While other companies are hoping to be the Yelp or the Amazon of weed, San Francisco’s Jane Technologies is replicating another familiar business model – Shopify’s. (Shout out to Canada’s tech darling…) And after raising $100 million in its Series C funding round, reports TechCrunch, they’ll be able to keep growing their already sizable digital footprint.
Cannabis goes digital
Founded in 2015, Jane reportedly now powers online shopping experiences for 20 per cent of cannabis transactions in the United States. Co-founder and CEO Socrates Rosenfeld said that’s the result of his team’s focus on addressing the unique challenges of the industry.
“Local establishments [now have] some digital connective tissue to their local community, and I don’t think there’s a more challenging environment than the cannabis industry,” said Rosenfeld. “I’m very proud of the team that we’ve come this far and still have a long way to go, but I think that’s the direct result of us being able to raise this [$100 million].”
The pandemic effect
Lockdowns and other public health strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have helped push more consumers online, according to Jane data. Just 17 per cent of legal sales were completed online pre-pandemic. That number increased to 52 per cent at the height of lockdowns, and now that many stores have reopened, it’s stabilized at around 38 per cent of sales.
Jane predicts it will sell $3.5 billion in total sales in 2021, working with 2,100 dispensaries in Canada and the US. Rosenfeld said his team is fortunate to have figured out how to close the gap between products and consumers in hyper-regulated, emerging markets.
“We couldn’t do that by shipping products directly to the consumer, and we couldn’t do that by competing against the retailer,” he said. “We had to work in partnership with our retail partners to provide them with powerful e-commerce enablement tools.”