Briteside launched a delivery service in Oregon in 2017, and quickly picked up a loyal customer base with a tongue-in-cheek commercial for its e-commerce platform. (See the video below.)
Soon after, in early 2018, the business was acquired and blended into what has become TILT Holdings. TILT’s COO, Tim Conder, tells Cannabis Business Times that a growing interest in delivery services (and a growing understanding of how cannabis delivery regulations will work in the U.S.) is guiding much of the technology and the product offerings in TILT’s portfolio to the consumer.
“The initial nexus for TILT and the initial business combination was to merge best-in-class cannabis companies—whether they be plant-touching or ancillary—to amalgamate a company that was creating and supporting brands worldwide,” Conder says.
Here’s how TILT management laid out the original business combination in May 2018:
- Baker Technologies Inc. (Denver, Colo.) - Baker helps dispensaries generate more revenue and build relationships with their customers through a variety of products, featuring online ordering, customer loyalty, messaging and analytics. The company works with over 1,000 dispensaries in 24 states and Canada.
- Briteside Holdings, LLC (Bend, Ore.) - Briteside produces a diverse range of products and services, from prefabricated modular cultivation units to home delivery and subscription-based services. All Briteside products are predicated on proprietary algorithms designed to improve yields and efficiencies while reducing costs and time.
- Sea Hunter (Boston, Mass.) - Sea Hunter is a leading source of cultivation, retail, operational and capital support to state licensees and, in certain circumstances, operates proprietary, vertical operations which allows it to deliver a more knowledge-based product to customers.
- Sante Veritas Holdings Inc. (SVT) - SVT’s subsidiary Santé Veritas Therapeutics Inc. is at the final stage of obtaining a cultivation license under the Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations (ACMPR). Health Canada recently issued SVT Subco a “confirmation of readiness” for a license under the ACMPR, confirming its initial annual cultivation request of 2,835,000 grams of cannabis flower.
Since the original business combination, the company has worked to further consolidate the three technology assets in its portfolio: Briteside, Baker and Blackbird, which TILT closed on in January 2019.
“Blackbird offers supply chain solutions to the cannabis industry in equal parts operational and software. And so, there was some overlap between Briteside and Blackbird, and some overlap between Baker and Blackbird. Instead of keeping those companies independent, and in some ways competitive with one another, we have merged all of those technologies under one banner that is Blackbird.”
In short, the capabilities of Baker and Briteside are now functioning as Blackbird. Briteside’s delivery technology, for instance, can be found at Blackbird’s website.
And that delivery goes both ways—wholesale and retail. Now, the Blackbird delivery platform can be found in Nevada and parts of California. Conder says TILT has plans for expansion in the mid- to long-term. The companies also feature pickup services through the Blackbird e-commerce platform, another growing trend in the retail sector.
“It's really exciting, right?” Conder says. “I know for myself, personally, a lot of my consumer habits happen through delivery. I order through Postmates or Uber Eats, I order diapers from Amazon. I have all of this delivered to my house. Consumer behavior changes as it relates to cannabis, and we're really excited to sort of capitalize on that consumer behavior and be the go-to resource for consumers that want to have cannabis products delivered to their door.”
That wholesale and retail delivery platform is now bolstered by Blackbird’s supply chain datasets. In-store inventory can be cross-referenced against consumer orders and wholesale purchases, allowing Blackbird’s platform to dispatch delivery personnel efficiently across the marketplace.
As with everything else in the cannabis industry, delivery isn’t happening in a vacuum.
“There are lots of regulatory hurdles. They vary state by state and even municipality by municipality,” Conder says. “So, I would say to consumers, be patient. If there isn't delivery in your area now, there will be. This is a highly regulated product, and it's important for regulators to keep the public safe. And so, the rollout of common conveniences like delivery will just be slower than I think most consumers want it. … It's super important for consumers to understand the laws and regulations as it relates to them, so that they can keep themselves safe right by buying product from licensed retailers and buying product from well-known and established operators.”