It sure did for David Dinenberg, the Founder and CEO of KIND Financial.
The 60 Minutes report on the state of the nascent medical marijuana industry aired on CBS in the fall of 2012. During the broadcast, the show covered the landscape of the legal cannabis industry, but it was a short 15-second segment on the program that caught Dinenberg’s attention. “In those few seconds, I learned that there were no financial services or structure in the cannabis industry,” he says. Dinenberg then went on to dedicate the next few months of his life to researching and learning about the cannabis industry.
The existing predicament was grave. The medical cannabis industry had expanded, new businesses needed financial services to grow their companies, and dispensaries also had to operate on a cash basis only. Although few financial institutions were willing to collaborate with growers and dispensaries, but due to the lack of traditional banking, this was usual norm in the legal gray area.
Dinenberg informs, “I started KIND Financial as a research project but it soon evolved into a business plan, and I gravitated toward a problem rather than the story.” The aim was simple: to provide financial technology to cannabis businesses so that they can operate safely, securely, and in compliance with state laws. The following years witnessed KIND Financial delivering the first complete seed to payment solution, KIND Seed to Sale, which enabled users to complete the entire cannabis business lifecycle while ensuring full compliance with evolving regulations. Soon enough, KIND’s state-of-the-art solution attracted global giants, and in June 2016, Microsoft made a huge announcement to partner with Kind and start offering cannabis software to government agencies. The software, part of a government-specific version of Microsoft Azure cloud platform, allowed states that had legalized medical or recreational cannabis to easily track that cannabis from the moment it was planted to when it was sold at a local dispensary. It has been two years since then, and today KIND’s software is being leveraged by the state of Rhode Island and by hundreds of companies with legal cannabis across the United States, as well as in Canada, Australia, and Jamaica.
Growing with the Industry
KIND Financial hasn’t looked back since its collaboration with Microsoft and has been on a continued path to facilitate advanced technology for the emerging cannabis space. “Through our technology and product offering, we have been helping the cannabis industry conduct business like any other industry in the world,” says Dinenberg.
Keeping its Seed to Sale as a foundation, the company collaborates with Link to Banking, a banking technology and consulting company that provides confined solutions to the financial institutions and also delivers a payment system. KIND’s combined solution facilitates normalcy to the complicated cannabis industry. The solution set offers benefits to every corner of this sprawling market: growers, dispensaries, government agencies, financial institutions, and consumers. “As the industry continues to mature and grow with new entrants and broader demographics there is a need for tools that ensure compliance. As the market becomes more complex the need will only increase,” mentions Stofka. “KIND is dedicated to developing technologies that make the critical issue of compliance a non-issue.”
Covering all Grounds
Government agencies are primarily concerned with three elements in the market, patient safety, the diversion of product, and tax collection and to that end, KIND injects blockchain technology to enable data continuity
Seed to Sale is the core of KIND’s technology platform explicitly designed for governments and regulatory agencies to focus on safety diversion of product prevention and tax collection. The company’s software monitors the growth and harvesting of plants using attached RFID sensors. When the final product arrives at a local dispensary, KIND’s point-of-sale module can identify shoppers using biometrics or state-issued medical ID cards. Overall, KIND can provide updated information about what’s being grown, which way it’s being transported, where it’s being sold, and who’s buying it.
The solution offers seamless and transparent recall systems that enable regulators to stop a product with bad test results. In the backend, KIND uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to identify patterns and recognize product diversion. This also allows the payment inspectors to supervise the current situation.
On the tax collection front, the solution provides a definitive and transparent look at all the transfers in the marketplace from B2B and all the sales either from retail locations or through eCommerce, which ultimately benefits the state regulators. Further, KIND provides training and implementation plans, and software-driven pieces that quicken the adoption process. The main aim that KIND follows is to deliver a flexible and one-stop shop in the global marketplace. “Our mission is to ensure business and technological growth for all constituencies within the cannabis industry while ensuring full compliance with evolving regulations, and that’s why we have adjusted our offering to deliver it to the Canadian territory,” says Dinenberg. “We understand compliance will be a critical issue for some time to come, but with our solution, all providers and their partners can focus on the job at hand while keeping in line with regulatory mandates.”
"We help government agencies regulate all entities participating in the industry, and help identify any illegal grows or product diversion through the proprietary tools deployed on the Microsoft Azure government cloud"
Experience and Expertise
Apart from offering a complete and focused seed to payment solution, KIND prides itself on the knowledge base that it has. “Creating a point-of-sale in the cannabis industry is not the same as creating it in restaurant industry, and that’s where our team’s expertise comes in handy,” says Dinenberg. “We’re also extremely proud of the team we’ve built, which includes ex-state and federal regulators and most recently we brought on board the former Global Head of Digital and Social Media Marketing at PayPal, Dave Peck, as our new CMO.”
Stofka further mentions that their team and partners enable them to deliver technologies like machine learning, AI, and Blockchain to government clients. KIND’s team will ensure that the company stays on the cutting edge of technology and its frameworks are at the forefront of the market. “Our team delivers the best in class tools for the trade, and essentially facilitates a quintessential system for every aspect of the cannabis industry,” states Stofka.
KIND’s team of experts, the innovative and nimble leadership that Dinenberg and Stofka bring to the fore, and the company’s partnership with Link to Banking has propelled it to be the leader in the cannabis regulation and compliance marketplace; and moving forward, the company aims to continue on the same path. They will be introducing a new version of the Seed to Sales software in the fourth quarter of 2018, which will be available on the Microsoft store. KIND also aims to expand their geographic footprint strategically. On the government side, the company is focused on delivering efficient solutions and plans to extend the number of contracts aggressively in the US. “I urge state regulators to take a deep dive with us in understanding the nuances in the government space and how we can help in protecting them against diversions, help ensure public safety, and oversee tax collection in a far better way than they are invested in right now,” concludes Stofka.