Exclusive Interview with Treez Co-Founder and CEO John Yang
Treez is a cloud point-of-sale and commerce platform serving the cannabis industry. The company was launched more than five years ago to fill a critical need for a purpose-built solution to cannabis industry challenges. Today, Treez is on a mission to support the profitability of its retail users. Co-Founder and CEO John Yang spoke with New Cannabis Ventures about how the company’s platform works, its growing market reach and the recent Series C round.
Listen to the entire interview or read the summary below:
The Treez Platform
The Treez platform provides solutions for cannabis retailers and brands. A point-of-sale offering is core to the platform, but it also offers inventory management, integrated payment solutions, data analytics and sales fulfillment tools. The company also has a brand offering that provides data insights and helps to streamline the relationship between retailers and brands.
Additionally, Treez has a robust API platform that allows partners to integrate with the platform. Retailers can also tap into the ecosystem and build on top of the company’s APIs.
Treez collects a significant amount of data around sales in cannabis, and the team is looking for ways to leverage that data and provide users more value with market insights. For example, Treez could use data to help users understand whether or not promotions result in sales lift, according to Yang. The company is also contemplating how it could incorporate education into its platform to help consumers and retailers during the sales interaction.
Yang grew up around technology. At 12 years old, he started working in his father’s computer shop. He then launched a career with consulting firms like Accenture and Slalom. He has extensive experience in using technology to drive efficient business operations. His fellow co-founder, Shareef El-Sissi, has experience running a vertically integrated cannabis brand. Early on, he needed to leverage the available technology to find solutions for his business’s challenges. In 2016, Yang and El-Sissi launched Treez to solve those problems.
The Treez leadership team also includes CFO David Yan, who comes with experience from high-profile companies like Twitter. Chief Revenue Officer Josh Glantz joined Treez with point-of-sale experience in the restaurant space. The company also has critical talent at the VP level. Yang highlighted VP of Engineering Shon Wedde, VP of Product Joey Sterling and VP of People Jeannette Opalski as critical team members.
The company has approximately 200 employees, and it is continuing to add to that its distributed workforce. Treez has an engineering hub in San Francisco, and it recently opened another engineering hub in Trivandrum, Kerala, India. Treez has 30 engineers in India, and it is looking to bring that headcount up to about 100 over the next year, according to Yang.
Customers and Market Reach
Treez launched in California where it works with high-volume operators with multiple locations. It has grown its footprint to a total of nine states, including markets like Arizona and Michigan. While the company doesn’t spread out into other markets too quickly, the team does want to reach all legal states over the next few years.
Series C and Growth Outlook
In April, the company announced a $51 million Series C round. Over the course of the company’s history, cannabis investors have helped Treez grow, but this round, the company was interested in reaching more mainstream investors, according to Yang. Long Ridge Equity Partners anchored the round, according to the Yang. The round also attracted participation from Kayne Partners and Synchrony Financial.
The Series C funding opens the door to potential M&A opportunities. When Treez first launched, about 40 different POS solutions were active in the cannabis space, but that number has dwindled since then, according to Yang. Now, Treez could look to acquire a competitor to enter new markets, or it could look at deals that could bring new solutions to its platform.
Currently, the company is putting capital to work to fuel growth through hiring, product innovation, market expansion and marketing. It could consider going public when it reaches true scale, but a public market strategy is not in the company’s immediate future.
In 2021, annual recurring revenue grew 82 percent over the previous year. Treez targets more than 50 percent growth every year, and Yang believes that target continues to be achievable. In addition to revenue, the Treez team looks at metrics, such as profitability and same-store growth, which demonstrate the health of its retail clients. These metrics help the company to understand how to best serve its customers, particularly while they navigate challenging market conditions. Treez is also invested in tracking people metrics. The team needs to talent to grow so employee happiness and retention are core KPIs.
To learn more, visit the Treez website. Listen to the entire interview: