Marijuana Firm Among Fastest-Growing In US

penny-stocks.jpgA marijuana business has joined the ranks of Microsoft, GoPro, and Yelp in Inc. Magazine’s esteemed Inc. 5000, a list of the fastest-growing companies in America.

MJ Freeway, a cannabis software business offering point-of-sale tracking systems, made the list after reaching a growth rate of 205% over the last three years. In the same period, the company has generated over $2.5 million in revenue.

The company began in 2009, when cofounders Jessica Billingsley and Amy Poinsett, both technology entrepreneurs, observed the evolving cannabis regulations in Colorado. Billingsley was an investor in one of Boulder’s first licensed dispensaries, and she noticed that it had no means to track retail transactions. This led to her and Poinsett setting up their startup in Telluride.

MJ Freeway’s first product was GramTracker, a system that tracks product grams, plant count, and dollars for marijuana businesses. Released in 2010, the product didn’t draw much interest from investors, and the founders had to use personal funds and bridge loans for operations.

Soon, however, the company found itself selling a license every day, proving a real demand for their tracking system. Business growth has been rapid since.

MJ Freeway now works with clients in various countries, including Canada, Australia, and some in Europe and South America. It has also expanded its product offerings to include hardware, operational analysis, and marketing services.

Naturally, the company has also faced obstacles, especially because it caters to the marijuana industry, which is still in a legal and social limbo. Although their products are ancillary – which means they don’t directly touch the marijuana plant – they still get affected by persisting stigma. Billingsley revealed that the business even had to cancel insurance twice. She said that the company has had “a lot more challenges just by being [a business] associated with cannabis.”

But MJ Freeway is only going forward. Billingsley and Poinsett aim to get 50% of the cannabis industry’s market share by 2017 and to expand their business internationally. They are also exploring how they can utilize the intellectual property and data they have collected from clients and turn them into intelligence for the industry.

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