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Why Top Talents Are Leaving Silicon Valley for This Greener Pasture

The world of legal weed is brimming with opportunities.

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BY Nancy A. Shenker - 30 Nov 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

The plant itself may be ancient and natural, but the technologies that are turning the cannabis industry into a $50B industry over the next decade are varied and sophisticated. Ryan Smith, co-founder and CEO of LeafLink asserts, "The cannabis industry will be one of the most efficient and sophisticated because of its access to world-class technology from the beginning." LeafLink just secured $10 million in Series A funding and provides an online platform for dispensaries and other retailers to source products. Consider it the B-to-B Amazon of cannabis.

Other innovators who are transforming the cannabis industry include Karson Humiston, CEO and founder of Vangst Talent Network, specialized recruiters. She has recently seen many job applicants entering the weed world from more traditional Silicon Valley employers, including Oracle. "They want to be part of the next big business wave," Humiston says. Her latest venture Vangsters is a subscription-based online job board. Since its launch the platform has seen over 16,000 job seekers complete profiles, with over 450 jobs posted and filled.

In addition to streamlining the process and the people, technology is being used to ensure quality and safety of the product. Inventors are applying sophisticated agricultural and manufacturing technologies to growing lights and robot packing machines. A bot guard is even being used to secure a California weed farm.

Infused with $1 million in funding, Cannalysis Labs is using technology to analyze and provide detailed information on various cannabis strains and their properties.

The legal cannabis industry (now including 29 states plus the District of Columbia) has provided a verdant field for inventors, developers, and other idea growers. Because it's a heavily regulated industry, management and reporting is essential. Green Bits, a POS system built specifically for cannabis dispensaries, was the first in the industry to offer both a retail system with automated compliance to state regulator databases.

Former bankers and credit card processors are also entering the industry, applying their technical training to the brave new weed world. Many cannabis entrepreneurs are involved in aspects of the business that don't actually touch the plant. To them, it's just another industry; one with huge opportunities for innovation and profit.

So, if you're contemplating a career change, the opportunities for tech-powered cannabis jobs appear to be flourishing. You may just have a little trouble at the family dinner table explaining to your conservative Uncle Jim what you're doing for a living now.


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