WM Holding Company, the Leading Technology Platform to the Cannabis Industry, to List on Nasdaq Through Merger With Silver Spike Acquisition Corp.

  • WM Holding Company, LLC (“WMH” or “WM Holding”) operates Weedmaps, the leading online listings marketplace for cannabis consumers, and WM Business, a comprehensive software-as-a-service (“SaaS”) subscription offering for cannabis retailers and brands
  • The merger advances WM Holding’s mission to power a transparent and inclusive global cannabis economy and capitalize on its position as the largest technology provider in the sector
  • The estimated post transaction equity value of the combined Company is approximately $1.5 billion and provides up to $575 million of gross proceeds through the approximately $250 million of cash held-in-trust by Silver Spike Acquisition Corp. and a fully-committed common stock PIPE of $325 million
  • As a result of outsized demand, the PIPE offering was significantly oversubscribed and upsized, including investment from funds managed by AFV Partners, the Federated Hermes Kaufmann Funds and Senvest Management LLC along with a $35 million commitment from Silver Spike Capital
  • WM Holding’s executive officers will retain 100% of their equity in the combined company, which will have approximately $100 million of cash on hand after closing

CALIFORNIA: WM Holding Company, LLC and Silver Spike Acquisition Corp., a publicly-traded special purpose acquisition company, announced today a definitive agreement for a business combination that would result in WMH becoming a public company. The combined company will be led by Chris Beals, Chief Executive Officer of WMH, and is expected to remain listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

Company Overview

Founded in 2008, WMH operates Weedmaps, the leading online listings marketplace for cannabis consumers and businesses, and WM Business, the most comprehensive SaaS subscription offering sold to cannabis retailers and brands. The Company solely provides software and other technology solutions and is non-plant touching. WMH has grown revenue at a CAGR of 40% over the last five years and is on track to deliver $160 million in revenue and $35 million in EBITDA for 2020.

The cannabis market in the U.S. is expected to double over the next five years as the majority of U.S. adults support having legal access to cannabis. Despite these expectations of growth, cannabis users in the U.S. are still a small sub-segment of the population today, and retail density is still low across the majority of states with regulated legal cannabis markets. The regulations related to these markets are often complex and disparate across states as well as cities and counties within regulated states. Cannabis itself is a highly complex and non-shelf stable consumer product. These dynamics present a challenging and sometimes uncertain environment for consumers seeking legal cannabis products and for businesses selling to cannabis users while operating in a compliant fashion.

WMH addresses these challenges with its Weedmaps marketplace and WM Business SaaS subscription offering. Over the past 12 years, Weedmaps has grown to become the premier destination for cannabis consumers, with over 10 million monthly active users and over 18,000 business listings across every U.S. state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico with a legal cannabis market. Clients of the Company maintain listings in 9 international countries outside of the U.S. Through the Weedmaps website and mobile apps, WMH provides consumers with information regarding cannabis retailers and brands, as well as the availability of cannabis products, facilitating product discovery and online order-ahead for pickup or delivery by participating retailers.

The Company’s cloud-based WM Business SaaS subscription offering provides cannabis retailers with an end-to-end operating system to access valuable users, grow sales and scale their businesses at a compelling return-on-spend. This “business-in-a-box” functionality ranges from integrations supporting product menus that have online order-ahead, delivery order fulfillment software, data & analytics, a point-of-sale solution and a wholesale marketplace. WMH has been investing in and optimizing its WM Business software solution to also facilitate compliance for businesses amidst the complex, disparate and constantly evolving regulations governing the cannabis industry. Underlying this compliance functionality is a proprietary and sophisticated rules engine that is a core underpinning of the WM Business SaaS platform.

Chris Beals, WMH’s Chief Executive Officer, will continue to lead the Company along with the existing management team. Silver Spike’s CEO and Chairman, Scott Gordon, will join the merged company’s Board of Directors upon completion of the transaction.

Eaze Announces Major Expansion Of Social Equity Menu In Los Angeles

Menu expansion promotes Black-owned cannabis brands, establishes industry-leading support for equity license holders, and encourages conscious consumption

CALIFORNIA: Eaze, California’s largest marketplace for legal cannabis, today announced expanded efforts to support an equitable cannabis industry: A major menu expansion in Los Angeles featuring Black and POC-owned brands, and the Social Equity Partners Program, a multi-point initiative to assist and elevate equity license holders.

Eaze’s Social Equity Partners Menu, which already features well-recognized brands Cloud 9, KGB Reserve, and SF Roots in Northern California, is debuting all of its equity brands in the greater Los Angeles market and welcoming LA-based Dreamt, Blaqstar Farms, and Bay Area-based James Henry SF and Oakland Extracts to the menu.

The menu makes it easy for consumers to support a diverse industry, and address the War on Drugs’ disproportionate effects on the BIPOC community, by putting their dollars toward these brands. Customers can simply visit Eaze.com to order products, which range from unique flower to prerolls to a sleep-aid vape pen.

In a first move for the cannabis industry, Eaze announced its multi-point Social Equity Partners Program, which provides brands with financial and operational support to help them scale and succeed on Eaze and beyond. Specifically, Social Equity Partners are eligible for a variety of benefits, including:

  • Preferred financing and payment structuring
  • Discounted access to Eaze Partner Portal data
  • Incorporation into the Eaze supply chain
  • Marketing and public relations support

Brands on Eaze’s Social Equity Menu must either hold a social equity license, or be actively engaged in the application process for an equity license in a city or county. Since Eaze launched its equity menu in the Bay Area market, social equity brands have been well received by consumers with high and consistent demand. To date, social equity brands have sold nearly $1M of products on the Eaze platform.

“We’re proud to offer these incredible brands industry-leading terms that support their growth by addressing chronic small business challenges that include access to capital, tight cash flow, and customer education,” said Darius Kemp, Eaze’s Head of Equity and Change. “Shopping these brands is one of the best ways consumers can support equity and consume conscientiously.”

“Consumers are more thoughtful than ever about the products they consume and ensuring they come from a brand that aligns with their values, and cannabis is no exception,” said LA-based Blaqstar Farms’ Founder and CEO Bryant Mitchell. “Eaze is an exceptional partner for Black-owned cannabis brands, allowing us to step into the spotlight and reach consumers who not only want a fantastic product but want to know their dollars are going towards a new generation of Black cannabis entrepreneurs.”

Eaze’s equity menu includes:

  • Blaqstar Farms: The son of the first Black police officer in the city of Orange, Texas, Bryant Mitchell grew up and saw many peers, family members and friends lost to and affected by the War on Drugs. It wasn’t until 2001, after he graduated college and went into consulting in the Bay Area, that he became immersed in cannabis and saw the results of pain relief and so many other benefits. These professional and life experiences led Bryant to establish Blaqstar Farms in 2012 in Los Angeles. A selection of Blaqstar Farms products, including premium flower The Glue, Thin Mint and Orange Rose to prerolls Boss OG, Doc OG, Super Sour and F3, are available the week of September 14 on Eaze.
  • Cloud9: Degi Simmons, founder of Oakland-based Cloud9, has been involved in cannabis commerce and culture since the earliest days of Proposition 215. As a beneficiary of Oakland’s Koncepts Cultural Gallery, an organization promoting art and education funded by Better Us dispensary, Degi partnered with cultivator and DJ Clayton Whitaker to form Cloud9 in 2010. A selection of Cloud9 flower, featuring Sour Diesel for sativa and Runtz for indica, are now available on Eaze.
  • Dreamt is an award-winning science-backed sleep aid created by Carolina Vazquez Mitchell, a nationally recognized cannabis scientist. Dreamt’s 45-night pen and 30-night tincture contain THC, CBD, melatonin, valerian root, and terpenes, and are now available on Eaze.
  • James Henry SF: Co-founders Henry Alston and James Victor are on a mission to improve the stigma surrounding cannabis consumption through quality branded products and Black entrepreneurship. By partnering with accomplished medical doctors and scientists who understand the medical value of endocannabinoid therapy, James Henry SF promotes responsible consumption for a responsible lifestyle. A selection of James Henry SF flower, including hybrids Donnie B and True Ryder and social flower Lemon Jack and Tropical Slice, are now available on Eaze.
  • KGB Reserve: KGB stands for killer green bud, the main ingredient used in all of their products. As a self funded equity company based out of Oakland, KGB Reserve is grateful for its place in the legal cannabis space. They stand for unity and believe in equality. Currently known for their top shelf infused products, KGB Reserve has consistently been on Eaze’s list of top 10 pre-roll brands in the Bay Area since its launch. KGB Reserve’s Sauce Pen, Bambino and Torpedo products are now available on Eaze.
  • Oakland Extracts: Oakland Extracts, a Black-owned business, began as a way to bring the community together. Founders Terryn Niles Buxton and Aaron Tran saw prices climbing with legalization and realized there was a need for people in Oakland to have access to quality cannabis at an affordable price. Over the years, they fine-tuned a proprietary technique that allows for maximum terpene retention. Oakland Extracts’ Red Congolese Cookie Crumble Wax is now on Eaze.
  • SF Roots: Founder and CEO Morris Kelly started in the cannabis industry 13 years ago making edibles under Proposition 215 for local collectives, then launched Greencuredelivery cannabis delivery service in 2015. “Equity is about leveling the playing field for companies who paved the way for this economic green rush,” said Kelly. “We’re this industry’s originators, it’s about getting consumers to support equity brands every day. We are partnering with Eaze to ensure that happens.”

Eaze has long worked to help build a more equitable cannabis industry. With access to capital serving as one of many barriers for new entrepreneurs in the space, Eaze launched Momentum—a business accelerator to cultivate the growth and success of underrepresented cannabis business founders—in September 2019. Eaze’s social impact work also includes a partnership with Code for America to help clear 250,000 low level criminal offenses; a permanent 25% discount for U.S. veterans; partnerships with Success Centers SF and the San Francisco AIDS project; and a $25,000 contribution to the NAACP, among others.

To learn more about Eaze’s Social Equity Partners Program, read our latest blog from Darius Kemp.

Alameda County California Leverages Automated Cannabis Code Enforcement Program from Adherence Compliance

CALIFORNIA:  Adherence Compliance, a leading RegTech SaaS provider to the cannabis industry, announced the completed implementation of Alameda County’s Cannabis Code Enforcement Program. The program utilizes Adherence’s regulatory code libraries, industry operations training and automated inspection software to monitor and report on code enforcement for cannabis licensees within its jurisdiction.

“The Alameda County Community Development Agency has implemented a comprehensive Cannabis Code Enforcement Program with Adherence Compliance. The program includes cannabis operations training, regulatory code reviews and onsite inspection software. With the Adherence SCORE App, the County can efficiently inspect, monitor, report and rank cannabis businesses. Overall, the program implementation has been a success,” said Edward Labayog, Senior Code Enforcement Investigator for the Alameda County Planning Department.

“By partnering with Adherence, the County has automated the cannabis code enforcement process. With the goal of public safety in mind, the County is monitoring and reporting on multiple categories of cannabis compliance on a routine basis. Adherence is thrilled to support Alameda County,” said Michael J. Hunt, President of Adherence Compliance Inc.

Adherence Compliance was awarded the renewable contract with Alameda County in July of 2018. Adherence’s cannabis compliance programs are in use with multiple regulatory agencies in the United States and Canada.

 

Leafbuyer Partners With DOPE Media

COLORADO: Leafbuyer Technologies, a leading cannabis technology platform, has announced a new partnership with DOPE Media. The new partnership will significantly expand the reach of Leafbuyer’s deals platform to millions of new cannabis users across North America.

Leafbuyer, a leading cannabis deals network, drives business to dispensaries and product clients through its online platform and network of sites. The announced partnership is expected to capitalize on DOPE Media’s website traffic and industry reputation.

Kurt Rossner, CEO of Leafbuyer, says the primary purpose of this partnership is to expand Leafbuyer’s reach and better serve their clients and consumers. “We are always seeking valuable partnerships with consumer-facing content producers, so forming a long-term relationship with DOPEMagazine.com was a perfect fit. We believe this deal complements our existing array of partnerships with websites like Grasscity.com and Voice Media Group. The broader the reach of the Leafbuyer Network, the more value we will be able to drive our customers. DOPE has a great presence on the West Coast and that is where our highest growth markets are right now,” Rossner added.

A new featured online widget will appear on each page of DOPEMagazine.com The online tool will allow consumers to find Leafbuyer deals on their favorite cannabis-related products, without ever leaving DOPE’s website. Consumers will benefit from the sophisticated tool that aggregates cannabis deals into an easy to use online application.

 

greenRush.com Closes $3.6 Million Series A Funding Round

CALIFORNIA:  greenRush.com, the largest online marketplace for legally purchasing cannabis, today announced the $3.6 million closing of its Series A Funding Round. The Round will fuel the expansion of the company’s current recreational and medical marijuana services in California, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania, and Illinois.

The company’s latest group of investors include James Weil, President of JMM Industries, and Chris Burggraeve, former Anheuser-Busch InBev Global Chief Marketing Officer. James Weil will be joining the greenRush Board of Directors and Chris Burggraeve will be joining the Advisory Board.

Rachel Shipp, greenRush.com Vice President of Business Development, said, “We are thrilled to welcome James Weil and Chris Burggraeve, along with a diverse network of notable venture capital, private equity, finance and marketing executives, to greenRush as investment and advisory partners.” Shipp continued, “We see an increasingly upward trend in institutional capital’s appetite and enthusiasm for investing in the Cannabis industry and our investors’ experience and guidance will help poise greenRush.com to successfully capitalize on those opportunities — now and in the future.”

New Report from Eaze Shows Record Legal Marijuana Use in California

CALIFORNIA: Following decades of stigmatization and prohibition, a new data report titled, Eaze Insights: State of Cannabis 2016, reveals that Californians are increasingly comfortable with marijuana use and are embracing its benefits. The new report released today by Eaze, the fastest growing marijuana technology company, draws insights from the user behavior of more than 250,000 patients across the state of California utilizing the platform. The report also includes survey responses from 5,000 Californians.

Key findings include:

  • Usage doubled over last year: In 2016, medical marijuana was ordered via the Eaze platform every 30 seconds, twice as often as in 2015.
  • Vaporizers on the rise: In 2015, fewer than 5 percent of orders contained a vape cartridge. In 2016, that number increased to 20 percent, meaning 1 in 5 deliveries contains a vaping product. Meanwhile, traditional flower (dried marijuana plant) sales dropped from 80 percent to below 50 percent for the first time.
  • Baby Boomers and women driving interest: Marijuana usage by Baby Boomers is up 25 percent from 2015. They also spent $185 a month on marijuana, more than any other age group. Marijuana use by women in all age groups, meanwhile, grew by 30 percent.
  • Marijuana is the new glass of wine: Orders spiked nightly around 7 p.m. – about the time many typically open a bottle of wine – and more than 75 percent of people surveyed said that using marijuana has caused them to reduce their alcohol consumption.
  • An alternative to addictive painkillers: Opioids have been a common method for pain management over the years, but the harmful side effects have people looking for alternative medicine. Out of consumers who’ve used opioids for pain management, 98% reported using less thanks to marijuana.

“These data points all point to the same thing: the normalization and mainstream acceptance of marijuana use,” said Jim Patterson, CEO of Eaze. “Americans are increasingly educated about the benefits of marijuana use, and as the industry continues to grow up and offer professional, easy-to-understand products, we expect that to continue. In 2017, we’ll see the rise of products that are low barrier to entry, low dose, and designed to be used occasionally by professional, working people.”

This report is just one example of how Eaze uses its platform to uncover unique insights and help educate and inform the entire cannabis ecosystem. As the largest and most funded technology company in the medical cannabis industry, Eaze has access to an unprecedented amount of data. Eaze leverages that data to generate insights on patient demographics, preferences and behaviors that drive the industry forward.

Other insights from the report include most popular marijuana strains, trends in different cities across the state and the impact marijuana use has had on lowering opioid and alcohol use. The full report can be found here.

Cannabis Startup LeafLink Sprouts In New York

NEW YORK: There may be only five licensed medical-marijuana companies in New York state, but that doesn’t mean local entrepreneurs are going to let them have all the fun. Selling products such as luxury weed accessories and industrial grow lights, New York startups are hoping to profit from marijuana’s legalization in a number of states.

The latest New York cannabis company to get in the game is LeafLink, a business-to-business e-commerce platform that has closed its first funding round, raising $750,000.

LeafLink is the third startup founded by Ryan Smith, 24, who grew up in Manhattan and started his first two companies while still an undergrad at Colgate University. He sold one of them, an investment management site called Trupoly, to RCS Capital last year. Co-founder Zachary Silverman recently left eBay, where he was a product manager.

Smith said he doesn’t smoke marijuana, but sees the burgeoning industry as “a once-in-a-generation opportunity.”

New York investors are beginning to realize that, he added: “Questions about whether the company was legal didn’t come up as often as I expected.”