MJBizMagazine September 2021 - 10

FiveQuestions | with Chris Beals
Map to the Future
Fresh from going public, the SPAC behind Weedmaps has capital in hand and plans to grow
By Solomon Israel
W
M Technology went public
in June after merging with
special purpose acquisition
company Silver Spike Acquisition Corp.
WM Technology now trades as MAPS on
the Nasdaq exchange.
Cannabis consumers know the
Irvine, California-headquartered
company for its popular Weedmaps
platform, a digital dispensary directory
with features including retail menus
and online ordering.
In addition to listing their cannabis
businesses on Weedmaps, WM Technology
clients use the company's software
to manage everything from retail
point-of-sale to wholesale transactions.
MJBizMagazine caught up with
WM Technology CEO Chris Beals to
learn more about the tech firm's
plans for the future.
WM Technology reported gross
proceeds of $579 million from
the Silver Spike merger. What
are you doing with that capital?
There are all these new states that
have moved forward legislatively, and
they moved forward faster than we
would have expected with legalization.
(We have) capital to launch products,
adapt products, expand products
within those new jurisdictions. But
then we're also seeing the pacing
of licensing increase in all of these
jurisdictions that were already legalized
but don't have enough licenses to
effectively meet consumer demand or
to suppress the illicit market.
It takes capital to make sure you're
providing your offerings to all these
new businesses as they come online.
We're always surveying the
landscape for potential acquisitions
10 MJBizMagazine | September 2021
or M&A targets. We have the ability
to look at technology companies that
have really interesting and strong
technology that's being used outside of
cannabis and figure out how to bring it
into cannabis.
(We're) investing in our people,
continuing to attract the best and
brightest engineers and product
people ... and increase our pace of
hiring. We have really ambitious hiring
plans for this year and a ton of open
roles on our website.
There's lots of excitement
about possible U.S. federal
legalization. How are you
preparing for that possibility?
There are a ton of really interesting
products, product features and
revenue streams that we simply can't
go after right now because of federal
illegality. For instance, think about
things in the area of how you help
brands better reach consumers, use
coupons or that sort of thing. It's
really difficult when we cannot provide
any sort of payment services or sit
anywhere in the chain of commerce.
Chris
Beals
We can provide all this really
powerful software to help businesses
succeed and grow. But federal illegality
definitely puts constraints on what
we feel comfortable offering from a
compliance viewpoint.
However, I think the sobering reality
is that I don't see any of the forms of
federal legalization, or bills that are
currently on the table, as really having
any chance of passing, whether it be
this year or potentially even during
the first term of this presidential
administration.
Weedmaps' business is based
around not touching the plant.
Is it possible that could change?
For example, would Weedmaps
offer cannabis delivery?
That I can answer pretty easily, and
the answer is no. With the breadth of
software that we offer and the tools
that we offer, I think it's a far more
scalable position to sit in to provide
businesses the software they need
to be really successful at servicing
customers.
The actual touch-the-plant delivery
space is incredibly complex, incredibly
rigorous. How it is accomplished varies
not just state by state but city by city.
Federal legalization isn't going to
change that.
What's interesting for us as we look
at federal legalization is: How can we
help those businesses with things like
payment solutions? Or how can we
help them better administer programs
like loyalty or (customer relationshipmanagement)
software?
I think a lot of our customers really
appreciate and respect the fact
that we're there as a growth partner

MJBizMagazine September 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of MJBizMagazine September 2021

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