A little less than a month ago, we took a look at how investors’ tastebuds for cannabis startups are becoming a bit more picky. Amid compliance and regulation issues, investments in cannabis-related startups are slowing down, and so is deal size.
But as the bud scene bubbles down nationally, Flowhub, a cannabis retail management startup based in Denver, has raised a $23 million Series A. The round was led by Poseidon, e.ventures and Evolv Ventures. Other investors such as Altitude and 9Yards Capital participated in the round as well.
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Kyle Sherman, Flowhub’s CEO, pointed to location as one of the company’s strengths.
“Colorado is ground zero for regulated cannabis — both medically and legally,” he told Crunchbase News. “There’s a lot of intellectual property coming out of the state that is shaping the way forward for cannabis legalization across other states.” Flowhub, founded in 2015, works with 700 customers across 11 different legal markets to make the retail process of purchasing cannabis easy.
“Purchasing cannabis should be no different than walking into your favorite department store, selecting the right product for you, and then completing the transaction,” Sherman said.
Using Flowhub, dispensaries can use handheld devices to scan consumer ID at the door. From there, ‘budtenders’ can verify the data and use a Flowhub point-of-sale Cashier application to complete a transaction.
Budtenders have access to demographic data and purchasing history to help customers have a personalized experience. The company integrates with other industry tools and partners,
“Our ability to integrate with […] other cannabis industry partners and tools allows cannabis businesses to stay on top of crushing compliance mandates and to create the ideal cannabis tool stack that best serves their business needs and delivers the best consumer experience,” Sherman said.
As cannabis is under further crackdown by local governments, the venture scene has reacted by making slower, more stable bets. In return, cannabis-related startups have needed heavier capital to combat regulation, compliance, licensing, and legal work.
The new raise from Flowhub signals to us that there are startups that are jumping in on this pain point, and taking on fixing up legal transactions themselves. Flowhub’s goal is more than just giving customers needed access, Sherman said, but also taking a “step toward ending cannabis prohibition” as a whole.
Illustration: Li-Anne Dias.