Exclusive Interview with springbig Co-Founder and CEO Jeffrey Harris
Jeffrey Harris, the Co-Founder and CEO of cannabis marketing software company springbig, last spoke with New Cannabis Ventures in January. Since then, more consumers have started using the platform, the company earned HIPAA certification, and it launched a new offering for brands. Harris spoke with New Cannabis Ventures about springbig’s major 2020 milestones and what he sees for the future of the company. The audio of the entire conversation is available at the end of this written summary.
Keeping Up with Growth
At the beginning of 2020, springbig had approximately 51 employees. Now, at the end of the year, Harris expects the team to be about 100 people strong. The team has had to nearly double in size to keep up with the company’s growth.
springbig currently has more than 800 clients, spanning across every state where cannabis is legal for medical use or adult use. That growing footprint has propelled the company to hit the milestone of more than 25 million consumers on its platform.
Over time, the company has seen a rise in interest from larger cannabis companies. As such, springbig has begun to see a bifurcation of its customer base. It is working to differentiate its product and service offerings to adequately serve the different needs of large multi-state operators and smaller cannabis companies.
When speaking with New Cannabis Ventures in January, Harris pointed to opportunities for his company in markets making the transition to adult-use. Now, springbig is preparing to take that advantage in markets like Arizona and New Jersey. In Arizona, the company has more than 50 percent market share and only expects that to increase with the advent of adult-use, according to Harris. He expects the New Jersey market to ramp up pretty quickly, and the company is preparing its sales and marketing teams for the opportunity in that state.
springbig has organized its U.S. sales team into two groups: one that focuses on more mature markets and one that targets emerging markets.
In addition to the U.S., springbig has made a big push into Canada this year, and Harris expects the company to have more news about the company’s efforts in this market soon.
Over the summer, the company launched springbig Brands, a platform that empowers brands to connect directly with consumers. springbig is currently marketing its brands platform in Colorado, California, Washington, Michigan, Nevada and Arizona, and it plans to expand that offering to more states.
The platform allows brands to create custom content that they can share with retailers selling their products. Retailers are then able to use that content to directly communicate with consumers via texting. Doing so allows the retailer to send the message for free, reducing its marketing expense or boost the amount of messaging for the same budget.
While the COVID-19 pandemic did not slow springbig’s sales velocity, it did cause the company to delay the launch of the brand platform, originally slated for March. Unable to physically meet with brand teams, it was a slower launch than anticipated. But, the pandemic has only heightened the need for cannabis companies to communicate with their customers, which is a plus for springbig.
This fall, springbig completed the process of becoming HIPAA-certified, the first company of its kind to do so. The company underwent this intensive process to demonstrate its commitment to data security and privacy for both clients and consumers.
Developing New Features
springbig is also developing new features to augment its platform’s offerings. The company is looking at ways to give its clients enhanced value around data, offering more sophisticated insights. For its larger clients, springbig is planning to launch a suite of enterprise solutions. It has also developed an AI-based algorithm to help its clients predict the next day consumers will visit based on previous purchase behavior. Armed with this information, retailers can market directly to consumers in advance of their next anticipated visit.
Exploring the SPAC Route
springbig closed its $11.5 million Series B over the summer, placing it in a strong financial position, according to Harris. The company’s current burn rate is low, and its sales are growing month over month. So, it is looking to leverage that funding round to drive faster growth, both organic and inorganic.
Roughly a year ago, a public market strategy was not on the table for springbig. Now, some of the company’s board members are exploring opportunities in the SPAC market to determine if this approach makes sense for springbig, according to Harris.
Looking to the Future
Harris expects springbig to double its business in 2020 compared to 2019. In 2021, the brand platform and new states opening for the company’s retail business will be significant growth drivers. Additionally, the possibility of nonorganic growth could fuel springbig’s business next year.
The springbig team looks at five key metrics on a regular basis: new customer acquisition, customer churn, month-over-month revenue growth, number of consumers on the platform and the volume of messaging on the platform.
Two years ago, springbig had around 100 clients. Now, it has more than 800. The company is constantly challenged to keep up with the needs of its customers as the cannabis industry matures. With the company’s set to grow exponentially, springbig will remain committed to executing its plan and delivering what its growing set of customers wants.