence and reach were unexpected – but beginning in February 2020, operators throughout the industry had a choice: either acknowledge and proactively plan for an unknown timeline of the virus’ impact, or continue business as usual with minimal adjustments, troubleshooting as time goes on. A large part of succeeding in this industry is accepting unpredictability and remaining operationally nimble.

  • Do you agree with analysts who are saying that the current landscape will help MSOs consolidate the industry? If so, what is the projected industry impact? 

Consolidation is an inevitability of any industry, no matter the commodity or service that is monetized. While MSO acquisitions will continue, so will the development of joint venture partnerships between single state operators creating rapid multi-state market share. There’s an increase in new state initiatives aiming to empower local residents, small to midsize businesses, and regionally popular brands through micro-licenses with future expansion capabilities and uncapped operator counts. In terms of industry impact, why should we think cannabis CPGs would be any different from the multitude of products currently produced by large and small companies alike? Ultimately, the customer is in control of where they spend their money and what they spend it on. The industry will continue to be shaped by operators who listen to their customer base in all aspects, from production practices to lifestyle identity. 

  • When can we expect market projections to turn back around? Federal legalization prospects?

My optimism has never left the market potentials and projections discussion. In fact, with brand licensing, white labeling, contract services, and expanded licensing categories to include onsite consumption and home delivery, more growth opportunities exist today than ever before. As for federal legalization, prospects have never been within industry grasp, and will not be any time soon. I think it is more likely that states with similar programs that share borders will build governmental coalitions to allow for interstate transport, shared resource allocation, and tax collection, placing consequent pressure on the federal government to act before the legislative and executive branches enact reform on their own.

Brooke Butler, VP of Partnerships, Simplifya

Headquartered in Denver, CO, Simplifya is the leading advanced technologies and software platform powering regulatory and operational compliance for owners, operators, insurers, law firms, municipalities, governments; regulatory bodies; and cannabis-related banking and financial institutions with remaining compliant under FinCEN Cannabis Banking Guidance. 

  • Leading analysts have recently projected reduced short-term cannabis industry growth, with a less than optimistic outlook for federal reform. Do you agree with this projection?

While certain parts of the cannabis industry may have experienced a downturn, others like our business saw steady to accelerated growth. There has certainly been disappointment and disillusionment over the Biden administration not enacting legalization at the federal level, but I expect more states to take legalization into their own hands, making federal reform less and less of a growth hindrance. Just because there is currently market volatility and risk-asset sell-off, this does not reflect the overall health of the cannabis sector. In fact, we expect to see continued growth as several key markets such as New York, New Jersey, New Mexico and more are in the process of getting their adult-use programs off the ground and running, increasing consumer access to legal cannabis. 

  • What may be causing the current market pessimism? 

There were high expectations after the 2020 national election that the incoming Biden administration would push for federal reform, at least on some level, but the lack of movement on that front has disappointed a lot of investors. While I personally had a more hopeful outlook for some widespread cannabis reform being enacted at the federal level, I was not surprised by the market reaction and how quickly sentiments changed when it became clear federal reform likely wouldn’t pass before midterms. Even aside from cannabis, the stock market as a whole is performing poorly, and investors have been selling their shares in promising companies that are not yet profitable. Expectations have lowered across the board and this has exacerbated the downward pressure on cannabis stocks. 

Many investors seemed to think federal legalization would be a magic bullet without which the industry would suffer – however we have seen that is not the case. Cannabis companies are still blazing forward, optimizing their strategies and fortifying their business. Due to the hindrances brought on by the lack of federal legalization, cannabis companies have been forced to be agile and tactical to compete, and this has bolstered the sector as a whole. While ultimately we’re striving for federal legalization, to really get capital into the space, legalization alone will not suffice. Institutional investors need effective means of vetting companies to recognize worthy prospects. The way we’ll get there is with more companies utilizing RegTech solutions to demonstrate their compliance and organizational strengths.

  • Do you agree with analysts who are saying that the current landscape will help MSOs consolidate the industry? If so, what is the projected industry impact? 

Yes, I think we will undoubtedly continue to see consolidation in the industry. Interest rates are projected to rise and smaller companies will have an even harder time accruing the capital necessary to build out operations and scale, so they will benefit by being acquired by larger, more established companies. On the flip side, given the fractured regulatory landscape and the fact that interstate commerce is not on the horizon, larger companies will benefit from acquiring smaller companies that already have operations in place in states they want to enter. Larger cannabis companies are not banking on interstate commerce becoming a reality anytime in the imminent future, so they’re opting for M&A to foster growth in new markets.  That being said, I hope we see individual states helping to lower the barriers to entry for social equity licensees and smaller operators so we can establish a balance as the industry continues to grow. M&A should not be the only path forward for small businesses to survive.

  • When do we expect market projections to turn back around? Federal legalization prospects?

It is difficult to surmise when optimism will return to the market, as you never know with politics how things are going to shake out, but I do think people will look to see if and how cannabis reform is framed and discussed leading up to the midterm elections. The election results, as well as the rhetoric candidates use to discuss cannabis, will give us a clearer projection on what the path to federal legalization will look like. Outside of federal legalization efforts, you have to keep an eye on SAFE Banking; if that passes, it would make a huge positive impact on market sentiment.

Rob Sechrist, President of Pelorus Equity Group and Co-Manager of the Pelorus Fund

Headquartered in Newport Beach, CA, Pelorus Equity Group is the largest privately held provider of value-add bridge commercial real estate loans to entrepreneurs operating cannabis-use properties. The Company’s Pelorus Fund, a private mortgage real estate investment trust (“mREIT”), offers a range of innovative transactional solutions addressing the diverse needs of real estate investors and portfolio managers.

  • Leading analysts have recently projected reduced short-term cannabis industry growth, with a less than optimistic outlook for federal reform. Do you agree with this projection?

Yes and no. Last year, we experienced 434% year-over-year growth, and many other ancillary businesses also saw astounding growth in the sector. With operators moving into new states, much of our growth was fueled by a surge in build-outs, expansions and improvements. Some analysts in the marketplace may be failing to take a hard look at the long-term growth that we expect to see when these buildouts are operational. On paper, that revenue is not yet online for many of the operators, but it will be. So while there’s a mix of companies that are currently seeing sustainable growth and others that are lagging behind, this is only part of the story. Analysts should consider innovative companies that have not yet achieved growth but are expected to in the near future. Long term, we are confident that the sector will be one of the best growth opportunities in a generation. 

  • What may be causing the current market pessimism? 

Though the cannabis industry has added hundreds of thousands of jobs, millions in tax dollars, and large-scale infrastructure projects without receiving government handouts, the current administration appears reluctant to use any remaining political capital on driving cannabis legislation. Unfortunately, despite the public comments supporting cannabis reform during the run up to the last election, government inertia in this sector is far from surprising; it’s certainly caused a lot of disillusionment and pessimism, which has been holding back the industry as a whole. One way for the current administration to signal to the country that they are pro-cannabis would be to reinstate the Cole Memo, which was rescinded in 2018. The Cole Memo laid out key guidelines for what federal representatives should focus on in enforcing cannabis, which created a sustainable framework where legal cannabis industries and federal enforcement agencies could peacefully coexist. The rescission brought more uncertainty and fear in the eyes of investors; if the government were to reinstate, this would bring about more optimism in the cannabis space. 

  • When do we expect market projections to turn back around? Federal legalization prospects?

Perhaps this is a bit bleak, but I think the prospect of federal legalization will likely only be attainable once the next administration, whether it be Democrat or Republican, has majority control of both the House and the Senate. The stark divide between parties has unfortunately become a defining characteristic of modern American politics, and as a result, progress for cannabis on the federal level has been at a standstill. In the meantime, we need to keep educating investors and shift general rhetoric away from the notion that federal legalization will be a catch-all to uplift this industry. There are many cannabis companies that have managed to thrive without federal legalization and this demonstrates the ingenuity and agility that characterizes much of the sector. If investors focus more on company fundamentals and specific state legislative actions that open the doors to more prosperity in the cannabis space, there will be revitalized optimism

 


StaffMarch 23, 2022
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3min1360

SIMPLIFYA

KATRINA SKINNER – GENERAL COUNSEL AND CHIEF BANKING OFFICER, SIMPLIFYA

What is your proudest accomplishment in the cannabis industry? 

With the ongoing conflict between federal and state marijuana laws, I pride myself on regularly working within legal confines to create sound solutions for clients who are taking incredible risks to build this industry.

 

Do you feel that the cannabis industry has more opportunities for female-identifying people than other industries?

I do, largely because as an industry it’s very new and has attracted participants who are not as concerned with limiting opportunities. Instead, there seems to be a common reflex to look to individuals, regardless of gender, who can bring their skills, passions, and resolve to make things happen. With so many shared goals, it’s not a space with much room or time for prejudice.

 

Do you feel you have to work twice as hard as male colleagues or do you think the industry has moved past that? 

In this particular industry, I think everyone has to work at least twice as hard as they do in traditional industries to find success, because it’s cannabis. Most people in this environment seem to understand that many of the hurdles this industry faces, on both social and federal levels, are due to ignorance – so I have not encountered much of it on this side of the table.

 

What was your biggest challenge in business and how did you overcome it?

It’s very difficult navigating such a complex set of regulations, which vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, in a space that violates federal law. So far, knock on wood, we have overcome any hiccups by taking a more conservative approach that still embraces measured risk.

 

What has you or your company done to help give more opportunities for women?

It’s really all about providing the space. Simplifya has been sure to not only establish leadership roles for women, but to build a professional team that is nearly halfway comprised of women. 

 

What are your personal goals for 2022?

I’m focused on leveraging long-term relationships within the cannabis industry to create valuable partnerships. In turn, such partnerships will spark new and collective growth opportunities for those involved, likely in innovative and unexpected ways.


StaffOctober 8, 2021
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15min1930

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. 

 


StaffApril 27, 2020
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4min941

Cannabis investors are still writing checks despite the ongoing bear market for the industry. Although it does seem like the bulk of that money is shifting towards software brands. The latest company to announce a successful fundraising campaign is Simplifya. 

This company closed on $1.5 million of its currently over-subscribed bridge round and the company said it expects to close an additional $1 million as part of the expanded round in the next 30-45 days. Simplifya is a provider of regulatory and operational compliance software for the cannabis industry.

“We have been incredibly fortunate to have investors and a board of directors who understand the value of compliance, and the need for risk mitigation in this industry,” said Marion Mariathasan, Simplifya CEO. “Their support, combined with the passion of our team, is what has allowed us to build and innovate the type of content-driven compliance technology that we are bringing to the industry on an enterprise-level.” 

Certainly one of the reasons investors felt secure enough to jump in is that over the past year Simplifya’s client base and revenue have nearly doubled. The company continues to diversify its core product offerings to help streamline and manage operational compliance, and establish channel partnerships and collaborations, such as the collaboration announced on April 6, 2020, with industry leader Akerna (Nasdaq: KERN). Simplifya also works with major channel partners, industry associations, financial institutions, and insurance companies as it pushes for more awareness around the critical importance of compliance and risk mitigation.

“At the rate and pace at which we are growing, it is our hope that Simplifya will someday serve as the nucleus for compliance and risk mitigation standards and services for the cannabis industry,” continued Mariathasan. “We know that compliance will be critical to the expansion and legitimacy of the cannabis industry as it continues to grow, and we are proud to do our part to support it.”

What They Do

Cannabis compliance and risk mitigation can often be hard to understand in a practical manner as to what exactly are the nuts and bolts of staying within the rules and regulations. One example is Simplifya Verified which is a fast, easy-to-use search engine that provides all of the data points needed for cannabis license verification, taking the guesswork out of business transactions and delivering ancillary service companies, like insurance providers and financial institutions. The products are available in 18 states, with key features that include straightforward self-audit checklists, SOP templates customized by license type and tied directly to the state regulations, and an online Smart Cabinet document storage system.


William SumnerJuly 23, 2019
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4min1050

It’s time for your Daily Hit of cannabis financial news for July 23, 2019.

On the Site

Consumer Preference Is Shaping Cannabis Consumption

As the restrictions on cannabis start loosening, new consumer demands are shaping the industry. The following infographic is contributed content from Ionic Brands.

Executive Spotlight: Marion Mariathasan of Simplifya

If there is someone who exemplifies a smart investor in the cannabis industry, it’s Marion Mariathasan, currently the co-founder and CEO of Simplifya, the industry’s leading regulatory compliance tool for licensees and those who audit them. Green Market Report caught up with Mariathasan to hear about his path to where he is now in the cannabis space.

Amplify Investments

Amplify Investments is getting into the cannabis industry. Today, Amplify ETF’s announced the launch of Amplify Seymour Cannabis ETF (NYSE Arca: CNBS), an actively managed ETF covering the cannabis industry. Tim Seymour, CIO of Seymour Asset Management and CNBC Fast Money co-host, will act as the fund’s portfolio manager.

In Other News

Curaleaf

Today, Curaleaf Holdings (OTCMKTS: CURLF) received a warning letter from the United States Food and Drug Administration regarding what the agency says are unsubstantiated health claims on its products; including the company’s  CBD Lotion, Pain-Relief Patch, Tincture, Disposable Vape Pen, and its Bido CBD for Pets. “You should take prompt action to correct the violations cited…” reads the letter. “Failure to promptly correct these violations may result in legal action without further notice, including, without limitation, seizure and injunction.” Curaleaf has 15 days to respond to the FDA’s letter and take corrective actions.

Sundial Growers

Sundial Growers, an early-stage Canadian cannabis producer, announced today the terms of its initial public offering (IPO). Hoping to raise $130 million, the company is offering 10 million shares ranging in price between $12 and $14. Founded in 2006, the company recorded an annual revenue of $1 million. Sundial hopes to lists its shares on the NASDAQ market under the symbol SNDL.  Cowen, BMO Capital Markets, RBC Capital Markets, Barclays, and CIBC Capital Markets are leading the IPO as joint bookrunners.


Anne-Marie FischerJuly 23, 2019
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8min890

If there is someone who exemplifies a smart investor in the cannabis industry, it’s Marion Mariathasan, currently the co-founder and CEO of Simplifya, the industry’s leading regulatory compliance tool for licensees and those who audit them.

Mariathasan is a serial investor and entrepreneur if there ever was one. More attracted to ancillary cannabis services and solutions, he has personally founded or invested in about 14 different cannabis companies, including Ceylon Solutions, providing high-quality development solutions for the cannabis industry. He is also the largest shareholder of Leafwire, a platform for companies and investors to create funding relationships, and continues to be on the Boards of several organizations.

Green Market Report caught up with Mariathasan to hear about his path to where he is now in the cannabis space. 

Name: Marion Mariathasan

Title: Co-Founder/CEO 

Company: Simplifya

Years at current company: “I wish I could take credit for this concept,” says Mariathasan, explaining that the renowned cannabis law firm Vicente Sederberg LLP is to be attributed to the idea surrounding compliance software. Mariathasan came on board in October 2016 as the company’s first investor, making his commitment in February 2106 in advance of the launch. 

Education profile: Mariathasan is certainly well-equipped to take on a role in the tech side of cannabis. A graduate from the University of Kansas and Emporia State University, studying Architecture, Computer Science, and Computer Information Systems, his career emerged at the forefront of technology. He began his work as a computer programmer for a leading medical software company and has since held positions in some of the world’s leading tech companies. 

Most successful professional accomplishment before cannabis: It’s difficult for Mariathasan to isolate just one successful professional accomplishment before making his foray into cannabis. Mariathasan is responsible for staring a handful of tech companies, so he sees his success as more cumulative. “What I’m most proud of is taking a concept that aims to solve a problem, and being able to build upon it, grow it, raise money, and sell it.”

Company Mission: Simplifya gives businesses the power to delegate, review, and proactively manage compliance tasks across all facilities and license types. With easy-to-use tools for scheduling, audit management, and tracking issues, Simplifya gives license holders a 360-degree view of their compliance. According to Mariathasan, their mission extends “to enable the cannabis industry and the movement to continue forward by helping license holders preserve their license. License is the most valuable asset that they have. If they’re not compliant from a regulatory and operational perspective, can get hundreds of dollar fines or lose their license.” 

Company’s most successful achievement: Through working with its partners and cannabis license holders, Simplifya has learned and understood the pain points of the license holder and create technology around it. To make this possible, Simplifya has created relationships all around the industry that puts compliance at the forefront and have the industry value it. “It takes a village”, says Mariathasan, “The investors coupled with the team has been our best achievement thus far, but as we bring on multi-license operators, mom and pop shops, government stores, is what makes this feel like we know we’re at the right place.” 

Has the company raised any capital? In December of last year, it was announced that Simplifya had raised $3 million in Series C funding from the private equity fund Merida Capital Partners. It was announced then that they would pursue additional funding, and this sure occurred to the tune of $7.3 million raised through a Founder’s round, and the series of funding rounds, including the last Series C round completed by Merida Capital. “The investors are second to none in this industry,” Mariathasan remarks. 

Any plans on raising capital in the future?: Simplifya plans to hold another raise of capital towards the end of this year to help with the company’s expansion. “We’re in 17 states right now,” explains Mariathasan, “Now we have opportunities to go into more states and international. Our initial focus was marijuana dispensaries, and now we’re bringing what Simplifya has to offer to governments, banks, and insurance companies.”

Most important company 5-year goal: “We exist to make cannabis easier to operate in,” says Mariathasan, “We serve medical marijuana dispensaries, and we’re helping governments, banks, and insurance companies with mitigating the risks that come with legal cannabis while streamlining projects.” 

Thus, Simplifya will continue to make relationships with companies within and external to the cannabis industry. “Government didn’t have the expertise to enforce the regulations they created,” says Mariathasan, “Now it’s easier to stay on top of the cumbersome regulations, as we can now help manage cannabis compliance from a government perspective.” 

What does Mariathasan attribute to the success of Simplifya? “A lot comes down to the team and their experience with cannabis. If they can put a strategic plan together, and execute it, while building a personal connection then we are successful together.”

 


Debra BorchardtDecember 20, 2018
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Regulatory compliance software company Simplifya has secured $3 million in Series C funding from private equity fund Merida Capital Partners. In addition to the $3 million, the company said that there was the possibility to raise an additional $2 million.

Merida Capital Partners is a private equity fund that targets fundamental growth drivers within the cannabis industry. The Merida team has been working with state legal cannabis companies since 2009 and investing in cannabis-related companies since 2012. It has invested in companies like KushCo Holdings (OTC: KSHB), GrowGeneration (OTC: GRWG) and Canndescent.

Simplifya said the new round of funding will be used for continued growth and expansion, both nationally and internationally. The new investment follows a $3 million Series B funding round that was closed in February 2018, which was used to add human capital and capture market opportunities. Since the beginning of the year, the company has nearly tripled its staff and quadrupled its client base.

Simplifya introduced its web-based compliance tool in Colorado in late 2016, and it expanded its services this year to include CaliforniaMarylandMassachusettsMichiganNevadaOregon, and Ohio. It is currently being utilized by cannabis retailers, cultivators, and product manufacturers in dozens of localities across the eight states.

“Across the U.S. and around the world, cannabis prohibition laws are crumbling and giving way to tightly regulated systems of cultivation, product manufacturing, and sales,” said Simplifya CEO Marion Mariathasan. “Regulatory compliance is critical to the success of every business that enters these new markets. It can be difficult in such a nascent industry, where rules are quickly evolving and the whole system is constantly under the microscope. Simplifya makes it as simple as possible for cannabis companies to maintain compliance, so they can focus more attention on growing their businesses and gaining their footing in this new industry.”

Simplifya’s web-based self-auditing system distills complex state and local regulations into a simple series of yes-or-no questions to facilitate self-audits, identify areas of noncompliance, hold employees accountable for remediation, and generate management and audit reports. Simplifya’s SOP feature automates the assigning, tracking, and versioning of standard operating procedures, while its Smart Cabinet feature houses all of a business’s most important compliance documents under the same roof.


Jack SmithJanuary 12, 2018
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Simplifya, which builds regulatory compliance software for the cannabis industry, said on Thursday that it had raised $1 million as part of a larger Series B funding round.
The funding round, which the company said could reach $3 million when it’s completed, has a number of investors, including Merida Capital Partners, who provided the initial $1 million commitment.
“Simplifya’s compliance tool has helped companies across Colorado navigate a constantly evolving regulatory landscape and set an example for the rest of the nation,” said Simplifya CEO and co-founder Marion Mariathasan in a statement, announcing the capital raise.
Mariathasan added the company’s goal is to make it as easy as possible for the legal cannabis industry to comply with state and local regulations. “This round of funding will allow us to expand into additional markets and develop more features to help cannabis businesses not just survive, but thrive,” Mariathasan said.
The investment comes at a time when the regulatory field is at a crossroads, after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded memos from the Obama administration, specifically the Cole memo that allows for the medical or recreational use of marijuana.
“The recent DOJ marijuana policy shake-up might have raised concerns for some cannabis industry investors, but it strengthens the case for investing in Simplifya,” said Brian Vicente, a co-founder of Simplifya and founding partner of Vicente Sederberg LLC, one of the nation’s leading cannabis law firms. “The cannabis industry is a compliance industry. Now more than ever, businesses are going to want to be in clear compliance with state and local laws, and they are going to need assistance.”
Despite Sessions’ attempt to curb the use of legalized marijuana, many experts believe his actions may, in fact, do the opposite, helping it to become legal.
In an op-ed for CNN, Michael Chernis a Los Angeles-based attorney and expert specializing in the cannabis industry wrote it would help the industry. “If Sessions intended to quell the enthusiasm of California’s cannabis business enthusiasts and government officials, he once again fell short,” Chernis wrote.
The investment comes at a crucial time for Simplifya, which has boosted its compliance offerings as California’s adult-use system comes online. The company said that the investment by Merida will help it grow its tools, which already include allowing them to delegate, review and manage compliance tasks. They also have tools for audit management, scheduling and keeping track of certain issues.
Merida Capital Partners managing partner Mitchell Baruchowitz said the investment in Simplifya highlights the company’s promise, citing other investors who have previously invested in the company.
 “The fact that Simplifya is backed by cannabis industry leaders like Vicente Sederberg and Hypur Ventures, and partnered with companies like New Frontier Data, just furthers our belief that they are going to play a key, long-term role in this nascent industry,” Baruchowitz said in the release. “Product trends will come and go, but regulatory compliance will always be of paramount importance to every successful cannabis company.”

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