A leading way to assess the cannabis technology space is to keep a close eye on the “logo chart” that I publish quarterly. A few predominant trends are emerging. The first is that cannatech solutions are accelerating. The other trend is that this fast-moving industry is consolidating quicker than I anticipated.
I first published the CannaTech Ecosystem Stack in the January 2021 issue of Marijuana Venture, based on my own research in late 2020 (with the help of Ryan Porter at toptender). Since then, the logo chart has taken on a life of its own. Most new entrants on this latest chart were crowd sourced. What’s so cool about this crowdsourcing behavior is that, in this very young industry, people are helping each other. There were 23 new logos added to chart this month: Aeropay (financial services), Ample (seed-to-sale), Appspensary (point of sale), Brother (infrastructure), Brytemap (seed-to-sale), Cannabis Big Data (analytics), CIMA (infrastructure), Foottraffik (ad tech), Green Check Verified (financial services), HubConnect (infrastructure), Leaf Data Systems (compliance), Learn Brands (education/training/incentives), MenuMonster (ordering solutions), MJ Analytics (analytics), MJ Retail (point of sale), MJP (seed-to-sale) OMMPOS (seed-to-sale), Quantumleaf (seed-to-sale), Safe and Sound (infrastructure), Seiko (infrastructure), Specialty Tag and Label (infrastructure), Trellis (seed-to-sale) and Viridian (seed-to-sale).
Tales from the Trenches
In the February 2021 issue of Marijuana Venture, I laid out my objective and subjective criteria for recognizing a cannatech company. That criterion will continue to evolve as the ecosystem evolves. I personally interviewed several of the companies to determine whether they were a good fit. Two in particular that I had multiple interviews with were the multinational technology companies Brother and Seiko.
– Brother: I have a couple Brother printers for my day-to-day use. I had to be convinced that Brother could really be considered a cannatech company. However, Brother proved that it has dedicated resources allocated to work the cannabis segment and it has been attending industry conferences. Its cannatech focus is mobile solutions, including auto ID, labeling, tracking/tracing and something it calls “Gear Motor,” which is business automation for running the trimmers.
– Seiko: This large Japanese company is best known for watches, so I wasn’t seeing the connection to cannabis. However, Seiko has a cannatech focus on thermal printers and “smart label” printers.
Ms. Georgia Jablon, communications manager at Akerna, was very helpful in nominating a few additional brands in its portfolio and helping me correct a couple miscategorizations of existing logos on the chart. Again, this proves the power of community to work together to make this the world’s leading CannaTech Ecosystem Stack.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Consolidation is what I see in the future, and it will be reflected in the fourth quarter of 2021. As the industry rapidly grows, you will increasingly see roll-ups. A perfect example of the type of consolidation you will see in the future is Dutchie’s acquisition of LeafLogix and Greenbits in late Q1.