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🎙️ Podcast: LeafLink, Executive Chairman, Ryan G. Smith & CEO and President, Artie Minson
I caught up with Ryan and Artie on LeafLink's $100M Series D, management changes, growth plans, and more
Overview. LeafLink helps cannabis brands, distributors, and retailers manage their operations, empowering them to optimize ordering, simplify communication, and spend less time on administrative work. LeafLink connects 8,400+ retailers with 3,700+ brands and distributors for streamlined cannabis commerce.
$100M Series D led by CPMG. One of the Partners from lead investor CPMG had been an adviser to Ryan G. Smith and Leaflink over the past few years. Interestingly, another investment CPMG has made is Provi, a B2B eCommerce marketplace for the beverage alcohol industry, which raised a $75M Series C led by D1 Capital Partners in September 2021 (D1 also led Dutchie’s $350M Series D in October 2021) and included participation from CPMG, Bessemer Venture Partners, Nosara Capital and Level Equity. CPMG had previously led Provi’s $25M Series B (March 2021), with participation from Bessemer and Nosara Capital.
Ryan noted that investors in the round believe that there will be two to three winners in Cannabis technology and that LeafLink is well positioned to be one of those winners. With experienced marketplace investors on the cap table in CPMG and Nosara Capital (and a connection between those investors to D1 Capital Partners), LeafLink seems to have the right investors in place (another investor, L2 Ventures, is invested in Jane).
Management Changes. Co-Founder & CEO Ryan G. Smith moved into the Executive Chairman role because he thought it would be more valuable to continue honing in on customers’ pain points, strategic initiatives, innovation, customer relationships, and government relations. President & COO, Artie Minson maintained his President role while also taking on the CEO role, overseeing day-to-day strategy and execution of the business. In addition, the Company added Karan Gupta as CTO, previously CTO at Shift Technologies (Nasdaq: SFT), an online marketplace for buying and selling used cars, and prior to that was Senior Director Of Engineering at The RealReal (Nasdaq: REAL), an online marketplace for authenticated, consigned luxury goods.
Wholesale Cannabis Marketplace Dominance & Improved Monetization. Artie mentions that LeafLink’s marketplace stands out because of its market share ($5B Wholesale GMV and ~50% market share) and potential to further monetize. He believes the Company has under-monetized its products and services, relative to other marketplaces. Though the company has experience in marketplace, payments, logistics, data, advertising, and banking—it has yet to bring all this together holistically. But will focus on doing so going forward. The Company plans to deliver a tremendous amount of value at a reasonable price point to further improve their stickiness with customers and win over potential customers. LeafLink wants to be the go-to for Cannabis wholesale order lifecycle and take over the backoffice from when an order is created, to how it’s paid for and delivered.
👋 The Highly Objective Podcast is hosted by Dai Truong, who leads Cannabis Investment Banking at Arlington Capital Advisors.. Third-party information presented here and links to third-party content are for informational purposes only and are not intended as a recommendation, offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any financial instrument, security or investment. The information provided is not warranted as to completeness or accuracy and is subject to change without notice. Linking to third-party sites in no way implies an endorsement or affiliation of any kind between Arlington Capital Advisors, LLC, or its affiliates and any third party. The information in this blog constitutes my own opinions (and any opinions posted by guest bloggers from time to time) and it should not be regarded as a description of services provided by Arlington Capital Advisors, LLC or any affiliate.