What started off as The Stoner's Cookbook, today secured $4.1 million in prestigious seed funding from Shopify CEO Tobias Lutke, COO Harvey Finkelstein and Liquid 2 Ventures, a firm owned by NFL legend Joe Montana, just to name a few.
In 2015, owner Matt Gray acquired and rebranded the existing site as HERB and began populating it with articles and videos related to cannabis. Since then, the company has grown to 200 million views per month, reaching 5.3 million unique viewers.
And the plan is to keep growing. With the new investment, the company plans to expand to LA and New York and open studios for video content creation.
But they aren't stopping at that.
"We don’t see ourselves as just a website. We were always setting out to build a
technology platform." said Gray.
HERB is just the latest (and Canadian) example of well-funded and highly visible cannabis content creation and curation platform.
American cannabis technology platform MassRoots has 900,000 registered users and displays top menu items like 'Strains', 'Products', 'Dispensaries', 'News' and 'Learn'.
After confirming you are 19 years old, MassRoots displays a guide to help you find 'strains you will love' and presumably pick up at one of the listed dispensaries which advertise on the service. A win-win model for the strain growers, retailers and MassRoots the marketer and advertising medium. The 'Learn' page displays post after post of useful, relevant topics pertaining to the ever-evolving US cannabis industry.
Last week, MassRoots announced that it was purchasing cannabis-compliance technology platform CannaRegs.
"The CannaRegs software-as-a-service (SaaS) enables dispensary owners, law firms, investors, consultants, and municipalities to track cannabis regulations, both implemented and proposed, in real-time, ensuring they stay compliant with state and local law."
-- MassRoots Inc.
As the investments and buy-outs suggest, cannabis, content marketing and technology are becoming inter-twined and attracting notice from big league venture firms and other technology companies which offer derivative services. It seems inevitable that other large technology players will be cutting their own path into this market.
One can only expect to see lines continue to blur as cannabis takes over social norms and alters people's thinking from a generation ago.
Info for this post from Herb.co and Massroots.com.