Company: Leaf Trade
Title: Co-founder and CEO
James Yi loves a puzzle.
“What gets me going is these complex problems,” says the CEO of Leaf Trade, makers of compliant workflow technology for the cannabis industry.
About 10 years ago, while building business-to-business software solutions mostly used in the restaurant industry, Yi was approached by three dispensary owners in Illinois, asking for his help in finding a similar platform for the cannabis industry. Yi was very intrigued.
“What we quickly found out was that the type of solutions they were looking for didn’t exist,” he says.
He started consulting for the industry and learning its needs, but he also began to meet patients face-to-face, which turned him into an “evangelist.”
Yi began identifying the major issues with cannabis-focused tech of the time — such as a lack of software to handle complex B2B challenges like orders between suppliers and retailers — and decided to leverage his current technology and company to solve those issues and help streamline workflow.
Leaf Trade launched in January 2017 and by the end of the first month had 30% of the cannabis businesses in Illinois using the platform. Today it is the leading platform of its kind, operating in 17 states, with three more contracted to begin. The platform recently surpassed $1 billion in total transactions through the site, now does $100 million in transactions per month and is “growing rapidly.”
Yi loves the challenges of a multi-state industry, in which each market has its own unique regulations, and he looks forward to solving the puzzles the future will bring.
“At every point of fulfillment in the B2B segment of the supply chain, we’re trying to create more and more efficiencies,” he says.
Photo by Ash Thompson