NEW YORK — The B2B cannabis e-commerce platform LeafLink today announces it has closed a $3 Million seed round led by New York’s Lerer Hippeau Ventures, a tech-focused venture fund with early investments in companies such as Oscar Health, Casper, Warby Parker, Venmo, and Buzzfeed.
Additional participants include strategic investors from both inside and outside the cannabis space, including Casa Verde Capital, Phyto Partners, Wisdom VC, and Wan Li Zhu and Paul Ciriello of Fairhaven Capital. LeafLink, which is currently live in Colorado and Washington, will use the funds to expand its marketplace for cannabis brands and dispensaries into newly legal markets.
Cannabis retailers previously managed their ordering process through emails, texts, and phone calls with a decentralized web of cannabis flower, edible, concentrate, and topical vendors. With LeafLink, they can place all of their orders in one legally compliant shopping experience. The vendors then manage their incoming orders using the platform’s suite of business tools, including a CRM, data reporting, order status tracking, and fulfillment queue.
“As the legal cannabis space is new and growing rapidly, we are not disrupting an industry, but defining it,” Ryan G. Smith, co-founder and CEO of LeafLink, said. “At LeafLink, our goal is to empower cannabis business owners with a B2B marketplace and supporting tools that will give them the efficiency they need to grow.”
Since launching in Colorado in March and in Washington in October, 800 dispensaries have joined LeafLink and placed orders for over 100 cannabis product brands, including Incredibles, CannaPunch, Dixie Elixirs, Wana Brands, ZOOTS, Apothecanna, and Keef Cola. At present, the company is doing $65 Million in orders through the platform on an annual basis.
With the seed funding, the company plans to launch in additional states with legal recreational and medical cannabis programs, including California, Nevada, and Oregon, beginning this spring. Smith said, “LeafLink’s entry into these markets is an enormous opportunity to build a tech-first industry that will serve as a model for other states, and for other industries outside cannabis.”
LeafLink’s seed round marks the first investment in the cannabis space for Lerer Hippeau. “Legal cannabis is creating a massive new market from scratch,” Eric Hippeau, Managing Partner of Lerer Hippeau Ventures, said. “LeafLink’s platform links brands and retailers in a seamless marketplace that is vital to the growth of the industry’s try. We are impressed by the vision of LeafLink’s founders and look forward to supporting their growth.”
Karan Wadhera of Casa Verde Capital said, “the cannabis industry is in its infancy and our mission is to support those businesses that will set the standard for how the community operates. We believe LeafLink is doing just that in establishing itself as a critical component for brands and retailers across the country.”
About LeafLink: LeafLink is the leading B2B platform for orders, sales and relationship management for cannabis product brands and retailers. It is an ancillary technology business that does not touch, buy or sell cannabis. With offices in New York, Denver and Seattle, the company launched in March 2016 and is currently live in Colorado and Washington. To date, the company has raised over $4M in capital, including a previous angel round of $1M closed in December 2015.