The first major global corporation jumped into the cannabis industry earlier today, when Microsoft announced a partnership to begin offering software that tracks cannabis plants from seed to sale.
The new partnership involves Kind Financial, a Los Angeles-based startup that creates tools and other technology for marijuana-related businesses. The software will be a new product in Microsoft’s cloud computing business. Kind sells seed to sale systems, which allow growers to track their plants from planting to the point of sale, while also providing kiosks that cannabis businesses use for cash management.
As word spread, interest in both the deal and the question, “Who is Kind Financial?” caused Kind’s company website to crash. We don’t know that traffic caused the crash, but the site’s URL turned up this message this afternoon:
So apparently there’s some interest.
The announcement marked a big step forward for the cannabis industry. One Microsoft official spoke of the market’s potential to the New York Times:
“We do think there will be significant growth,” said Kimberly Nelson, the executive director of state and local government solutions at Microsoft. “As the industry is regulated, there will be more transactions, and we believe there will be more sophisticated requirements and tools down the road.”
In an interview with Times reporter Nathaniel Popper, Dinenberg said it took a long time to get Microsoft on board.
“Every business that works in the cannabis space, we all clamor for legitimacy,” said Mr. Dinenberg, a former real estate developer in Philadelphia who moved to California to start Kind. “I would like to think that this is the first of many dominoes to fall.”
The business move to partner with Kind is the second bold announcement from Microsoft this week. On Monday, the company announced it was purchasing LinkedIn, the business-focused social networking service.