Interview with Eddie Miller, Founder of greenrush
On February 26, 2019, Eddie Miller, Founder of greenrush, will be speaking at Kahner Global's Cannabis Private Investment Summit in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. The event will host more than 130 industry leaders and investors for a day of collaboration and networking.
1. What brought you into the cannabis industry?
I’m a serial entrepreneur who’s been building ecommerce marketplaces for sixteen years. I helped found PubCrawl.com and NewYearsEve.com, a marketplace for New Year’s Eve tickets that reached three hundred cities globally.
About six years ago, a San Francisco real estate developer and close friend suggested that I invest in a property that we could lease above the market rate. Our first tenant sold cannabis, making it hard for him to find a landlord who’d take a risk on him. For us it was a chance to rent our space at a premium and to observe an operator in the emerging cannabis market.
We watched his business grow rapidly, and eventually my co-founder, Paul [Warshaw] and I decided that we could apply our experience successfully building marketplaces and ecommerce technology to cannabis. That’s how greenrush was born.
2) Were there any barriers preventing your entry into the cannabis industry?
Most certainly. greenrush is a technology company whose potential customers—cannabis retailers—were very resistant to having their information in the public domain and their transactions recorded. While consumers loved our services, convincing retailers to use them was a big challenge early on.
3) How does your business model differ from others in the marketplace?
We are unique in that we operate as a two-sided marketplace. We simultaneously create demand and supply by partnering with licensed, legal cannabis retailers while attracting and acquiring customers. Other services, such as Eaze, follow more of a franchise model and work exclusively with one retailer per geographic location. That retailer effectively assumes Eaze branding and its pre-defined set of products.
greenrush more closely resembles GrubHub or Amazon, operating as an open marketplace with a huge product selection. Whereas Eaze lists around seventy-five products, we offer seventeen thousand.
4) What are your priority markets outside California and plans for expansion?
Our upcoming markets outside of California, in order of priority, are Florida, Michigan, Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey. We will expand into those markets in 2019, leveraging our preexisting relationships with retailers in each market. Florida will be first. Michigan may take a little time, possibly later in the year after we sort through the complex regulatory framework there. Expansion into Massachusetts, New York, and New Jersey is already in progress.
5) What most excites you about the future of the industry?
What’s most exciting is that we get to invent and define it. Most large cannabis businesses are purely infrastructural—that is, they’re vertically integrated and manage cultivation, extraction, production, distribution, and retail.
We’re different. We focus on ecommerce and on-demand delivery, similar to other markets including food delivery and travel booking. With our approach we’re paving the way for building ecommerce relationships between the consumer and the retailer.
6) Will this market consolidate?