An online marijuana tech platform has raised $10 million in an effort to help bring cannabis brands and dispensaries together, and help streamline the industry.
LeafLink, founded by Ryan Smith and Zach Silverman in 2015, is headquartered in New York and plans to use their new funding to bring weed into the 21st century.
“The industry is at a really exciting point right now where it’s still in startup mode. That means exceptional growth is coming over the next 18 months,” Smith told The Daily Caller News Foundation. Smith, who is only 26, was named to Forbes’ 30 under 30 list in 2016 making him the first marijuana tycoon to be recognized in that category.
LeafLink’s website serves as a “business to business marketplace” helping cannabis retailers manage inventory, and track orders electronically. Four hundred brands and 1,700 dispensaries operate on the platform every day, according to Smith.
“Our main focus is to define this industry and really set a new standard for the industry platform, to empower the pioneers of this movement,” he said. “It deserves all the same tools and platforms that any other multi-billion dollar industry takes for granted.”
The funding for LeafLink’s expansion came from Nosara Capital, a London-based firm, along with Casa Verde, a venture capital firm with past investments in the weed industry. They have also received money from Lerer Hippeau Ventures, that is known for investing in companies like Venmo.
The funds will mainly be used to reach into new markets across the country and expand the company’s engineering team. LeafLink is live in six states (Arizona, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, California) and has plans to expand to more states.
The company also plans on getting involved in lobbying and advertising campaigns, to push for more marijuana legalization laws, according to Smith.
“We want to get more aggressive in that department. It’s great for the industry, it’s great for our clients, it’s great for us,” he said. “We are defining something from the very beginning. This is the perfect opportunity to set the standard because it’s all so new.”
LeafLink hopes their improvements will increase efficiency, and help pass the cost savings down to marijuana consumers.
“Our platform will add efficiency that will ideally reduce the cost of moving the product from A to B to C, which then means that less money will need to be collected from the ultimate end retail user, or patient,” Smith said.
Smith believes full legalization in the U.S. is imminent.
“To me it seems quite clear what society and what the momentum is moving towards. The inevitability for marijuana legalization is seemingly around the corner for the United States. It’s just one of the cases where the legal frameworks is behind societal progress,” he concluded.
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