Connect with us

Uncategorized

Leafly and Jane partner to build a better online cannabis shopping experience

Published

on

Today, two giants of the cannabis industry are announcing a partnership to create an improved retail experience for consumers and dispensaries alike. Through this partnership, Leafly and Jane’s technology solutions will offer dispensaries powerful tools to sync online e-commerce with in-store inventory — something that is sorely lacking in the cannabis world.

Legal weed shoppers know the pain. A handful of different apps report to show the inventory of local dispensaries and often do not line up with the store’s real-time inventory. What’s more, sometimes other dispensaries have different ways of listing the same product. There’s a good reason for the dispensaries: there’s not an industry standard UPC barcode and the dispensaries often have hundreds of fast-moving SKUs from dozens of vendors.

Leafly and Jane’s partnership seeks to solve the pain on both sides of the counter. Jane’s technology enables dispensaries to build a modern e-commerce platform through automation and machine learning. Jane’s technology will soon be built into Leafly’s Menu Solutions that works with over 30 point-of-sale systems. This should result in less tedious work for the dispensaries and a much more consistent online experience for the shopper.

Jane and Leafly have deep inroads into the cannabis world. According to this announcement’s press release, over the past year, Jane’s solution powered over 17 million orders and $2 billion in cannabis sales. Over 1,800 dispensaries and brands use Jane. Likewise, in 2020, more than 4,500 cannabis retailers used Leafly’s platform, and the company saw 120 million visitors to its online marketplace.

Despite the successes, Leafly experienced a turbulent 2020 with layoffs and leadership changes. Yoko Miyashita took over as the company’s CEO in August 2020 and has been focused on Leafly, leaning heavily into building a better online shopping experience.

Right now, in early 2021, there isn’t an Amazon of weed or even a Shopify of weed for several reasons, but primarily because the cannabis industry is still under a federal prohibition. This solution pushes the cannabis industry closer to a modern e-commerce business. With Jane’s ability to standardize and auto-populate product listings, and Leafly’s deep point of sale integrations, both the consumer and dispensary sees benefits.

TechCrunch spoke to Leafly and Jane’s CEOs on this partnership. It’s clear that the two are excited about this project and see this partnership as a watershed moment for retail cannabis.

“[Dispensaries] don’t have a solution that can be seamless like a Shopify or Amazon,” Jane’s CEO Socrates Rosenfeldsaid. “I think, together with Jane’s ability to cleanse information in real-time, and essentially automate e-commerce for large brick and mortar selling sellers, combining that with Leafly’s consumer marketplace, we are making shopping for cannabis as simple as shopping on Amazon.”

TK explained that he sees this partnership goes behind an Amazon-like shopping experience. He sees this as a way of returning value and protecting local dispensaries by empowering them with technology.

“The problems in cannabis are unique enough, and the plant has a complexity that we want to honor,” Leafly CEO Yoko Miyashita said. We don’t think we can get there with antiquated ways of doing things. It’s bringing the intentionality around shared values to innovate and ultimately empower the communities that we serve.”

Lyron Foster is a Hawaii based African American Musician, Author, Actor, Blogger, Filmmaker, Philanthropist and Multinational Serial Tech Entrepreneur.

Continue Reading
Comments

Uncategorized

Snowflake latest enterprise company to feel Wall Street’s wrath after good quarter

Published

on

Snowflake reported earnings this week, and the results look strong with revenue more than doubling year-over-year.

However, while the company’s fourth quarter revenue rose 117% to $190.5 million, it apparently wasn’t good enough for investors, who have sent the company’s stock tumbling since it reported Wednesday after the bell.

It was similar to the reaction that Salesforce received from Wall Street last week after it announced a positive earnings report. Snowflake’s stock closed down around 4% today, a recovery compared to its midday lows when it was off nearly 12%.

Why the declines? Wall Street’s reaction to earnings can lean more on what a company will do next more than its most recent results. But Snowflake’s guidance for its current quarter appeared strong as well, with a predicted $195 million to $200 million in revenue, numbers in line with analysts’ expectations.

Sounds good, right? Apparently being in line with analyst expectations isn’t good enough for investors for certain companies. You see, it didn’t exceed the stated expectations, so the results must be bad. I am not sure how meeting expectations is as good as a miss, but there you are.

It’s worth noting of course that tech stocks have taken a beating so far in 2021. And as my colleague Alex Wilhelm reported this morning, that trend only got worse this week. Consider that the tech-heavy Nasdaq is down 11.4% from its 52-week high, so perhaps investors are flogging everyone and Snowflake is merely caught up in the punishment.

Snowflake CEO Frank Slootman pointed out in the earnings call this week that Snowflake is well positioned, something proven by the fact that his company has removed the data limitations of on-prem infrastructure. The beauty of the cloud is limitless resources, and that forces the company to help customers manage consumption instead of usage, an evolution that works in Snowflake’s favor.

“The big change in paradigm is that historically in on-premise data centers, people have to manage capacity. And now they don’t manage capacity anymore, but they need to manage consumption. And that’s a new thing for — not for everybody but for most people — and people that are in the public cloud. I have gotten used to the notion of consumption obviously because it applies equally to the infrastructure clouds,” Slootman said in the earnings call.

Snowflake has to manage expectations, something that translated into a dozen customers paying $5 million or more per month to Snowflake. That’s a nice chunk of change by any measure. It’s also clear that while there is a clear tilt toward the cloud, the amount of data that has been moved there is still a small percentage of overall enterprise workloads, meaning there is lots of growth opportunity for Snowflake.

What’s more, Snowflake executives pointed out that there is a significant ramp up time for customers as they shift data into the Snowflake data lake, but before they push the consumption button. That means that as long as customers continue to move data onto Snowflake’s platform, they will pay more over time, even if it will take time for new clients to get started.

So why is Snowflake’s quarterly percentage growth not expanding? Well, as a company gets to the size of Snowflake, it gets harder to maintain those gaudy percentage growth numbers as the law of large numbers begins to kick in.

I’m not here to tell Wall Street investors how to do their job, anymore than I would expect them to tell me how to do mine. But when you look at the company’s overall financial picture, the amount of untapped cloud potential and the nature of Snowflake’s approach to billing, it’s hard not to be positive about this company’s outlook, regardless of the reaction of investors in the short term.

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

A first look at Coursera’s S-1 filing

Published

on

After TechCrunch broke the news yesterday that Coursera was planning to file its S-1 today, the edtech company officially dropped the document Friday evening.

Coursera was last valued at $2.4 billion by the private markets, when it most recently raised a Series F round in October 2020 that was worth $130 million.

Coursera’s S-1 filing offers a glimpse into the finances of how an edtech company, accelerated by the pandemic, performed over the past year. It paints a picture of growth, albeit one that came at steep expense.

Revenue

In 2020, Coursera saw $293.5 million in revenue. That’s a roughly 59% increase from the year prior when the company recorded $184.4 million in top line. During that same period, Coursera posted a net loss of nearly $67 million, up 46% from the previous year’s $46.7 million net deficit.

Notably the company had roughly the same noncash, share-based compensation expenses in both years. Even if we allow the company to judge its profitability on an adjusted EBITDA basis, Coursera’s losses still rose from 2019 to 2020, expanding from $26.9 million to $39.8 million.

To understand the difference between net losses and adjusted losses it’s worth unpacking the EBITDA acronym. Standing for “earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization,” EBITDA strips out some nonoperating costs to give investors a possible better picture of the continuing health of a business, without getting caught up in accounting nuance. Adjusted EBITDA takes the concept one step further, also removing the noncash cost of share-based compensation, and in an even more cheeky move, in this case also deducts “payroll tax expense related to stock-based activities” as well.

For our purposes, even when we grade Coursera’s profitability on a very polite curve it still winds up generating stiff losses. Indeed, the company’s adjusted EBITDA as a percentage of revenue — a way of determining profitability in contrast to revenue — barely improved from a 2019 result of -15% to -14% in 2020.

Continue Reading

Uncategorized

The owner of Anki’s assets plans to relaunch Cozmo and Vector this year

Published

on

Good robots don’t die — they just have their assets sold off to the highest bidder. Digital Dream Labs was there to sweep up IP in the wake of Anki’s premature implosion, back in 2019. The Pittsburgh-based edtech company had initially planned to relaunch Vector and Cozmo at some point in 2020, launching a Kickstarter campaign in March of last year.

The company eventually raised $1.8 million on the crowdfunding site, and today announced plans to deliver on the overdue relaunch, courtesy of a new distributor.

“There is a tremendous demand for these robots,” CEO Jacob Hanchar said in a release. “This partnership will complement the work our teams are already doing to relaunch these products and will ensure that Cozmo and Vector are on shelves for the holidays.”

I don’t doubt that a lot of folks are looking to get their hands on the robots. Cozmo, in particular, was well-received, and sold reasonably well — but ultimately (and in spite of a lot of funding), the company couldn’t avoid the fate that’s befallen many a robotics startup.

It will be fascinating to see how these machines look when they’re reintroduced. Anki invested tremendous resources into bringing them to life, including the hiring of ex-Pixar and DreamWorks staff to make the robots more lifelike. A lot of thought went into giving the robots a distinct personality, whereas, for instance, Vector’s new owners are making the robot open-source. Cozmo, meanwhile, will have programmable functionality through the company’s app.

It could certainly be an interesting play for the STEM market that companies like Sphero are approaching. It has become a fairly crowded space, but at least Anki’s new owners are building on top of a solid foundation, with the fascinating and emotionally complex toy robots their predecessors created.

Continue Reading

Trending