One of the things I enjoy most about the marijuana industry is the amount of growth and innovation that’s happening. And while the innovation happening with actual cannabis products is exciting, I admit that I get really stoked over the amount of companies developing ancillary products and services for the market. Which meant I was estatic to attend Canopy’s introduction night for their new cohort in Boulder last week.
Canopy is a venture fund and business accelerator for cannabis companies. They pick 10 companies, provide the startups with $30,000 in seed funding, and put them through a 16 week program to build their businesses. And it works. Some of the local companies I admire (and have reviewed) are graduates of Canopy. You’ve probably heard of a few: Stash Logix, Healthy Headie, elevate accessories (I STILL want to get my hands on some of their products!)
I didn’t have the opportunity to talk with all of the founders, but the few I had time with were enlightening in their thoughts about the future of the industry. I walked away from those discussions with a couple of key thoughts.
Data is the next frontier
Because of regulations here in Colorado, we have a LOT of data about what’s being grown, sold, and bought. What we don’t have is data on who’s doing the buying. Both Cannabis Big Data and Solutions Vending are looking at the problem of acquiring consumer data and integrating it back into the dispensary/producer. I’ve worked for multi-national corporations that don’t have the kind of business intelligence that Cannabis Big Data is providing in its slick and easy to navigate interface.
Make it easy
This applies to both the grower and the consumer. Bloom Automation is working on creating robots that trim to reduce the amount of time it takes to get a grow harvested. And Firesale is making it easy for consumers to get exactly what they want. They’ve created a reservation app that allows you to find what you want based off of strain, price, or potency and then reserve it with that dispensary. You’ve got 24 hours to pick up. You’ll never miss out on your favorite strain again.
I’ll be checking in with the companies over the next 4 months to see how they’re doing and developing. It’s an exciting time for the industry!
The ten companies included in the spring cohort include:
- Snapp Digital provides ad control for digital networks. Snapp’s platform allows advertisers to buy ad space and manage content from a simple dashboard, solving the problem of buying and managing ad space in a simplified and cost-effective platform. Founded by Dustin Lato and Ron Warner of Cleveland, Ohio.
- Solutions Vending believes smart vending machines aren’t smart enough. SVI utilizes facial recognition software to convert standard vending machines into an intelligent data collection kiosk, collecting valuable purchasing information. Founded by Dawn Dickson of Miami, Florida.
- Who Is Happy connects cannabis consumers around the globe with an international geo-location based social network. Launched in 2016, the app quickly grew to 170,000 users and has almost 1M check-ins to date. Founded by Joao Paulo Costa and Henrique Torelli.
- Cannabis Big Data integrates with data sources such as POS and accounting to publish critical business management reports that identify areas for improved efficiencies and revenue. Founded by Henry Finkelstein of Colorado Springs, Colorado.
- Sana Packaging believes current packaging solutions are wasteful, don’t store efficiently, and don’t allow space for branding and compliance labels. Sana offers rectangular, stackable cannabis containers made from biodegradable hemp-based plastic, resulting in a reduction of their carbon footprint by eliminating traditional petroleum-based plastic from the equation. Founded by Ron Basak-Smith of Easton, Connecticut and James Eichner of Montagnola, Switzerland.
- Bloom Automation provides robotics for the cannabis industry. A solution for the high cost of manual labor, Bloom creates high-tech robotics that allow for tasks within a cultivation setting to be automated. Founded by Jon Gowa of Boston, Massachusetts.
- CannaZoning is a platform that provides visualization of state and local marijuana zoning laws, helping businesses understand the lay of the land, filter the noise, and avoid costly pitfalls associated with cannabis business zoning. Founded by Ben Livingston of Seattle, Washington.
- Firesale uses geo-mapping technology to provide real-time information on cannabis deals in any location. Its user-friendly search functionality allows consumers to find flower based on potency, strain or price. Founded by Damien Payne and Clay Nutting of Sacramento, California.
- Estrohaze is a cannabis-focused media outlet designed to break the stigma surrounding women and minorities. The platform includes resources, career opportunities, and lifestyle content that focuses on women of color benefiting from the cannabis plant. Founded by Safon Floyd, Kali Wilder and Sirita Wright of Brooklyn, New York.
- Croptimize provides technology to drive efficiencies for growers, encouraging energy savings and conservation. They optimize demand profiles and reduce operating expenses through machine learning to leverage rate structure management and utility incentives. Founded by Kevin Mayer of Boulder, Colorado.