40 Under 40
For the past five years, the Marijuana Venture staff has compiled an annual list of some of the brightest young leaders and influencers in the cannabis industry. As in past years, we have narrowed the list from hundreds of worthy candidates to present 40 individuals from the vast and ever-changing business in the United States and Canada.
It is our honor to share their stories.
Title: Co-founder and CEO
Ryan Smith has been selling things online since sixth grade, when he first set up an eBay account.
His mother used to say, “If things went missing in the house, it’s probably now in Ryan’s PayPal account.”
During his senior year in college, Smith built an online real estate platform, which he sold to a real estate investment trust 18 months later. Soon after, he saw an opportunity in cannabis, and in 2015 founded LeafLink, an online marketplace for wholesale cannabis, aimed at streamlining ordering by offering reporting tools and fulfillment and shipment queues for licensed cannabis businesses.
Today, LeafLink is in use in 25 different markets (the software uses a special “permissions engine” to prevent orders going across state lines). The company employs more than 100 people and has listings for more than 1,500 brands and more than 4,300 shops with a gross merchandise value of $2 billion per year in transactions, according to Smith. The company also just launched LeafLink Insight, giving clients access to data to help them make better decisions.
In the future, he sees other industries looking to the cannabis space and LeafLink as an example of what tech can bring to a B2B marketplace.
“In five years we want the coffee industry or others to look at cannabis and say ‘Wow, that’s an incredibly technologically efficient industry with an amazing supply chain and it sits on Leaflink, and we should do that too,’” he says.