Exclusive Interview with Sprout Founder and CEO Jaret Christopher
Cannabis software company Sprout is active in 13 states and recently launched into two international markets. The company’s underlying technology, built 12 years ago, serves as a CRM platform at its core with a robust suite of sales and marketing tools. Founder and CEO Jaret Christopher spoke with New Cannabis Ventures about the competitive landscape for his company, how Sprout helps cannabis companies grow and how he sees the market evolving.
Over the past 20 years, Christopher has built his career as a serial entrepreneur, building a number of software and SaaS-based businesses. Prior to Sprout, he founded a CRM marketing software company for the banking industry. After a successful exit, he began investing in and advising companies in the Boston area, which led him to the CRM and marketing company that spun out Sprout. The company had a few medical cannabis dispensaries using its software, and after researching the cannabis industry and its growth potential, Christopher acquired the company and recruited his team from former ventures.
The Sprout platform is designed to help cannabis companies and brands acquire new customers and retain existing customers with the help of sales and marketing tools. Cannabis companies can use the company’s digital kiosks in their stores, website integration, and texting features to connect with their customers through product information and rewards. The Sprout platform also collects data that helps cannabis companies and brands build marketing strategies around customer preference and usage patterns.
At this time, Sprout occupies a relatively unique niche in the cannabis space. While the company offers all-in-one CRM and marketing tools, most other cannabis companies in the space are focused on back-office functions like inventory and point-of-sale, according to Christopher. This means the competitive landscape is fairly open for Sprout, and the company actually partners with a number of other software companies, such as Flowhub and Greenbits. Integrating with other software platforms gives cannabis companies and brands access to large amounts of data from the point-of-sale level that can be used to create robust marketing campaigns on the Sprout platform.
When Sprout went into business, its team wanted to work with other leaders in the cannabis space, which led to a strategic partnership with MariMed. Christopher and his team found that multi-state operator MariMed to be a valuable partner in testing the company’s technology and products, an important piece of Sprout’s product roadmap.
With clients like Liberty Health Sciences, Mayflower, Hashtag Cannabis, and Western Bud (to name just a few), Sprout has a diverse range of customers in terms of size. In addition to its 13-state footprint in the U.S., the company has just launched into Canada and Mexico. In the near-term, the company will be focused on those three markets. Right now, the company has 12 employees, but Christopher expects that number to double over the next 12 months as Sprout continues to grow. Looking ahead, the company is focused on enabling their global cannabis company clients to take its enterprise software platform into every country they are doing business.
As a spinoff of a profitable company, Sprout initially had the resources to self-fund. In 2018, the company did a capital raise with participation from strategic partners and high-net-worth individuals. The company is well-funded now, but another a raise later this year is a consideration, according to Christopher.
At the moment, Sprout is focused on execution and expanding market share. The company is experiencing double-digit growth each month and is set to become profitable by the end of the year, according to Christopher.
Sprout is growing quickly, but Christopher and his team are focused on scaling in a strategic manner. As the market evolves, Sprout will maintain the necessary flexibility to keep up. Christopher saw the banking industry shift toward a single system of record, bringing together data managed across multiple systems. He expects the cannabis industry will undergo a similar shift, and Sprout’s centralized CRM system is aiming to be that holistic solution.
Sprout is a client of New Cannabis Ventures. Listen to the entire interview: