In their first investment in the cannabis space, Lerer Hippeau Ventures – who counts Buzzfeed, Venmo, and Casper among its investments – led e-commerce startup LeafLink’s $3 million seed round as the New York City-based company expands into Oregon and Nevada.
According to a company spokesperson, LeafLink is currently doing $65 million per year in orders for flower, edibles, concentrates, and topicals in Colorado and Washington through the year-old platform, with plans to launch next in California. Ryan Smith, LeafLink’s chief executive and co-founder, said the platform serves more than 800 Colorado and Washington retailers – more than 70 percent of the license holders in those states.
“Even though it appears we’re focused on the recreational market, what we’re really focused on is markets that are not vertically integrated,” Smith said in a Crain’s interview. “The platform is most helpful in connecting people who are really great at making THC-infused products and people really great at retailing those products.”
Eric Hippeau, a managing partner at the venture capital firm and former Huffington Post chief executive, said his firm had been “looking for companies providing infrastructure” to cannabis companies.
“We wouldn’t know where to invest when it comes to brands sold directly to consumers,” he said.
Although LeafLink is based in New York, they have no plans to serve the state’s medical cannabis market.
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