New York-based online marijuana wholesale management/commerce platform LeafLink just secured a $10 million bag in venture funding to expand operations in California as the state prepares for increased laxness around recreational marijuana. Capital raised will also be used to pursue new markets – already in six states, LeafLink has plans to supply product to about ten states in the very near future.
The LeafLink platform which was first launched in Colorado in March 2016 is designed for business-to-business (B2B) supply chain transactions. The platform provides the ability for dispensaries to compare and contrast prices from a wide variety of suppliers and then pick the best fit in a more educated manner. Dispensary owners are, through the LeafLink platform, able to legally (and hassle-freely) place, manage, pay for and track orders in a seamless way through a user-friendly interface. LeafLink currently works with about 400 brands and 1,700 retailers. Since 2016, the company has handled about $186 million in transactions and is poised to handle about $500 million in transactions in 2018.
Ryan Smith, the 26 year old CEO of LeafLink wants to define an industry which is still quite young by providing a way for suppliers and dispensaries to institutionalize processes and keep standards high (no pun intended). There is no doubt that this young CEO is bringing best practices from other industries and incorporating them into the cannabis landscape. The approach of attacking the back-end is brilliant because you are not married to any one brand or tied to whoever is the flavor of the month – you are just the facilitator that makes the ecosystem work smoothly. Judging by the very respectable venture players (Nosara Capital led the round with participation from other investors that included Lerer Hippeau Ventures, Casa Verde Capital, Wisdom VC, Phyto Partners, TIA Ventures and Brand New Matter) that showed up for the oversubscribed Series A $10 million funding round, it is clear that Ryan Smith’s model is resonating.
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