The cannabis industry is growing exponentially, both domestically and abroad. Analysts believe the US marijuana market could be valued at $47 billion within the next ten years and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.
For those wishing to connect with others in the nascent industry, seeking investment opportunities or employment, a new resource has been introduced. Leafwire, the online platform, is being dubbed “the LinkedIn of cannabis” and is aiming to conquer the market one user at a time.
“You could think of about us in the most simplest terms as almost a dating site for investors to communicate with and find cannabis companies they are interested in connecting with,” explained Peter Vogel, CEO of Leafwire, via phone. “We provide all the resources and as much education as we can so investors feel comfortable reaching out to companies they may have interest in.”
Users of Leafwire can build profiles, post original content, and share news much like other social media sites. The platform is free to use, but Vogel says premium paid features will be added at a later date. He states that while it is hoped people will use Leafwire to network, what sets it apart is its core function as an investment tool.
“We're specifically going out and getting investors to come join the platform so that when companies are raising money, there's a mechanism there where they can connect with investors,” he said. “But if you're not raising money, we still do function as a social network where you can connect with other companies.”
“You can find your next employee. You can find business partners. So, we can function in that role, but our primary function and what draws people to Leafwire is that we have a base of investors who are there because they're interested in cannabis opportunities.”
To get the word out about Leafwire, the company is sponsoring several Shark Tank style pitch events in several cities across the country over the next few months. The events, a collaboration with cannabis media group Civilized, feature a networking cocktail hour, followed by pitches by six specially-selected start-ups in the cannabis space. Vogel believes it is critical to offer opportunities for entrepreneurs to hone their skills as an extension of the resources available on the Leafwire platform.
“It's just as important in our overall vision to become a resource center and a knowledge base for investing in cannabis as it is to be that connection platform because one essentially enables the other. They work together hand in hand.”
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