Exclusive Interview with Headset Cofounder and CEO Cy Scott
Headset, a SaaS data platform that gives cannabis companies real-time insight into the competitive market, currently gathers and catalogs retail data from more than 300,000 products across 3,000 brands. Co-founder and CEO Cy Scott spoke with New Cannabis Ventures about how his company’s products help cannabis companies remain nimble in the changing marketplace, strategic partnerships, and the company’s upcoming Series A.
Back in 2010, Scott got his start in the cannabis industry as a cofounder of the cannabis review website and app Leafly, since acquired by Privateer Holdings. Now, he has been at the helm of Headset for about three years.
The Headset Product Suite
Headset offers three products: business intelligence tool Headset Retailer, retail-direct data sharing model Headset Bridge, and market intelligence tool Headset Insights.
Headset Retailer integrates with a cannabis retailer’s point-of-sale system – an efficient process that takes just five to 15 minutes – and offers the user insight into internal data. The product allows dispensaries to track inventory levels, staff performance, and everything they need to understand their business. The continually refreshed data can be displayed on premade dashboards developed in concert with retailers who use the platform, or users can create their own custom dashboards.
Headset Bridge allows processors, manufacturers, vendors, and distributors to see how their products perform in the retail space. Retailers need to give permission to share the data, but once they do Bridge facilities a collaborative relationship between retailer and vendor. The open flow of data can help close any communication gaps between retailers and vendors, reducing over-ordering and stock-out events, according to Scott.
Headset Insights aggregates retail data to give users a real-time picture of what products and brands are selling at what price points in a particular market. Insight customers can use the data to understand their market opportunities and make informed, strategic decisions.
In addition to the data available through Headset’s subscription-based tools, the company sends data directly to clients via email. Operators are busy, so the company delivers those data insights to them to make it as easy as possible to keep up with changes in the market.
Headset’s entire business is built on top of point-of-sale data, so partnerships there are crucial. Right now, the company supports 16 point-of-sale integrations with companies like MJ Freeway. Headset is even directly embedded into some point-of-sale tools.
Beyond point-of-sale, Headset has strategic partnerships with companies like Cowen and Baker. Through the partnership with Cowen, the company is providing market measurement data. While the partnership with Baker focuses on mutual referrals and promotions, Scott sees the value in leveraging the strength of partnerships to gain market share.
Headset currently has about 200 customers using its Insights and Bridge products and 600 retailers using its Headset Retailer product. The bulk of the company’s customer base is located in adult-use markets like Washington, Colorado, and Nevada, but it is expanding. In August, Headset Insights launched in California, and it plans to launch Headset Insights in Oregon this month. Next up, the company is establishing an office in Canada and aiming to have sales data ready there on October 18, just a day after sales go live. The company, interested in all of the provinces, is doing a full market read in Canada. Where Headset heads there will be determined on where and when stores are opening up, according to Scott.
In terms of longer-term expansion goals, Scott hopes to push Headset into larger U.S. medical markets and more international markets.
Starting out, Headset was funded by friends, family, and a few angel investors. Then, the company moved onto investment groups. Now, it is gearing up to do its Series A. Scott is excited to see the move from early-stage company to growth-stage company.
Scott has been in the growth stage of a startup company before, and he hopes that those lessons will help him manage and scale the rapid growth into new markets that lies ahead for Headset.
Headset is a client of New Cannabis Ventures. Listen to the full interview: