As the legal cannabis industry grows in the U.S., competition for customers is heating up. Now, a startup called Baker Technologies has raised $3.5 million to become a “Salesforce for pot.”
The company’s software helps marijuana dispensaries bring in new customers and inspire customer loyalty, without running afoul of ever-shifting regulations that govern precisely how these shops can market and sell their goods.
Baker CEO and co-founder Joel Milton said that today, the company works with 250 dispensaries in 10 U.S. states where pot is legal, as well as in Canada. Twenty-eight states allow cannabis to be sold and used legally now, Milton noted, but with varying levels of restriction. In places where only medical use is allowed, and in very limited ways, dispensaries haven’t cropped up to serve a general population of adults and tourists. So Baker hasn’t (yet) entered those markets.
In recent press interviews, and at his confirmation hearing, Attorney General Jeff Sessions made statements against the legalization of marijuana. That has left some cannabis and pot-tech businesses worried. But pot’s acceptance is growing. And positive economic contributions are one reason investors and industry insiders don’t expect the industry to be suddenly curtailed, Milton says.
Last year, According to reports by Arcview Market Research, the legal market for pot generated $6.7 billion in sales in North America. According to forecasts from New Frontier Data, if all U.S. states that currently allow legal sales of cannabis continue on their projected growth rates, they should generate some $2.3 billion in state tax revenue just from retail sales by 2020.
Investors in the new round include Michael Lazerow, Base Ventures, XG Ventures, Poseidon Asset Management, Phyto Partners, the founders of Outside Lands, and several other angel investors. As we previously reported, Baker raised $1.6 million in seed funding and graduated from the 500 Startups accelerator.