Wikileaf Technologies Inc (CNSX:WIKI) A Cannabis Price Comparison Platform
James West: Dan Nelson joins me now. He’s the founder and CEO of WikiLeaf Technologies. Dan, welcome.
Dan Nelson: Thanks for having me.
James West: You bet. Dan, quick overview: what does WikiLeaf Technologies do?
Dan Nelson: Well, WikiLeaf is the first price comparison vehicle in the legal cannabis industry. We launched in 2014, and we now have a little over a million users on the site, shopping for dispensaries, and we’ve got just about 4,500 dispensaries on the platform showcasing their inventory and their prices for consumers to shop by.
James West: Wow, and I see when you pull up the site, it immediately gives you the municipality in which you’re loading up the site from.
Dan Nelson: Yes, that’s correct. Yeah, it’s location-sensitive, so it immediately pulls up your location, throws you into your immediate market, and you get to kind of see the landscape of where you are, which dispensaries are in your area, and how they’re charging, or how they’re pricing their product.
James West: Sure. Now, in that, we’ve just heard from StatsCan that they say somewhere over 80 percent on the rec side in Canada is still black market. Do you cover black market sources, or just legitimate sources?
Dan Nelson: No, just legitimate sources. We actually began a campaign back in early 2018 of removing any unlicensed dispensaries on the platform; we had a lot of dispensaries that sort of were operating in a gray zone about a year and a half ago, and they were super keen on using our platform, super keen on exposing themselves and their products to our consumers, however, the licensed dispensaries that were on our platform were, you know, needless to say, a slight bit disgruntled seeing that people that hadn’t gone through the extensive rigamarole to get their licenses up to snuff, being featured next to them, when they had gone through that whole ordeal and done things the right way.
So we started that campaign back in 2018.
James West: Okay, great. So then, in your experience, I mean, I have so many questions about this, because it’s really interesting. In your experience, though, how price-sensitive are consumers in the cannabis space? Are they more oriented towards price than quality?
Dan Nelson: Well, the big three that consumers shop by is price, quality and convenience. So those are the big three. We take all of them into account, but price has been our focus from Day One, and the way we’re moving with our product is going to continue with that focus. We’re bringing the price comparison element down to a granular level so that people can now shop per sku for a specific product that they’re looking for. They can see which licensed dispensaries have that sku in their inventory, and then run a price comparison at that sort of granular level.
James West: Sure. Okay, I noticed that my source of – so, I consume CBD tincture as a medical patient on a daily basis, and my provider is not listed here. But mind you, they ship it to me from outside of the Toronto area. So, are all sources in Canada, all LPs with a sales license who are selling, listed in Wiki?
Dan Nelson: We have a majority of the market listed in Wiki, but we may not have some of the medical direct-to-consumer dispensaries on the platform. We do have all the retail-level ones and the brick and mortar storefronts.
James West: Sure. Okay, so I just searched them by name and I see they’re not on there. How do they get listed?
Dan Nelson: So we have a sign-up form on the site; it’s at the bottom of the site. You can click there, we’ll just need a few pieces of information from you. First and foremost, we’ll need your license to make sure that you are legal to operate in your state or province; we’ll also need some basic information about your business, contact information, hours of operation, things like that. And then it just goes through an approval process with our dispensary onboarding team, and we get you on the site usually within 24 or 48 hours once we’ve approved the information.
James West: Right. So there’s no cost to being an LP on the site?
Dan Nelson: Not currently, no, for a basic listing.
James West: Right, I see. So how do you make money?
Dan Nelson: Yeah, so that’s that phase that we’re embarking on right now. We’re building out a tiered product suite where we basically can increase your exposure to local consumers in your market. So when dispensaries are paying us in the future, they’ll be able to reach more consumers nearby, they’ll be able to send out text messaging blasts, they’ll be able to communicate via email with perspective customers and blast any sort of deals.
They’ll also be able to see some consumer insights in their area, see which products are selling well. So there’s a whole host of suites that we’ll be building out here and marketing to dispensaries Q4 of this year and into the next year.
James West: Okay, great. And is WikiLeaf North America-wide at this point?
Dan Nelson: It is, yeah. We’re in 25 states plus Canada.
James West: Okay, great. And so, tell me, do you think that the situation in Canada, where the black market is still supplying the majority of recreational cannabis, do you think that that is going to change?
Dan Nelson: I think that that’ll change. I mean, recreational prices will have to come down to compete with the black market eventually. You see similar instances or phenomena in California, and even Oregon. Actually, Oregon has had some of the lowest recreational prices in history here in the US, so they’ve been able to combat that well, but I think it’ll just take time for prices to adjust and for them to be able to compete for the black market.
James West: Okay. So I guess you’re able to sort of determine what is most searched for among cannabis consumers in Canada?
Dan Nelson: Yeah, we can tell you which strains are very popular, products and that sort of thing, but yeah, but I mean, strains is obviously the big one. We can tell you which strains are trending in any state or Canada.
James West: Okay, so which strain is the most popular in all of North America?
Dan Nelson: Oh boy. I think Blue Dream and OG Kush at this point would take the cake. I haven’t dug into the data, like, within the last week or so, but I think that Blue Dream and OG Kush are the front runners.
James West: I see. And those are both high-THC, low-CBD concoctions, I’m assuming?
Dan Nelson: They are both high THC, low CBD concoctions, yeah, and they’re also well-known strains that have been around long before cannabis legalization, so they’ve had quite the long track record of notoriety.
James West: Right. And can you tell me what percentage of people coming to your site search for CBD-rich products as opposed to THC-rich products?
Dan Nelson: So most of the people that are coming to our site now are searching for actual THC products. We have a plan in place for the CBD market in general, but haven’t rolled that out yet, so so far, our focus has just been primarily THC products.
James West: Do you have a very standardized demographic of the type of person who uses your site, or is it all over the map?
Dan Nelson: I mean, we have a general idea. It’s mostly males between 18 and 34, 21 and 34 in those areas that require a 21 age. Yeah, so it’s mostly a Millennial crowd.
James West: Right. Interestingly, so with the CBD sort of craze that is starting to really grip the whole planet, I mean, CBD is – I get 10 emails a day now trying to sell me CBD gummies, CBD this, CBD that – do you think that there’s going to be an uptake in cannabis users who are just interested in CBD?
Dan Nelson: Yeah, I think there are, and I think we’re already seeing that. I mean, if you look through Google Trends, you can see that, you know, CBD oil, CBD tinctures, CBD gummies, things like this are trending up and to the right. So the search volume for these products is going through the roof, so we can tell that the popularity is definitely increasing at a pretty rapid rate. Now, how long that will last, I guess, is anyone’s guess. But right now we know that it’s definitely a hot topic.
James West: And do you happen to find or notice that in regions where black market supply is high, do the LPs who are on your system, do they consciously try to compete with the black market supply on price at all?
Dan Nelson: We do see a lot of pricing fluctuation, people lowering prices. We can’t really tie a correlation to the black market; we can have our assumptions and our suspicions, but you know, I can’t answer that definitively. But we do know that price fluctuation is taking place.
James West: Sure. And I’m curious as to whether there is any engagement with the LP universe to use your service and your data to guide what they plant?
Dan Nelson: We haven’t really gone into that sort of arena quite yet. It could be something where we could leverage our data in the future, and make those business intelligence decisions, or help dispensaries make those decisions, but it’s not something that we’ve focused on to date.
James West: Interesting. Okay, and where are you based, Dan?
Dan Nelson: We’re based out of Seattle, Washington. We also have offices in Ottawa and then remote dev team in India, as well.
James West: Okay, very cool. And is there, at this point, is there any premium membership availability?
Dan Nelson: No, we’re rolling that out here in Q4 of this year.
James West: How has WikiLeaf endured through the last year of, you know, real re-valuation to the downside of all cannabis names?
Dan Nelson: Yeah, I mean, the market’s definitely, I mean, it’s no secret; it’s in a bit of a downturn right now. But you know, for us, we can’t really focus on stock price or the market; we really just have to do what’s best for the company. And going public on the CSE is, you know, it’s a 9 to 12 month process, and there’s a ton of legal work involved. There’s a ton of money involved, and you know, you can’t, when you embark on this process, you can’t really time the end date or the listing date nine to twelve months out with market sentiment. You just don’t know.
So you really have to do what’s best for the company at that time, and then just focus on the fundamentals, focus on what you can control, and you know, sort of let the chips fall where they may.
James West: You bet. All right, Dan, that’s a great introduction to the company. We’ll continue to follow your story and have you back soon. Thanks for joining me today.
Dan Nelson: Thanks for having me, appreciate it.
James West: You bet.
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