TechCrunch Disrupt Goes to Pot

The buzz at this year’s San Francisco TechCrunch Disrupt was cannabis startups. To be fair, there were hundreds of startups being showcased and I only counted 4 cannabis related endeavors – however they all managed to get showcased on the center stage.

The Big Dogg's MJ Launch

The big doobie was the launch of Snoop Dog’s Merry Jane web site which promotes the marijuana life-style. It was a little mind blowing to imagine Snoop Dog as a Tech Mogul -- but there he was: center-staged with a standing room only crowd.

A Smoke-Filled Battlefield

The winner of the $50K Startup Battlefield was Agrilyst which developed a technology to help promote indoor farming. To be fair, they never stated that it was specifically for cannabis but rather they stated that their system is meant for growing indoor fruits and vegetables. But when questioned, Agrilyst CEO, Allison Kopf, admitted their system could be used for growing indoor cannabis.

The runner up of Startup Battle field was actually a cannabis startup, Green Bits, which developed a point of sales system for cannabis retailers. The fourth cannabis company showcased was Leaf which developed a high tech system that allows users to grow pot at home.

Next year, I expect to see more marijuana startups at major tech conference. The cannabis market is a budding industry but I do see rapid growth as more and more states legalized pot in one form or another.