Exclusive Interview with WM Technology CEO Chris Beals
The Weedmaps platform is well known in the cannabis industry as a marketplace both within the U.S. and internationally, but WM Technology (NASDAQ: MAPS) is more than just Weedmaps. The company has a growing portfolio of SaaS and B2B software. CEO Chris Beals spoke with New Cannabis Ventures about the company’s products, its decision to go public via the SPAC route and plans for continued growth. The audio of the entire conversation is available at the end of this written summary.
The Executive Team
Beals comes to the WM Technology leadership team with a background in serving as an advisor for technology and life science startup companies. Cannabis has a lot in common with the life science space, and Beals has plenty of experience rapidly scaling technology platforms, making WM Technology a natural fit.
He is joined on the company’s executive team by COO Juanjo Feijoo, CFO Arden Lee, General Counsel Brian Camire and CIO and CTO Justin Dean. Beneath the executive leadership team, WM Technology has a series of GMs that serve as mini CEOs for the company’s business lines, according to Beals.
Late in 2020, WM Holding Company announced plans to go public on the NASDAQ through a merger with Silver Spike Acquisition Corp, and the company completed the transaction in June. The company started 13 years ago, making it a seasoned ancillary provider in the cannabis space. Going public made sense in terms of access to capital and as a differentiator for the company, according to Beals.
The SPAC route was appealing to the company because of the complexity of its business model. It had more time to explain why the company has a compelling business model than it would have had it gone through an IPO roadshow process, according to Beals.
The transaction was executed via an Up-C structure. Shareholders in the WMH LLC retain their equity stake with the opportunity to convert that into reserved shares in the C-Corp.
The WM Technology Portfolio
WM Technology’s portfolio contains both a B2B suite of products and the Weedmaps platform. On the B2B side, the company has offerings like an ecommerce tool to empower retailers to support consumer search discovery and the point-of-sale software solution WM Retail. The company has also added to its offerings with the acquisitions of delivery software solution Cannveya and cannabis integration software CannCurrent, as well as CRM and loyalty software company Sprout.
The company’s team has a deep background in M&A, which helps the company work through the diligence process and the post-merger integration phase. WM Technology already has an established onboarding ramp for its products that makes integration of new technology easier. These acquisitions are less than a quarter old, and already, they are helping to build out the connective tissue of the company’s ecosystem, according to Beals.
On the marketplace side Weedmaps, connects cannabis retailers and brands with consumers and facilitates orders.
As the company looks to its product roadmap, it has plans to flesh out solutions for brands and analytics solutions. For brands, WM Technology is aiming to offer solutions for managing brand catalogs. On the analytics side, the company is looking at how to leverage the industry data it has at its disposal, exploring the possibility of subscription-based analytics products.
WM Technology has a presence across markets that have legalized cannabis in the U.S. and internationally in countries like Canada, Spain, the Netherlands and Uruguay. The company’s government relations and policy team, led by the VP of Government Relations Bridget Hennessey, works on opening up new markets with a focus on not only legalization but social equity as well.
The company is now positioned with public stock currency, which could be attractive to potential acquisition targets. WM Technology offers smaller, founder-led companies the kind of platform that can help products to evolve and grow, according to Beals. He expects the company to keep a lookout for potential M&A.
The Competitive Landscape
WM Technology has such a broad portfolio Beals considers it to exist “in a universe of one.” Its competitors in the fragmented cannabis technology landscape tend to compete with individual solutions within its larger portfolio. The company has a broad integration strategy, and it still works with other companies that may compete with parts of its portfolio.
Funding and Investor Relationships
Over the course of its 13-year history, the company has largely been bootstrapped and profitable. It remains profitable as a public company, and it has a sizeable war chest of cash ($78 million as of 9/30), according to Beals.
WM Technology has focused on finding funds and investor groups interested in technology and cannabis. The company uses a high-touch strategy to advocate for its business and show current and potential investors what it is doing. Beals understands that stigma still lingers in the cannabis industry, and the company works to dispel that notion.
Growth on the Horizon
WM Technology reported $50.9 million in Q3 revenue and expects $50 to $52 million in Q4 revenue. Beals pointed to a moderation in spending as cannabis operators grappled with competition from the illicit market. Last year, the company reset revenue in Canada, and it expects to turn on monetization in that market in Q4.
In 2022, the company could experience revenue growth in the high 30s, growth driven by multiple factors. Beals pointed to the company’s acquisitions, new product offerings, growth in net new clients and new markets opening as growth factors.
As the company grows, it tracks a series of important metrics, including client retention, client growth, net dollar retention, active users, GMV, cross-product adoption and more.
With its broad suite of products, WM Technology has the opportunity for organic cross-product adoption. It also has the opportunity to deepen its relationship with cannabis brands. The company will also face the challenges of slow license growth across different markets and the complex regulatory environment. But, Beals is looking forward to 2022 as a banner year for WM Technology in terms of growth, market penetration and product adoption.
To learn more, visit the WM Technology website. Listen to the entire interview:
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