By Garrett Rudolph
You might think about Jane as the most reliable, low-maintenance employee ever. It doesn’t require an hourly wage, bathroom breaks or health insurance. It doesn’t show up late to shifts and it’s not tempted to steal cash or product. It doesn’t gossip about other employees or ignore instructions from management.
Jane is 300 pounds of reinforced steel, machinery and wires, with built-in cash vaults, high-definition cameras and biometric scanners. It’s a point-of-sale kiosk designed to reduce cash shrinkage, promote responsible banking behaviors and reduce violent crime, said James Perez Foster, chief operating officer of Payteller Compliance, the parent company of Jane.
It’s similar to a self-checkout system for the marijuana retail industry.
“We built this kiosk that we envision being on the floor of every dispensary in America,” Foster said. “When the banks finally do come online, the first types of clients they will service will be the types of businesses that promote full reconciliation of revenue.”
The Jane kiosks operate simply enough and eliminate the need for peer-to-peer cash transactions, Foster said.
When customers enter the store, they interact with the budtenders, just as they would pre-Jane. Once they’ve decided on a purchase, the budtender issues them a receipt and directs them to Jane to pay. The customer scans the receipt at the kiosk, which pulls up a payment screen.
The customer inserts payment into the machine, which can then dispense exact change or allows the change to be donated to a charity that is set up through Jane and the retailer.
Budtenders can also be tipped through the Jane kiosk.
Customers do not have to register or set up an account to use Jane, and there’s also a mobile app that allows them to reserve products in the store and eliminate the initial interaction with the budtender if they so choose. After making payment, the customer gets a paid receipt and they receive their purchase from the pick-up counter.
The kiosks themselves are being manufactured in Denver by a company called Kiosk Innovations. They operate on Windows-based programming and were designed to be compatible with all point-of-sale software.
The company is in the process of working with armored car services to get them trained at using the machines.
The risk to retailers is negligible, Foster said. The biggest benefit is removing the cash transaction between the customer and store employees, which allows for more accurate and reliable cash management.
Business owners must pay a $1,000 deposit to have a Jane kiosk installed in their shop. The deposit is refunded on the 366th day of operation. Jane doesn’t require a rental fee, subscription or installation charges. It takes 3.49% of every transaction, similar to the way a credit card processing fee works in traditional retail spaces.
Jane kiosks are available in all markets that allow some form of legal cannabis.
Foster said Jane will likely gain traction initially in Colorado, where the company is headquartered, with Washington and Oregon’s marijuana markets as the next likely targets.
“Illinois could be a big market too,” Foster said.
In some cases, start-up companies servicing the cannabis industry are simply capitalizing on the lack of traditional banking. Foster said he sees Jane as both a stop-gap solution for the industry’s immediate needs, as well as a long-term solution even when banks do relax their stance on marijuana businesses.
“It’s a stop-gap in the sense of immediately removing cash from transactions,” Foster said. “The long-term objective here is to offer a piece of secure technology that plays directly into the behaviors that consumers expect to see within retail environments.
“Even when banks finally do come around, we anticipate and hope and encourage that it will be our dispensaries with the Jane kiosks in them that will be the first clients within a legislatively-easing banking environment.”
The company is also closely following the trend of consumers steadily shifting more toward portable technologies. Within the next decade, Foster said he expects a lot of banks to divest away from brick-and-mortar locations.
One factor that differentiates Payteller and Jane from their competitors is that the founders raised $25 million raised in capital, allowing them to build a world-class team of professionals and a product that is adaptable to the demands of the market, Foster said.
“We have a very, very healthy runway of capital to really do the R&D on this correctly,” he said.
The company was originally founded in 2014 as Jane Four20, before simplifying the name to Jane (www.trustjane.com).Although Jane and the cannabis industry are both works in progress, Foster said being part of the so-called “green rush” has been a fascinating journey for entrepreneurs who come from the corporate, buttoned-down world of financial institutions.
“We’re having so much fun. I know that’s such a stupid, quirky little thing to say, but we’re kind of suits coming into this space,” he said. “At the end of the day, we’re just trying to bring as much maturity as we can into this sector, but we’re having so much fun. … Coming from a conservative Wall Street background, and now bringing mobile banking compliance technologies to the cannabis space, it’s a thrill.”