Cannabis Startup Leaf Trade Raises $12.5M Series B
Marijuana was only legalized in Chicago in 2020, yet the Windy City is already becoming a hub for growing cannabis startups. As more states legalize the recreational drug and consumption expands, the U.S. cannabis market is expected to be worth $43 billion by 2025. The possibility has investors racing to pump capital into startups in this realm.
On Tuesday, Chicago-based cannabis wholesale platform Leaf Trade announced it raised $12.5 million in a Series B Round. Total funding for the startup now stands at $22.5 million, according to the company. The latest round was led by Artemis Growth Partners.
Founded in 2016, Leaf Trade’s wholesale platform helps other cannabis retailers process and fulfill orders that meet state regulations. Since marijuana legalization is handled on a per-state basis there are a plethora of regulations that retailers must take into account. Through the platform, retailers are also able to purchase inventory from Leaf Trade.
Besides the wholesale platform, Leaf Trade also offers other tech solutions for the cannabis industry. Its other products include Leaf Pay, which helps retailers process digital payments, and Retailer, which provides data insights into a business’ cannabis sales.
Built In last caught up with Leaf Trade last year when it closed a $5.5 million Series A round. Back then, the startup had expanded its presence to 17 markets and was gearing up to expand into the more mature and better-funded markets out west. Today, Leaf Trade works in over 24 states, facilitating nearly $2 billion in annualized net sales, according to a company statement.
“The strength of our platform is rooted in both the complete, out-of-the-box solutions we offer to mom and pop operators as well as custom offerings to empower enterprise clients to streamline complex workflows. Our industry-leading marketplace and integrated payments solutions are fueled by an unrelenting commitment by our management team to a culture of customer service of the highest caliber,” Leaf Trade CEO James Yi said in a statement. “This along with a combination of superior technology, long-standing customer partnerships, deep platform and systems integrations and an industry-leading investor base provides Leaf Trade with the skills and toolset to continue rapid growth while always delivering unsurpassed value to customers and every Leaf Trade stakeholder.”
With the recent funding, it was also announced that Brian Ward would be joining Leaf Trade as the company’s CFO. Ward previously worked at Verano, another Chicago-based cannabis startup. There, Ward led the company through its IPO transition and several acquisitions.
“Leaf Trade has a tremendous product, team and mission. I have been fortunate to work with them as a client and I’m excited to join during this pivotal time on the heels of a successful Series B. Leaf Trade powers the largest and fastest-growing players in national cannabis, and I believe that the company’s software and services platform fulfill an essential and irreplaceable role among a demanding customer base,” Ward said in a statement