Here’s what we know about the cannabis industry: it’s lucrative, it’s risky, and it’s complicated. The top executives of cannabis companies are hungry for resources that will give them a leg up in this competitive and somewhat volatile trade, and that’s what makes the emergence of Headset such exciting news. The first of its kind, Headset is a data-driven tech company providing real-time business intelligence and analytics service for the cannabis industry. While market intelligence software like this (such as Nielsen) already exists, Headset is the first company to provide it to the cannabis industry.
Add Headset to the list of things to blame on Walmart. Walmart manages roughly $32 billion in inventory, stocks brands made from all over the world, and operates over 11, 000 stores, and it is only able to do this because of its highly efficient supply chain management system: Vendor Managed Inventory. This system puts inventory management power directly in the hands of manufacturers, cutting out the middle links that make a supply chain less efficient. Headset has taken this model and thrust it into the cannabis industry.
Headset was founded in 2015 by the three founders of the strain information guide, Leafly: Cy Scott, Brian Wansolich, and Scott Vickers. The trio’s dedication, knowledge, and innovation turned Leafly into one of the most respected brands in cannabis. Privateer Holdings’ CEO Brendan Kennedy said it best in an email sent to Leafly employees:
“When we first met Cy, Brian and Scott in 2011, we had an idea of what Leafly could be, but no expectations of how exactly we’d get there. When any start-up is acquired, it’s rare for founders to hang around for more than a year. We have been enormously privileged and honored to benefit from Cy, Brian, and Scott’s hard work and dedication for more than three years. Their leadership and intrepidness has resulted in Leafly being transformed from a smart idea hatched over some enlightened cannabis consumption to some musings logged in their notorious spreadsheet to a nights & weekends project to our first acquisition to the world’s leading information resource on cannabis.”
Leafly was sold to Privateer Holdings in 2011 and transferred to its new CEO, Drew Reynolds, in 2015. While Leafly is still regarded as extremely successful (it won App of the Year at the GeekWire Awards in 2014), the departure of its founders suggests a shift in the industry’s culture Scott, Wansolich, and Vickers are tapping into.
When Leafly emerged, cannabis wasn’t legal for recreational use anywhere, and while it was medically legal in several states, it had a long way to go before it would shed most of its social stigma. In the wake of the legalization wave in the past decade, cannabis retail is regarded as a legitimate business, even by those who have moral qualms with cannabis use.
Leafly’s strain information heavily relies on consumer reviews, a source that made more sense when the idea of collecting data on cannabis seemed both laughable and suspicious
Today, the data tracking Headset offers its customers seems like the next logical step, and one Scott, Wansolich, and Vickers took in 2015 when they left Leafly and embarked on this new business venture.
Cy Scott, the Chief Executive Officer
Scott received his BS in computer science from California State University, Fullerton. Before entering the cannabis space, Scott worked in web design for various companies including Source Interlink Companies and Kelley Blue Book. Scott has spoken at several cannabis conferences including the MJ Business Conference and the Oregon MMJ Business Conference.
Brian Wansolich, the Chief Design Officer
Wansolich has over 17 years of experience in design, including his role at Leafly as Design Head.
Scott Vickers, the Chief Technology Officer
Vickers received his BS in computer science from California State University, Fullerton and has almost twenty years of software engineering experience.
Headset offers three types of services designed to benefit players on all levels of the market in addition to publishing illuminating reports about the industry as a whole. With the tools provided by Headset, manufacturers and retailers are better equipped to identify the most popular products on the market, how much they cost, and who is buying them.
This product is designed to allow retailers to use their time more efficiently. Rather than spending time manipulating data, Headset Retailer users let the program do that work for them. Retailer allows users to compare performance across multiple store locations as well as balance staffing and inventory. The program even allows managers to analyze their staff’s performance. The data collected is exportable, and multiple filters allow retailers to find precisely the insight they are looking for. Retailer allows users to identify trends and optimal product assortments, to analyze budtender performance, and to prevent out-of-stock events.
Anyone with or looking to have skin in the game can benefit from the intelligence gathered by Insights. The legal cannabis market is new, so there are no real experts. Headset Insights compensates for that loss by providing users with real-time market trends, including 10 categories and over 70 subcategories, brand trends, and product trends. The program gives brands insight into their positioning within the market as well as in individual stores.
As Scott stated in an interview with GeekWire, “A lot of people don’t have visibility on what brands are out there and how well they sell. If a company in Colorado wants to expand to Nevada, we can tell them which retailers they should be working with or how well existing product manufacturing brands are doing. We give them those insights before they go and tackle new opportunities—a lot of them are flying pretty blind out there.”
Bridge creates exactly that between manufacturers and retailers. This product saves manufacturers the valuable time it takes to gather inventory, price point, and sell-through data by doing it for them. Bridge monitors inventory levels, giving businesses insight into which of their products are most successful, optimizing inventory balance, and preventing an out-of-stock event.
For those who want to know about the industry as a whole, Headset Industry Reports provides in depth coverage of specific industry related topics. In October, Headset released a publication reporting on the demographics of cannabis consumers. The report is particularly useful for those targeting Gen Xers and Millenials, as they form the most significant portion of the cannabis market. In another report, Headset found that, while comprising a smaller share of the market, concentrates are steadily becoming a more popular product. With titles like “Price Matters: A Look at Average Item Price Data,” “A Commercial History of 4/20: Who’s Buying What on Cannabis’s Biggest Day,” and “Product Co-Occurance: Impulse Buying and Upselling in the Cannabis Industry,” there is plenty of material to satisfy the appetite of the most voracious cannabis industry enthusiast. These reports have been featured in publications like Time, Civilized, Forbes, and the Huffington Post.