Last June, Microsoft became the first tech giant to deal with legal marijuana. Microsoft is a 41-year-old company who is based in the marijuana-friendly city of Seattle. The company was able to partner with a marijuana-tracking software startup without starting trouble or stirring controversy.
“We’re not the sexy company, but we’re the smart company,” stated David Dinenberg, founder
and CEO of Kind Financial, who made the deal happen. “We’re providing infrastructure.”
Kind Financial was founded in 2013. They create software for marijuana growers, retailers and government agencies in order to keep track of marijuana from “seed-to-sale.” It gathers and organizes information to make sure the cannabis inventory is processed in compliance with state law and federal guidelines.
In other words; Kind Financial makes sure legally cultivated cannabis can not end up in the black market. They also make sure that growers pay taxes on the product they move. In its new partnership, Microsoft packages Kind’s software in a suite of cloud-based tools that it distributes to clients in state, county, and municipal governments. As per Dinenberg; Kind will soon have a government contract even though they currently do not.
As per Dinenberg; courting Microsoft was difficult. Dinenberg stated he had “no visions of grandeur,” but says it was worth a shot when a Kind board member used his connections at Microsoft to land Dinenberg a meeting back in 2015.
“I remember the first 15 conversations I had with them, I ended every conversation with, ‘Just to be clear, you know what industry I’m in?'” he said.
Microsoft was interested in Kinds proposal because the company does not deal with the actual marijuana plant, Dinenberg assumed. Considering Cannabis is still illegal at the federal level; there is greater legal risk involved for companies that grow or sell the plant. In a statement provided to Business Insider a Microsoft spokesperson said, “We support solution providers working with government customers to help them meet their missions.”
“At the end of the day, we are a technology company that provides services. We happen to cater to the marijuana industry, but we don’t grow marijuana,” Dinenberg said.
The fact that someone can visit Kind’s website and not realize the company tracks pot is helpful. They will not find marijuana paraphernalia in its branding.
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