From banking to social media, the cannabis industry has been repeatedly blocked from accessing basic resources available to any other industry. While that has become an unfortunate fact of life for most cannabis operators, it certainly hasn’t stopped the industry — and there are some entrepreneurs who have dedicated their livelihoods to helping the industry succeed despite such obstacles.
For Peter Vogel, CEO of the cannabis business networking site Leafwire, that noble mission is the driving force for his company’s growth. Peter worked in the tech space for over 20 years before he was introduced to the cannabis space by a friend who tapped him to lead LeafWire. When he started, Peter knew that he wanted to establish firm roots in the space. Through the company’s successful and rapid evolution from a simple social media platform to an investment networking site, jobs board, and more, he has cemented Leafwire’s role as a tech-based enabler for the cannabis industry.
The company’s latest development is now a round of crowdfunding. We recently sat down with Peter to ask some questions about these efforts, and the journey so far.
Ganjapreneur: The news just broke that Leafwire has launched a crowdfunding effort on SeedInvest. Can you tell us about that?
Peter Vogel: Yes, that’s right. We recently launched a campaign and I’m excited to say that we’re already raised more than 50% of the minimum required, so for anyone interested, I encourage you to invest early.
Just go to https://www.seedinvest.com/leafwire/seed for all the details.
What made you decide to go the crowdfunding route versus other fundraising avenues?
There were two reasons we were really excited to launch a crowdfunding campaign.
The first of which is that a Reg CF (Crowdfunding) fundraise allows the general public to make investments in startups like Leafwire with substantially lower minimums than other types of fundraise. Reg CF Fundraises are open to everyone, you don’t have to be an Accredited Investor or part of a venture Capital Firm. So everyone is on an even playing field to get in and make an investment.
Secondly, a Reg CF raise typically involves a much larger group of people. So let’s say hypothetically, you have 500 people make an investment in your company during a raise, you immediately have 500 ambassadors and cheerleaders for your company who will go out there and promote your company to their friends and maybe even become some of your best users or customers. So it’s an automatic group of 500 brand ambassadors for your brand.
Let’s jump back to the beginning. What is the origin story behind Leafwire?
We started Leafwire because we looked at the cannabis industry and we believed that the industry needed a platform 100% devoted to the cannabis industry where people could share news, promote industry events, find business partners, find employees, find investors and just simply network. We intended to build a LinkedIn-type platform 100% committed to serving the needs of the cannabis business community.
What’s been the response from the industry?
Well, I think the proof is in the numbers. Two of the KPI (Key Performance Indicators) that we measure at Leafwire are the number of members and engagement.
In regard to the number of members, we’ve had more than 36,000 members join and create profiles, representing 15,000 companies. Since the beginning of 2019, we’ve grown from a little more than 4,000 members to now more than 36,000 members. That’s more than 8X growth.
In regard to engagement, we look at MAUs (or Monthly Active Users) and since the beginning of 2019 to today we’ve seen a 5X growth, from 5,000 MAUs back in the beginning of 2019 to 25,000 MAUs now.
We’ve been really excited to watch the growth in both of those KPIs.
What do members typically do on Leafwire?
We have a newsfeed similar to other social and business networks, so members are commonly posting news articles, promoting events, promoting their own businesses and sometimes just simply posting questions to the network as a whole.
And just like other networks, users can comment on posts, they can ‘Like’ posts or even ‘Like’ other member’s Comments. Members can also send other messages on the platform and members can build their Networks by sending Connection Requests to other Leafwire Members.
This is another KPI that we follow, the # number of Connection Requests sent. Since launch, we’ve seen more than 700,000 Connection Requests sent on the Leafwire Platform from one member to another. And even more important than the sheer quantity, is that more than 40% of those Connection Requests have been accepted, creating more than 300,000 Connections created by the Leafwire Network.
How could our readers learn more about Leafwire?
Well, first, for anyone who’s not a member yet, please come to https://www.leafwire.com/ and create your free profile. We’d love to have you join our community.
Also, for anyone interested in learning more about our crowdfund on SeedInvest, please visit:
There’s a discussion board on SeedInvest, as well, where you can post questions about Leafwire or our fundraise and I can answer all of those questions directly.
I look forward to connecting with everyone both on Leafwire and SeedInvest.
Thanks, Peter, for answering these questions. Learn more at Leafwire.com.
Leafwire is offering securities under Regulation CF and Rule 506(c) of Regulation D through SI Securities, LLC (“SI Securities”). The Company has filed a Form C with the Securities and Exchange Commission in connection to its offering, a copy of which may be obtained at https://www.seedinvest.com/leafwire.