Minority-Owned Contactless Payment & Delivery System Enters Cannabis MarketNew payment and delivery platform offers new solutions for cannabis retailers.
The legal cannabis industry faces unique challenges when it comes to payment and delivery systems due to the highly regulated nature of the business. While cannabis is legal in many states, it is still illegal at the federal level, making traditional banking systems hesitant to work with cannabis and cannabis-related entities. Many legal retailers struggle to find secure and reliable technology solutions.
Fortunately, Rosebud, a minority-owned contactless payment company, is stepping up to offer a new option. Several years in the making, this new tech-driven solution simplifies the complex requirements of payment and delivery systems for the extraordinarily sensitive nature of cannabis.
This brand-new contactless payment platform provides a safe, compliant, and secure way for cannabis retailers to accept customer payments without relying on cash transactions. And they do so by creating a seamless, easy experience for the customer.
In an interview, Steven Vaughn Blackman, CEO of Rosebud, explained how the concept for this platform was born. Working on a solution for the hotel and restaurant industry, he partnered with serial entrepreneur Brian Ferrilla from Detroit, Michigan, with experience in anti-money laundering and the hotel and casino space, alongside a team of creative and technology leaders from the advertising industry. They built a food and beverage solution to allow mobile payments in partnership with MGM International to layer their technology into their existing mobile app.
But like so many entrepreneurs, 2020 hit hard, and the rollout of their new system came to a halt. Fearing his idea would fade away due to COVID, Blackman shifted his goals and his business model to accommodate cannabis sales.
“I learned that technology in the cannabis space tends to be segmented, choppy, and inefficient,” Blackman stated, and then wondered, “How can we make the cannabis space more efficient in terms of payment processing.” Rosebud seamlessly integrates a dispensary's major back-end technical components, i.e., KYC, analytics, web ordering, POS/Inventory, eCommerce payment gateways, CRM, loyalty points, and more. These integrations create a turnkey payment solution for a dispensary looking for a consumer-facing mobile payment platform.
After meeting with executives at several high-ranking cannabis producers, he started to understand the bottlenecks at the retail level and set out to fix the issues. But Blackman credits his team and their experience for bringing it all together.
“We've decided to be prudent about our process; we wanted to be mindful about everything. Our team has extraordinary technology, compliance, and marketing backgrounds; my COO is from the anti-money laundering space, our CMO and CTO hail from BBDO, a top global ad agency, and my chief strategy officer comes from Airbnb and their payments space. So with that experience, we’re really proud of the product we’re bringing to market.”
How It Works
Comparing it to the EZPass system, through a mobile app that can be white-labeled, consumers load money into an eWallet by an ACH process that they can use to make purchases at their local dispensary via curbside pickup, in-store purchases, or delivery. When the money starts to get low, the app sends a notification to the user to replenish the funds, or it can be set up to auto-replenish the account based on the balance.
Yet, unlike EZPass, in cannabis, there’s a greater need for authorization and identification verification. “We’re following every letter of the law and creating a unique ACH flow that allows consumers to maintain a standing allowance to keep the account active.”
Like most platforms, the shopping and purchasing process is straightforward. Submit your identification, verify your account, and start shopping. Once the order is reviewed, the consumer proceeds to checkout.
Then, Rosebud provides an employee micro-app solution for delivery. The platform partners with existing delivery providers to deliver and verify the order. The app also offers in-person checkout procedures for in-store pickup and curbside delivery. The micro-app includes unique features such as facial recognition technology to help close the safety gap, verify that the right person is receiving their order, and log the transaction for compliance.
The platform also helps keep consumers current by offering notifications about upcoming license expirations and discounts for first-time orders and offers dispensaries and brands truly compliant push advertising.
Why Diversity is Crucial for Cannabis Technology
As a minority-owned tech company at the cross-section of an industry that has historically been dominated by white men, it is refreshing to see a company owned and operated by people of color. This diversity brings a unique perspective and helps to create more inclusive and equitable opportunities for everyone involved.
As he should be, Blackman is proud of his accomplishments. “We are probably the only black-owned payment platform, which is unique to the space. There’s a huge barrier to entry, and I’ve been able to break that mold and offer a technology solution we can bring to market.”
Particularly in cannabis, diversity is crucial not just because of the long-lasting impacts of the failed War on Drugs but because it's an industry that serves a diverse group of people. A lack of diversity and inclusion in technology solutions and providers can lead to a lack of understanding and accessibility for certain communities.
Cannabis technology solutions and providers must be inclusive of all communities, including those that have been historically marginalized. All segments of the industry must be designed with the needs of all users in mind, and providers should be representative of the communities they serve.
Ensuring diversity and inclusion leads to advanced innovation and growth. New ideas come to light when different perspectives and experiences are brought to the table.
Without question, Rosebud is a game-changer for the legal cannabis industry. Their payment and delivery systems provide a much-needed service for industry businesses while promoting diversity and inclusivity.
Blackman stated proudly, “There's always a rush to market. This mentality that you got to be first, we’ve got to do it first. But you’ve got to be the best, in my opinion. I don't want to be the first to market; I want to be the best to market.”
Want to learn more? Reach out to the guys at Rosebud.