Leafly Announces Leafly Learn Online Education Platform for Training & Certifying Budtenders

WASHINGTON: Leafly, the world’s leading cannabis resource, today announced Leafly Learn, an online education platform created to empower cannabis retail workers to serve customers with confidence. To celebrate, Leafly is hosting a 16-city tour across North America to bring Leafly Learn directly to budtenders. Leafly Learn and the Budtender Education Tour will teach budtenders about the science of cannabis and how it can be applied to budtender best practices in order to help customers discover the products best suited for their needs.

“Budtenders are the face of the cannabis industry and the frontline for guiding customers toward products that will work best for them,” said Rebecca Kelley, content director at Leafly. “We built Leafly Learn with an understanding of the crucial role budtenders play in educating customers, and created this learning platform so that budtenders everywhere can feel supported in their careers and have more confidence in their product recommendations.”

Leafly Learn will be exclusively available to retailer clients of Leafly, who can use the curriculum and the newly unveiled Leafly Cannabis Guide to provide training to budtenders as part of their professional development. According to the 2019 Leafly Jobs Report, there are more than 211,000 jobs in legal cannabis, many of which are budtenders new to the industry. According to a recent industry report, more than 90 per cent of consumers seriously consider a budtender’s recommendation when making a purchase decision, highlighting the need for budtender education efforts like Leafly Learn.

To kick off this initiative, Leafly is taking Leafly Learn on the road to 16 cities across North America, meeting directly with thousands of budtenders to provide hands-on training based on the Leafly Cannabis Guide:

Leafly Learn Budtender Education Tour

  • Phoenix, AZ: October 7, 2019
  • Los Angeles, CA: October 10, 2019
  • Portland, OR: October 12, 2019
  • Vancouver, Canada: October 17, 2019
  • Seattle, WA: October 24-25, 2019
  • Calgary, Canada: October 30, 2019
  • Chicago, IL: November 4, 2019
  • Detroit, MI: November 5, 2019
  • Toronto, Canada: November 8, 2019
  • Boston, MA: November 11, 2019
  • Baltimore, MD: November 13, 2019
  • Orlando, FL: November 19, 2019
  • Miami, FL: November 21, 2019
  • Oklahoma City, OK: December 1, 2019
  • Denver, CO: December 4, 2019
  • Las Vegas, NV: December 9, 2019

“I was a budtender before I worked at Leafly, and I know a thousand questions come your way when helping customers select the right products. As the cannabis market expands and more people make careers of budtending, it’s a huge priority for us at Leafly to ensure budtenders have the support and education they need to make cannabis a positive experience for all customers,” said Maria Sharp, manager of partnerships and education at Leafly.

Retailers interested in Leafly Learn and the Budtender Education Tour can find more information here.

Leafly Hires Kirk Beardsley As Chief Operating Officer

WASHINGTON: Leafly, the world’s leading destination to help people discover, find and buy cannabis, today announced the hiring of Kirk Beardsley, an accomplished Fortune 500 retail executive, to the role of Chief Operating Officer. As COO, Beardsley will lead sales, marketing, and business innovation for Leafly.

“Kirk’s track record of helping some of the world’s leading brands build and scale multi-billion-dollar digital retail and marketplace businesses will help us fulfill our mission of becoming the destination for people interested in finding and buying legal cannabis,” said Leafly CEO Tim Leslie. “The legal cannabis market offers a substantial and growing opportunity, and Kirk has the experience to help us capitalize on our already strong momentum.”

Beardsley brings more than 20 years of experience dedicated to digitally infused commerce, most recently as Executive Vice President of Strategic Growth and Head of Trunkclub at Nordstrom. In his eight years at Nordstrom, he held key transformation roles including EVP of Marketing, EVP of Enterprise Technology and Innovation, and EVP of E-commerce and Online Merchandising. Prior to Nordstrom, he led global e-commerce at Microsoft Store and has held multiple leadership roles at Amazon.

“Over the course of my career I’ve had the privilege of leading all aspects of some of the world’s most influential consumer marketplaces,” Beardsley said. “I look forward to bringing those capabilities to Leafly to help more people get information and access to legal cannabis products that support their lifestyle.”

Leafly’s mission is to help people around the world discover, find and buy the best cannabis products for them. Consumers can use Leafly’s website and mobile app to learn about the right products for their lifestyle and wellness needs, find those products safely and efficiently, and buy them from licensed and regulated dispensaries or retail stores.

With more than 10 million monthly site visitors and more than 1.4 million user-generated strain, product and licensed dispensary reviews, Leafly has one of the largest and most engaged audiences in the cannabis industry.

 

Leafly Hires Veteran Product Executive Leslie Grandy As Chief Product Officer

WASHINGTON: Leafly, the world’s leading destination to help people discover, find and buy cannabis, today announced the hiring of Leslie Grandy, a veteran product executive experienced in global markets, to the role of Chief Product Officer. As CPO, Grandy will lead product development for Leafly’s array of consumer and business products.

“Leslie is a seasoned technology leader with a track record of bringing world-class products to market,” said Leafly CEO Tim Leslie. “Her experience will help us continue to build and scale technology products that serve the needs of cannabis consumers, retailers and brands.”

Grandy has built breakthrough products for industry leaders such as Apple, T-Mobile, Best Buy and Discovery Communications. She also has provided product and innovation advisory services to Fortune 500 Companies including Starbucks, Oracle Utilities, and Red Robin Gourmet Burgers.

“I am excited to build upon Leafly’s position as the leading information source for cannabis during this expansive time for the industry globally,” Grandy said. “We have an enormous opportunity to extend our support for the industry with innovative products and services that can help them confidently and intelligently interact in this fast-moving market.”

Leafly’s mission is to help people around the world discover, find and buy the best cannabis products for them. Consumers can use Leafly’s website and mobile app to learn about the right products for their lifestyle and wellness needs, find those products safely and efficiently, and buy them from licensed and regulated dispensaries or retail stores.

With more than 10 million people visiting Leafly monthly and more than 1.4 million user-generated strain, product and dispensary reviews, Leafly has one of the largest and most engaged audiences in the cannabis industry.

Leafly Pickup Expands Into Canada

CANADA: Leafly, the leading technology platform that helps people discover and find cannabis, today announced the launch of Leafly Pickup in Canada. Leafly Pickup allows consumers to browse the menus of participating cannabis retailers, reserve products online, and then pick up and purchase products in-store directly from the retailer.

Leafly Pickup is available now with leading Canadian recreational cannabis retailer Spiritleaf, a brand established by Inner Spirit Holdings Ltd. (CSE: ISH). Leafly Pickup will initially be available at Spiritleaf’s Alberta and Saskatchewan retail cannabis stores, including new flagship locations in Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta. Additional retailers will follow Spiritleaf and launch the service in coming weeks and months. Canada is the first country to offer the service outside the United States, which first launched it in March 2018.

“Leafly Pickup is truly a consumer-first technology that exists to help people find the cannabis products they want coupled with the information they need to make informed decisions,” said Leafly CEO Tim Leslie. “We’re proud of the momentum Leafly Pickup has in the U.S. It’s improving the consumer experience and it’s boosting revenue for retail partners. Leafly Pickup is just another way we’re showing Canadians that Leafly is their destination for cannabis discovery and education.”

“Leafly Pickup is the latest example of how we leverage technology to solve business issues in the cannabis value chain – specifically, by increasing consumer access and the appeal of the legal market,” said Jo Vos, Managing Director, Leafly Canada. “We’re proud to launch this new feature with the fantastic team at Spiritleaf – just in time for Canada Day.”

Spiritleaf has franchise-owned or licensed retail cannabis stores operating in Brooks, Lethbridge, St. Albert, Calgary (Stonegate) and Edmonton (Argyll), Alberta; Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan; and Kingston, Ontario. Spiritleaf’s first corporate-owned retail cannabis stores are expected to open this week in Calgary (Beltline) and Edmonton (Old Strathcona), Alberta.

 

Leafly Appoints Former Amazon Executive Tim Leslie New CEO

WASHINGTON: Leafly, the world’s leading technology platform that helps customers around the world find and discover the cannabis product that is right for them, today announced the hiring of Tim Leslie, a 20-year veteran of Amazon, to the role of Chief Executive Officer. As Leafly CEO, Tim will guide the company’s vision and strategy as it continues to expand around the globe.

leafly-logo-w851-oLeafly is the most trusted brand in cannabis; the authoritative source on cannabis, where everyone from consumers to potential consumers to dispensaries to growers go to discover the latest and best information about cannabis and cannabis products,” Tim said. “Leafly has been at the forefront of shaping the conversation on cannabis and demystifying this rapidly evolving product and industry.”

“Whether it’s on the Leafly app or Leafly.com, our vision is to empower customers around the world to find and discover the best cannabis products for them,” Tim said. “There is an ever-growing range of legal cannabis products, and as broader legalization gains global momentum, and new opportunities open up, Leafly will be there with its mainstream voice providing customers with the best cannabis information and content.”

Tim joins Leafly from Amazon where he most recently served as Vice President of Amazon Prime Video International. In that capacity, Tim launched Prime Video in more than 200 countries around the world, managing product, technology, marketing and operations for international expansion. Tim’s background in launching businesses around the world and his deep knowledge of customers and content will help Leafly in its on-going international growth and cannabis-related content strategy.

“In addition to helping customers around the world make informed choices about cannabis, Leafly’s rapidly growing marketplace also empowers cannabis businesses to find and retain loyal customers,” Tim said. “Today we are providing new and existing cannabis businesses with the broadest and deepest information in the industry; information that they can trust to provide a professional and personalized experience for customers in a regulated environment.”

Tim started at Amazon in 1999 as Vice President & Associate General Counsel responsible for Worldwide Retail. He helped Amazon launch businesses around the world and built and managed Amazon’s international legal team, which grew to 150 employees under his leadership. In 2013, Tim joined the Amazon Prime Video business as the Managing Director of LoveFilm, a UK and German video streaming and DVD rental business that Amazon had acquired. Tim was responsible for the management of LoveFilm, integrating it into Amazon, re-branding LoveFilm as Prime Video and launching Prime Video in the UK and Germany, which was completed in February 2014. Tim went on to lead the launch of Prime Video globally in 2016.

With more than 20 million monthly online sessions and 1.3 million crowd-sourced strain, product and dispensary reviews, Leafly connects patients and consumers with cannabis brands, products and retailers. Consumers can use Leafly’s easy-to-use website and mobile app to learn about the right products for their lifestyle and wellness needs, find those products safely and efficiently from licensed and regulated dispensaries or retail stores around the globe.

Leafly Hires New CEO Chris Jeffery

WASHINGTON: Leafly, one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing cannabis technology company, has announced that accomplished startup executive Chris Jeffery has been appointed to the role of Chief Executive Officer. As CEO, Jeffery is responsible for Leafly’s vision and strategy as the company expands its operations and product offering around the globe.

“Building on Leafly’s established position as the world’s leading cannabis information resource, we are expanding our focus on providing consumers the tools they need to discover and purchase cannabis products,” said Jeffery. “With unprecedented momentum for legalization worldwide, we are uniquely positioned to help consumers navigate this new legal landscape with reliable information and a personalized experience that saves time and money when making purchasing decisions.”

Prior to Leafly, Jeffery co-founded OrderUp, an online and mobile food delivery service. He built the company into a dominant player in the e-commerce and on-demand delivery spaces, driving $100M+ in annual sales in 40+ markets across the United States. In 2015, OrderUp was acquired by Groupon.

Leafly is the go-to resource for cannabis information worldwide, with more than 13 million monthly visitors and 60 million monthly page views across its websites and mobile applications. With Leafly, finding the right cannabis products is fast, comfortable, and easy. Consumers can use Leafly to learn more about cannabis, discover new cannabis products and brands, and find and review cannabis retailers near them. The Leafly website and five-star mobile app also include the world’s most comprehensive strain database, a full news and culture section, and a video platform, Leafly TV.

 

 

 

Headset Announces $2.5 Million In Financing; Ramps Up Services To Cannabis Clients

WASHINGTON: Headset, a leading retail analytics firm for cannabis-related businesses closed $2.5 million in financing as part of its efforts to ramp up its suite of data products in the ever-competitive cannabis technology space.

Hypur Ventures, a leading-edge venture capital fund headquartered in Arizona, and Salveo Capital, a Chicago-based private-equity fund specializing in cannabis sector investments, have partnered with Headset to provide a deeper, richer set of tools for the emerging market.

“With this most recent fundraising, we are excited to be able to accelerate development and  adoption of Headset products across all legal cannabis markets,” said Cy Scott, co-founder and CEO. “Headset is well positioned to help the cannabis industry make more informed business decisions supported by retail transaction data.”

As the cannabis industry matures — eight states now have legalized recreational use and another 29 have medical marijuana programs — business intelligence is the key differentiator among successful and failing enterprises. Legal U.S. cannabis sales skyrocketed 17 percent to $5.4 billion in 2015. Most analysts forecast 25 percent compound annual growth in the next five years, expanding to market to 21.8 billion by 2020. As a comparison, this explosive industry growth curve mimics that of the cable TV business in the 1990s, which enjoyed a 19 percent annual growth and the broadband internet industry of the 2000s (29 percent).

For years, cannabis company’s struggled to tap into this revenue stream, suffering from a lack of actionable data insights that would inform business decisions. Headset, with its proprietary analytics, gives clients the information and tools to grow their business.

“Headset specializes in seeing ahead of the curve in terms of trends and innovation in the hyper-competitive cannabis market,” said Hypur Managing Director Christopher Male. “There’s a lot of synergy with the ecosystem of the Hypur Ventures portfolio.”

“Salveo Capital is excited to be partnered with Headset and its team,” said Managing Partner Michael Gruber. “Actionable data is critical to running a successful business, and Headset is empowering brands, product manufacturers, and retailers with insights not available previously.  Headset’s products will be a critical tool to a cannabis company’s success.”

With the $2.5 million infusion, Headset moves into 2017 in a strong position to help businesses as the new legal landscape expands. It will help close the information gap that has hampered companies in this emerging industry.

For more information or to request a free demo of the Headset platform please visit www.headset.io

The Art Of Marketing Marijuana

How to make pot seem as all-American as an ice-cold beer

In the summer of 2014, The New York Times published its first-ever marijuana ad. The occasion was the enactment of New York’s Compassionate Care Act, which legalized pot for some medical uses. The ad, a congratulatory note from a Seattle start-up, depicted a well-dressed, newspaper-toting man standing on his stoop while a young woman jogged past. Both wore determined expressions; the man, according to the text, consumed marijuana “to relieve his MS symptoms,” and the woman used it “while fighting cancer.” The ad made sense for its time and place. Earlier that year, Colorado and Washington State had begun allowing the sale of recreational pot, and critics were warning that as more states followed suit, profit-motivated corporations could start marketing a lot of pot to a lot of people. Savvy marijuana businesses, worried about confirming this suspicion, stuck to depictions of their most sympathetic users.

Pot’s image problem has since begun to fade, especially in states like Washington and Colorado. Two more states, Oregon and Alaska, have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, and several others may soon have the opportunity to join them. But the people who sell the drug are facing a predicament. In a legal market, cannabis—the plant from which pot is derived—comes to resemble many other farmed products: One grower’s plant looks and tastes a lot like his neighbor’s. (Some pot connoisseurs with sensitive palates can differentiate among strains of cannabis—and even among brands—but they’re as rare as the coffee drinker who can guess his beans’ origins.) John Kagia, the director of industry analytics at New Frontier, which studies the marijuana business, is convinced that pot is becoming commoditized. In Colorado, the supply of marijuana flower is going up, and its cost down, partly because of technological advancements and larger, more efficient operations—just the kind of forces that have turned other products into commodities.

Leafly Founders Depart, Raise Cash For New Marijuana Business Intelligence Startup

WASHINGTON: After five years, the founders of marijuana strain and dispensary database Leafly are moving on to their next cannabis-related startup.

Cy ScottBrian Wansolich, and Scott Vickers — who launched Leafly in 2010 — are the co-founders of Headset, a new Seattle-based startup that’s building a business intelligence platform for the fast-growing marijuana industry.

headset-product-details-mobile-r1Headset, which just raised about $450,000 of a $750,000 seed round from Poseidon Asset Management and a group of angel investors, offers what Scott describes as a market research and analysis tool similar to NielsenNPD or IRi, but for customers in the marijuana supply chain.

The idea is to give marijuana retailers, processors, and growers better insights and intelligence for their business, ultimately helping them make more money and offer better customer service.

“We’re staying in the cannabis industry but are tackling a different problem,” said Scott, who’s taking on the CEO role for the new company.

Headset’s platform provides a number of operational insights. For example, retailers can be immediately notified when stock is low of a particular product that’s been selling well, or find out if a specific strain isn’t flying off the shelves like it used to. Meanwhile, product manufacturers can access sell-through data, all-commodity volume information, and a competitive set analysis, among other insights.