Meadow’s CEO on Why Reddit’s CEO Invested in This Weed Startup
The money comes in tandem with major tech expertise.
Tuesday, Meadow—a mobile platform that streamlines the process of moving medical cannabis "from farm to flame"—received $2.1M in funding from a group of investors with ties to some of the biggest names in tech.
According to SFGate, the group of investors includes, “former Facebookers now at Slow Ventures, Reddit’s CEO and founder Steve Huffman, Joe Montana’s investment fund Liquid 2 Ventures, and Justin Kan, creator of Justin.TV and Twitch.”
Meadow partners with Bay Area dispensaries and offers the cannabis industry tech solutions in every aspect of the business from deliveries and mobile menus to ensuring its partner retailers are operating under full compliance—a standard that would seemingly benefit both the canna-consumer (seeking a reputable source for medicine) and businesses utilizing the Meadow platform.
Meadow also connects aspiring California medical marijuana patients with doctors via Meadow MD, which facilitates open access to legally purchased medicine. The startup aspires to service each stage of the cannabis supply chain with its software.
Meadow Platform provides medical cannabis patients with access to medical cannabis.
The $2.1M injection into Meadow gives the weed-centered startup a leg up toward direct competition with mainstream “point-of-sale” (POS) and “software as a service” (SaaS) providers such as Square and Quicken POS, and Salesforce.
David Hua, Meadow co-founder, tells The KIND over the phone from the startup’s SOMA offices, that financiers look at potential cannabis investments in the same way they review mainstream startup opportunities.
“Just like any other company: Investors will look at if your company has a good team. Are they producing a good product? Do they have really good traction? And what is their road map?”
The brains and buds behind Meadow platform.
Hua says Tuesday’s investment provides the startup with more time to build out its platform and expand the team. He sees the Meadow platform and other ancillary weed operations as an integral connection in bridging cannabis’s prohibitive past with its potentially lucrative and socially beneficial future.
From the other end of the phone on a Wednesday afternoon, Hua's enthusiasm and passion for the cannabis community is easy to pick up on, and not unfounded. As legalization efforts pick up around the country and spread across state lines, the distinction between “cannabis tech company” and “tech company” becomes a lot less distinct. This recent investment may be indicative of investor optimism for the industry that exists where social revolution meets economic opportunity.
There were reportedly ninety-eight venture capital deals made in the cannabis space in 2015.
According to industry analytics by CB Insights, nearly $215M poured into legal weed startups last year––with the cash finding its way to both ancillary businesses and companies that actually “touch the plant.”
"Where we're at now is a result of the hard work and sacrifice of thousands and thousands of people," says Hua. He highlights the strong feeling of community that permeates throughout the Bay Area––ground zero for cannabis legislation and legalization in California; ground zero for disruptive technology.
“As the green market is coming into the white market, we have an opportunity to end prohibition on cannabis. Tech really helps with that. There hasn’t yet been an existing market that has seen such a need for technology, and needs tools just to stay compliant. We’re right at the intersection of that.”
Sounds like a good place to be.