By Heather Ritchie
Recently, we’ve seen Namaste Technologies Inc., the world’s largest e-commerce seller of cannabis-related products, in the news and many are hailing them as the “Amazon” of the cannabis industry. Recently they acquired Findafy AB, a leading Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning company and are partnering with major companies like Ample Organics to create one-stop shopping in the online cannabis market.
Sean Dollinger and Kory Zelickson founded Namaste just a few years ago when a friend told Zelickson that they shouldn’t be looking to sell their private company because they were in one of the most exciting industries. He suggested that they transfer from the private sector to the public sector and since then, they’ve never looked back. Dollinger brings over 21 years of e-commerce experience and helps create a dynamite team to manage it all.
Namaste began selling products like vaporizers, pipes, grinders, and other necessary and innovative cannabis accessories. Their products became popular because they provide a variety of options and prices to suit any customer’s needs. The process is streamlined and convenient, so Namaste’s customer base grew exponentially. The original idea for Dollinger was that Namaste would be a side business. He didn’t expect the business to grow so fast.
Now Namaste has 85 employees and consultants that operate in over 20 countries like Canada, Australia, and the UK. The company recently reported its Q2 sales of $5.6M, which means an anticipated annual run-rate of over $20M. One reason for this explosive growth is their partnership with Findify, which uses AI and machine learning to personalize the buying experience for each individual consumer, improving the process and increasing conversion rates. The company will be the first of its kind to implement the same technology in applications of medical cannabis.
When asked how he felt about Namaste being labeled the “Amazon” of the cannabis industry, Dollinger replied that his company was more like a hybrid of Amazon meets a platform. This combination contributes to the current success and growth of the company.
In 2017, they welcomed CannMart Inc. to their portfolio as a subsidiary that allows Namaste to distribute medical cannabis through their Toronto location. The company intends on becoming Canada’s leading online retailer of medical cannabis, following a similar strategy in creating a diverse and user-centric marketplace that will offer both domestic and imported cannabis products.
Namaste leveraged its partnerships and the companies it acquired along with their 1 million-plus customers to build Namaste MD, a secure telemedicine portal that is intended to connect physicians with patients in need of medical cannabis. Patients in Canada apply, and after a video consultation with a doctor, they can receive a recommendation for medical cannabis electronically. Afterwards, they can order their cannabis online via CannMart and Namaste will even offer an option for same-day delivery.
Dollinger stated in a press release on May 2nd of this year, “Moving forward, we believe global cannabis patients will demand a more customized online experience, as products and services in the cannabis industry continue to grow exponentially.” Namaste is ready to meet those demands as they grow with the industry.
As of March 16th, 2018, Namaste announced that CannMart received its Access to Cannabis Medical Purpose Regulations (ACMPR) Production license. The subsidiary can place orders now with ACMPR licensed producers. Once CannMartreceives its sales license, they will be positioned to be one of the leading aggregators of medicinal cannabis, sourced from exclusive ACMPR licensed producers.
Namaste’s overall goal is to become an all-inclusive, one-stop, online cannabis marketing solution and to create a platform that merges a variety of the finest product offerings sourced from many of the best ACMPR Licensed Producers in all of Canada. Acquiring this license means Namaste is one step closer to achieving this goal and seeks to continue strategic partnerships via other agreements to innovate in the medical cannabis industry in Canada.
Namaste’s stock has increased nearly 20x in value since the company went public a little over two years ago. They have nearly 5,000 members on their Facebook Investor page. Namaste’s consolidation of the best cannabis products available through one platform ensures their future success, yet they are one of the most undervalued companies in comparison to what they bring to the industry.
Considering the company’s revenue and assets like $50 million cash in the bank, they are one of the more secure businesses for investors to support. While many businesses focus on working in one country, Namaste operates in over 20 countries. This position provides them security because even if one country decides to make cannabis illegal again, their business won’t fold since they have many more countries to operate in.
In the end, Dollinger said it’s all about the customer. “What it comes down to with this specialty e-commerce and what we are doing here at Namaste is the focus on the customer journey and customer experience. What makes the experience that much better at Namaste with our AI and machine learning, is that it allows the customer journey to get that much better.” And that is the most critical thing for Namaste as they continue to grow and bring more people service around the world.