Growing like weed: Pot tech startups see big growth as Pacific NW becomes hub for cannabis innovation – GeekWire

An example of iUNU’s computer vision technology for monitoring cannabis and other indoor agriculture operations. iUNU’s cameras and AI monitors minute movements in plants to increase greenhouse efficiency. The company is based in Seattle. (iUNU Photo)

If you happen to be searching for pot sales analytics today, on the annual 4/20 holiday celebrated by marijuana aficionados, look no further than the Pacific Northwest.

Seattle startup Headset, a marijuana retail business data intelligence provider, knows that sales grew by 111 percent on this day last year. POSaBIT, a Kirkland, Wash.-based cryptocurrency company serving the cannabis business, found that dispensaries in Washington, Colorado, and California saw a 91 percent increase in customers during last year’s festivities and a 22 percent increase in average transaction value.

Headset and POSaBIT are just two of countless cannabis-related startups based in cities such as Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver B.C.

Not only has this region been “the epicenter of cannabis culture in North America,” but it is also a “hub for innovative tech companies,” said Tim Leslie, who recently left an executive role at Amazon to become CEO at Seattle-based marijuana discovery platform Leafly.

As a result, Leslie said Seattle is “well positioned” to be a cannabis tech hub. That’s helped along by the Northwest’s granola-crunchy, free-spirited culture, which is also somehow home to a Type-A, finish-it-yesterday tech culture.

“People in this area get it,” said Ryan Hamlin, POSaBIT’s co-founder and CEO. “They understand [cannabis] is a true business opportunity. As I travel around the United States … it blows me away on how the social stigmas and everything around cannabis are so much stricter.”

Hamlin said he loves being in Washington, an epicenter of technical talent thanks to homegrown companies such as Amazon and Microsoft, remote engineering outposts for giants including Google, Facebook, Oracle, Uber, and others,

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