Name: John Yang
As a software expert with a history of using technology to solve the problems of small law offices and retailers, John Yang found his role in the cannabis industry when he saw a friend open a dispensary.
“With a line out the door and two point-of-sale terminals transacting about 400 tickets a day, I quickly saw how underserved the cannabis industry was,” Yang says. “No credit card processing, no modern software solution designed to solve the cannabis nuances, no banking and access to very little capital.”
His friend, Shareef El-Sissi, owner of The Garden of Eden, had asked him to come by and assess the shop, which was having technical issues while trying to grow. That assessment quickly grew into a software suite.
In 2016, the two men became partners and launched Treez, a seed-to-sale software platform that manages inventory, point of sale, online ordering, taxes and analytics for dispensaries.
It also has custom platforms for cultivators and another for vertically integrated cannabis businesses.
Treez now has 50 employees and is responsible for tracking about 30% of California’s cannabis retail market. Although Treez is industry-specific, in some ways, the system is not too dissimilar from working with non-cannabis small businesses, Yang says.
“Like with many (small businesses), I was often able to have a conversation with the owner or owners whose worries ranged from the leaky roof to the leaking cash drawer,” Yang says. “Selling owners out of their old habits, solving their problems with modern software and supporting their operations every day is how I have come full circle.”