Welcome to Outside-In with DCN where we interview upcoming startups and businesses in the cannabis industry. Each interview you will get to meet the founders taking a leap into building a company they believe in. Gain knowledge of their services, their mission and what makes each of the unique. On this Outside-In, with DCN we spoke with Keith McCarty, CEO of WAYV.
WAYV is an automated, on-demand supply chain logistics platform serving California’s exploding legal cannabis industry. The technology streamlines the traditional B2B process, including transport, sales, and payment through a one-stop website that integrates regulatory and compliance checks. WAYV serves as a transparent, efficient tracking and compliance platform that is creating a new standard and surpasses the fulfillment experience of non-cannabis markets in today’s on-demand world.
Meet Keith McCarty
Keith McCarty is the CEO and founder of Wayv. His leadership defines the overall
vision and direction of the company, and he touches all aspects of
strategy, operations, marketing, product development, investor relations, and company culture. Prior to WAYV, McCarty was a founding team member at the social enterprise platform Yammer, a software Microsoft acquired for $1.2 billion in 2012.
As an entrepreneur in cannabis, Keith was named a “40 Under 40” by the San Francisco Business Times and the Marijuana Industry Entrepreneur of the Year Award by the MJiC in 2016.
With a vision for a technology solution to complex legacy supply chain issues, Keith developed WAYV – a B2B platform that helps move product quickly, safely, tracked in real-time, from producers to market, within a day.
McCarty is a proven expert in the on-demand economy, entrepreneurship, software applications, and business automation. He has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration on finance and marketing from Chapman University, The George L. Argyros School of Business and Economics in Orange, California where he grew up. He currently lives in Los Angeles.
DCN: Can you share the backstory of WAYV?
Keith McCarty: WAYV is another example of how the cannabis industry lacked a technology solution. Retailers and brands were connecting in a very old-fashioned way. This was cumbersome and costly and driving prices up; the last thing the industry needs when so much about supporting the legal operation of this industry is cost-sensitive. Technology not only helps bring costs down by streamlining connection between stores and suppliers, but it also satisfies regulatory concerns because our logistics platform incorporates transparency and compliance that no other method of fulfillment has. I wanted to continue to solve for the problems I already saw in cannabis – just moving upstream.
DCN: What is the elevator pitch for WAYV?
Keith McCarty: Wayv is a B2B marketplace that connects licensed brands to licensed retailers. The seamless integration of technology and logistics for every one of those orders guarantees that store shelves are stocked with a consistent supply of compliant products. Our platform brings safe and licensed products to market faster and brings unprecedented visibility and service to retailers with order building, next day shipping, and detailed order tracking.
DCN: Congratulations on closing your round, what will the funds be allocated towards?
Keith McCarty: The funds will be allocated to strengthening the WAYV supply chain platform and hiring critical resources across key functions.
DCN: Craft Ventures led this round, can you share how the relationship evolved?
Keith McCarty: We knew Craft from being in the technology world and from my time at Yammer. This is a great example of how more and more investment is not only in a proven bottom line and business concept but in a proven entrepreneur. A great idea can only take you so far. A leader can navigate regulation, funding, branding, growth, software development, and the culture. That’s what investors are also looking at — proven leadership.
DCN: Any insight into how long your due diligence process was with the lead investor, Craft Ventures?
Keith McCarty: We launched in August of this year, and this seed round was in October. Again, the fact that we were known, and our leadership and development team were trusted, and our legacy of compliance and responsibility were trusted, made this a great funding process.
DCN: Building a marketplace and with current regulations specifically in California, can you give some insight into how the regulations impact your business?
Keith McCarty: I was fortunate enough to learn early how essential participating in the regulatory process is. Cannabis regs impact us in multiple ways- they are still changing – so we have developers dedicated to keeping up with them. We have built the software to incorporate compliance, so when rules about taxes, track and trace, manifests, distribution, cash handling, and the like, that touch retailer and brand relationships and transactions change, we change. We maintain a team in Sacramento that helps keep us up to date and much of the time, a step ahead.
DCN: WAYV technology streamlines the traditional business-to-business process, including transport, sales, and payment through a one-stop website that integrates regulatory and compliance checks, are you the technology and you connect the companies to these providers or do you also provide these services internally?
Keith McCarty: Wayv is a technology- we do not have drivers, product, or cannabis infrastructure.
DCN: You initially came into the cannabis industry launching Eaze and in 2016 made the decision to step away from the CEO role, can you give any insight into what led to that transition moving from Founder to being on the Board of Advisors?
Keith McCarty: It was time to hand the reins to the new leadership team. I had a vision for what was happening upstream as product struggled to get to stores, and I wanted to develop solutions to ensure that the consumer-touching market had a reliable, compliant upstream channel enabled by technology. No one else was touching tech around this.
DCN: What were some of the most significant lessons you learned from Eaze that you have taken with you, as you scale WAYV?
Keith McCarty: I would say that I have learned four keystone principles. Build a great team. Disruptive technology must work with the government. Deliver a great user interface. Always align with an ethos to do good and success will follow.
DCN: Can you please share a few helpful tips and advice to our entrepreneur audience who will be raising capital this year?
Keith McCarty: Have a clear vision, but be flexible in how that vision may manifest. Be persistent. Build a great team. There is value in knowing and following the rules and shaping them, especially in highly regulated industries.
DCN: What other plans does WAYV have for 2019?
Keith McCarty: We are heads down building this platform and growing. California is the market to conquer, so that’s where our plans will focus for this moment.
DCN: Thank you, Keith, for giving our readers more insight into WAYV and what you and your team have been working on the past year. Before we let you go, any final words to share with the DCN audience?
Keith McCarty: WAYV has amazing traction in just a few months since launch. WAYV has facilitated thousands of deliveries to the majority of all licensed California Retailers, which alone represents a $6B~ market in 2018. This rapid adoption shows that we are doing something right, and filling a much-needed gap in the industry. We are excited to continue building on the early momentum.
To learn more about WAYV, please visit their website: www.wayv.com.
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