Just in from WeedMaps (think Yelp for Pot) CEO/owner Justin Hartfield: an email letting us know that Tim Draper at Draper Fisher Jurvetson isn’t going to invest in his startup. That’s ok, says Hartfield. He’ll just keep “growing organically” for now. Har!
Email is below. Just because it’s awesome. Also, we have no idea if Tim really sent this email or ever even met with WeedMaps. But we like to think he did.
From: Justin Hartfield
Date: August 24, 2010 3:14:45 PM PDT
Subject: Tim Draper “Chickens Out” On Funding WeedMaps
The latest poll data shows that, Prop 19, the referendum to legalize marijuana in California this November, is current passing between 4% – 10%. Even if Prop 19 doesn’t pass in Nov, assuming present trends continue, a similar initiative will be put to voters two years later and will probably pass then.
One start-up company positioned to take advantage of this hot new industry is WeedMaps.com, which TechCrunch reported on in March ’09.
WeedMaps is one of the hottest web properties in California, which is home to over 1,500 medical marijuana dispensaries. Boasting over $1 million in sales just six months into monetization, the site is now home to over 43,000 medical marijuana patients and receives more than 25% of its revenue outside of California, mostly in emerging medical marijuana states like Colorado and Nevada.
WeedMaps isn’t just a Yelp clone anymore either — it’s built a unique business model based on the concept charging dispensaries for the ability to post their menu of items for sale on the site. Menu items are posted via an AJAX interface called the WeedMenu, which is specifically designed to categorize the products commonly found at cannabis dispensaries, eg edibles, concentrates, indica, etc. Currently, WeedMaps is tracking 15,703 items across 630 dispensaries in real-time via the WeedMenu. The WeedMenu is searchable, filterable, and shows the products prices (if entered by the dispensary). Businesses pay anywhere between $195 – $395 per month to post their menus online with WeedMaps, depending on region population. Over 75% of the listings update their WeedMenus at least once per week.
WeedMaps has gone on a funding tour of Silicon Valley, engaging with high profile venture capital firms like Draper, Fisher, Jurvetson, Oak Investments, True Venture, top tier legal firms and several white-shoe accounting firms.
But for all the Sand Hill rhetoric about creating innovation and fostering disruptive technologies, the general consensus is that Sand Hill is not yet ready for legalized marijuana. After courting WeedMaps for three weeks, Draper officially passed on the business, but offered this to WeedMaps founder Justin Hartfield, “I am going to chicken out. You have an awesome business, and it will probably be worth a ton someday, but I can’t pull the trigger. Sorry,
WeedMaps has been a hotly debated company in the Valley recently, and we’ve heard from several high profile sources at Cooley that the company was discussed at the general partner meeting, with all the partners under 40 supporting involvement with the company, while the white hairs had an “aneurism”. Meanwhile, WeedMaps is continuing to seek funding but are comfortable growing organically for now. The company plans to release WeedVote.com, a site to promote the legalization initiative, sometime early next month.