There’s an Uber for everything nowadays, so why not an Uber for weed?
Eaze, a startup that enables medical marijuana patients to order cannabis products online and have those goodies delivered to their homes, today is announcing $10 million in Series A round funding led by DCM Ventures with participation from Fresh VC, 500 Startups, Snoop Dogg’s Casa Verde Ventures, and other strategic investors.
The new funds come on top of $1.5 million in seed funding the company had raised last year. The cash will be used to help the company expand availability of its platform into new markets beyond just the San Francisco Bay Area, where it was founded.
Launched last summer, Eaze is looking to take advantage of a few different trends. The first is just an acceptance that marijuana use — whether for recreational of medicinal purposes — is here to stay, and is likely to become more pervasive as more states legalize and/or decriminalize cannabis use.
The second trend is the move to make everything on demand — i.e. to make any product available to be ordered via web or mobile app, and to have it delivered within a short period of time, usually an hour or less.
Of course, weed delivery is nothing new. In fact, it’s probably one of the least novel segments of the cannabis industry, since marijuana users have been able to call a local
dealer distributor and have an eighth brought straight to their home for decades.
What’s different and interesting about this new generation of weed delivery services is that they’re helping to facilitate the legal purchase of cannabis products. In Eaze’s case today, that means connecting medical marijuana patients in California with local dispensaries that offer delivery in as little as 10 minutes.
According to Eaze founder and CEO Keith McCarty, the company works with “only the best” dispensaries to highlight the top products for customers to purchase. Rather than provide an exhaustive list of available products, Eaze works to narrow things down to the flowers, edibles, and concentrates users are most likely to actually buy.
I tried Eaze over the weekend, hoping to find medicinal marijuana products to treat my insomnia and anxiety*. And while I was impressed at the speed of delivery (15 minutes from order being placed to drop-off), I was a little disappointed at a few other features of the service.
For one thing, I actually like a wider variety of products to choose from, so I was a little disappointed by the selection available on Eaze. For another thing, I was bummed that I would have to pay in cash — especially in today’s world of digital and mobile payments.
Eaze acts as a facilitating platform between buyer and seller, but it also helps to more efficiently make deliveries. It provides a driver-side app to help route deliveries based on proximity of the driver and inventory on hand. It also automatically updates routes in the case of a driver being waylaid or a customer canceling an order.
While it’s mostly providing a new way for patients and cannabis providers to find each other, Eaze’s funding signals a shift in the way cannabis-focused startups operate. Slowly but surely, investors are showing they’re no longer afraid to back startups looking to make it easier for customers to gain access to marijuana.
Due to legalization of medical and recreational use of marijuana in a growing number of states around the country, betting on businesses that serve cannabis users is not as risky a bet as it once was. In addition to Eaze’s funding, you can see that in the recent $75 million funding round raked in by Privateer Holdings, which hopes to build a series of brands in the cannabis industry.
We’ll likely see more of these deals pop up, particularly as more states legalize the product. After all, in the marijuana segment, it seems like there’s nowhere to go but up.
UPDATE: An earlier version of this story said Eaze didn’t provide logistics infrastructure. While drivers are paid by dispensaries Eaze works with, it does help route deliveries.