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 Tim Leslie, CEO of Leafly.
Newly Appointed CEO for Leafly
The VP of Amazon Prime Video International has resigned after 20 years to take on a new role in the cannabis industry as the CEO of Leafly, the leading technology platform that helps customers discover the right cannabis product that is right for them. The company’s website and mobile app provide reviews and access to a wide range of cannabis products – including products with CBD and THC.
Meet Tim Leslie
Tim Leslie is an experienced Vice President with a proven record in business operations, product, technology, marketing and is a Doctor of Law (J.D.) from Yale Law School.
Tim joined Amazon just two years after the company went public in an IPO as an associate counsel in 1999. He served in a wide range of roles including Associate General Counsel, VP of International Legal, VP of Amazon Instant Video Europe and his final position as VP of Amazon Prime Video overseeing the launch of over 200 countries.
The History of Leafly
Leafly was founded in 2010 by Cy Scott, Brian Wansolich, and Scott Vickers. In 2012 Privateer Holdings acquired the company and all three co-founders left the company to launch Headset- a business intelligence platform for the fast-growing marijuana industry. During the acquisition, Brendan Kennedy became the company’s CEO.
On November 6, 2017, Privateer Holdings announced Chris Jeffery as the new CEO. Prior to joining Leafly, Chris was the co-founder of OrderUp, a web and mobile food ordering startup which was acquired by Groupon in 2015 for $69 million.
Shortly after Chris Jeffery joined Leafly, the company cut about 15 jobs or 13 percent of its workforce.
Since September of 2018, the Board of Directors for Leafly have been on the hunt to find the right CEO, after they removed Chris Jeffrey after concerns arose against his management of the company.
We had the chance to speak with Leslie on his transition into the Cannabis industry and to gain a bit more insight into his new position and where he sees the cannabis industry going.
DCN: When presented with this opportunity, what attracted you to Leafly?
Tim Leslie: In my career, I have been attracted to companies with brands that customers love and have huge potential to grow, and then building and scaling those businesses globally. Leafly is such an opportunity. As the most trusted brand in cannabis, Leafly is the place customers go for the broadest, most reliable source of cannabis information, including 1.3 million crowd-sourced strain, product, and dispensary reviews.
Leafly has the opportunity to help customers around the world find and discover the best cannabis products for them. My experience launching and building international retail and content businesses around the world will help Leafly create an experience that customers are going to love around the globe.
DCN: As you have been following the landscape of the industry, how do you see the future of cannabis?
Tim Leslie: With unprecedented global momentum for legalization, the need to connect customers with cannabis will continue to grow exponentially in the near future. As we move toward legalization and mainstream acceptance, more and more people will have questions; Leafly has the answers. As the most trusted source of information and content, customers and businesses worldwide will turn to Leafly to make the most informed decision about legalization and the products that are right for them.
DCN: Will Leafly end up transitioning its model from helping people discover and find products to also becoming a distributor of cannabis products?
Leafly already helps customers find and discover cannabis products and the best retailers at which to buy them. Leafly will continue to connect customers to the most reliable cannabis information and best products and will always do so in compliance with all laws. As the laws pertaining to our industry evolve, we will evaluate strategic opportunities that fit with our core purpose of helping customers find the best products for them.
DCN: Honestly, what did your family and friends think, when you announced you were leaving your role with Amazon to take on a career in the cannabis industry?
Tim Leslie: They were excited to see me take a leading role at a trusted brand that does the right thing for customers in this rapidly expanding industry. My family and friends know how hard I worked during my 20 years at Amazon, and they are all looking forward to seeing me use my experience managing international growth, marketing, and operations to lead Leafly’s expansion into new markets.
DCN: For other execs in outside industries, what piece of advice would you offer them when doing due diligence on a company that is presenting them with an opportunity to take on a role within their cannabis company?
Tim Leslie: The cannabis industry has seen a huge amount of growth in recent years. There’s an incredible opportunity here to shape the direction of a global industry, and to do it the right way. Leafly has, and always will, comply with all laws. In terms of due diligence, the metrics of evaluating an opportunity are the same regardless of the industry.
Leafly is the authoritative voice for cannabis, a company that customers love and trust and has a vision to continuously innovate for its customers to create the best cannabis experience in the world.
To learn more about Leafly, visit www.leafly.com
Want to follow them on social media, visit them @leafly
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