US cannabis data and marketing platform Surfside has raised US$4 million in seed capital as it looks to plug the gap for marketers where Google and Facebook would be for other product categories.
The startup is the brainchild of founders Jon Lowen and Michael Blanche, previously of SITO Mobile, where they worked on location-based advertising and marketing via mobile devices. Surfside uses the same principles to bring data-led marketing strategies to businesses in the cannabis space.
One of the major challenges for marketers in the industry is that they cannot advertise on Google and Facebook, robbing them not only of a vital route to market, but denying them valuable analytics about potential and existing customers.
Surfside looks to fill that gap by using a combination of existing, publicly available and loyalty program data to create customer profiles and help brands better understand their target audience. The firm also develops and activates tailored campaigns for clients via a team of marketing experts.
Lowen told Tech Crunch: “We’re almost an extension of the marketing departments at a dispensary. Small dispensaries don’t necessarily have the bandwidth to run these campaigns or log into extra software. Our team can help plan, execute and get the most value out of the data for them.
“Now we want to start empowering brands, retailers, [and] dispensaries as they progress to be able to have ownership of the data, with these consumer insights and research at their fingertips, and give them the ability to decide if they want to activate on their own or continue using the experts we have here.”
The company plans to use the new capital to launch a SaaS option, whereby cannabis firms can purchase a licence enabling them to use the data, but develop their own campaigns and marketing strategies.
Eventually, Surfside said the technology can expand beyond cannabis into other verticals, but for now, the complicated regulatory landscape in the US means it can be a compliance monitor as well, creating another potential revenue stream for the company.