When profits are estimated to grow 700 percent by 2020, everyone wants in. According to numbers provided by The Hemp Business Journal, the cannabis market could grow to $2.1 billion in just a few years.
This huge leap in profits and market share is partly due to the role that tech has played in the research of cannabis. Along with the many ways that it can be marketed and its diverse properties appreciated. Cannabis, which contains THC and CBD, is being researched and studied for a huge range of benefits outside of the “high” it gives.
The tech industry is uniquely situated to help position cannabis products in a palatable way. As one article in Business Insider revealed, many tech execs are leaving Silicon Valley to invest in cannabis startups. That or to launch their own cannabis-related product.
Here are some of the ways that tech is supersizing cannabis growth.
- On-demand cannabis delivery, Eaze.
This startup is considered the Uber of cannabis products. Eaze helps marijuana patients get their cannabis products delivered right to their door. Consumers are used to using apps to make purchases, and Eaze taps into this vein. The founder of Eaze was one of the first employees of Yammer, a social network startup that was bought by Microsoft.
Making use of the desire for instant delivery and with the technology to provide it, Eaze has locked onto the ideal consumer audience. In a company report, figures showed that the majority of users were millennials at 57 percent. And 49 percent had an annual income of $75,000 or more.
It is currently breaking records as the highest funded startup in tech history. In October 2016, they announced that they had closed $13 million in new funding, bringing their total funding to $25 million.
- The Amazon of cannabis, Meadow.
Meadow is looking like the Amazon of cannabis for sellers. Sellers who need powerful software tailored to the cannabis industry are choosing Meadow. And for good reason. Meadow provides an all in one system that includes delivery logistics, in store POS, inventory management, and much more. They also, very importantly keep track of patient records — to make sure those who they are selling to are legally allowed to make purchases.
The founder and CEO of Meadow, David Hua, won TechChrunch’s 2015 award for best bootstrapped startup. Meadow is often compared with Eaze. But they differ in fundamental ways. Meadow provides a sturdy backend for sellers, while Eaze has focused on its delivery service.
- Leafly, for cannabis reviews.
What actions do consumers make before purchasing a product? If your answer is “read reviews,” you would be right. In a survey by MarketingLand, 90 percent of respondents said decisions to purchase were influenced by online reviews. This understanding of today’s consumer is a foundational element of Leafly.
The review startup Leafly began as a side project for 3 individuals, Scott Vickers, Cy Scott, and Brian Wansolich, who were at the time working for Kelly Blue Book. Vickers’ interest in the project was initiated when his doctor recommended he use cannabis to help with his insomnia. All 3 wanted to build a site that appealed to the white-collar sector. By all measures, they have succeeded. Founded in 2010, Leafly is widely considered the world’s largest cannabis information provider in the world. The Leafly database contains reviews on every strain and that enters the scene. The write ups on each strain cover desirable effects and detailed strain information.
Leafly also helps patients locate close by dispensaries, along with photos so that users can look before their first visit. It also offers how-to guides, info for the first-time cannabis user, and other industry news. It prides itself on being a one-stop resource for digging deep on the industry.
In Inc.’s round up for 2016, Leafly was listed as #76 overall, and #4 in the category Top Consumer Products and Services.
What else is on the horizon for tech companies to invest in the cannabis industry? There’s talk of a kiosk that will allow users to purchase cannabis while out on the town. Other startups are looking to create search engines that are beneficial to the cannabis user. Headset is a startup with the aim to bring big data to those in the cannabis industry. Other tech companies are focusing on inventing products that simplify cannabis consumption, such as the Firefly2. In the meantime, cannabis consulting services and other side businesses are springing up around this fast-growing industry.