GreenRush is a cannabis ordering platform which is effectively the easiest way to buy weed. With 19,000 products, 439 retailers and tens of thousands of customers buyers in their local system, GreenRush can be compared to the Amazon of cannabis.
We had the change to interview Eddie Miller, founder of GreenRush, who tells us about his company and what they do.
Mike: How easy is it for a marijuana dispensary to get on board with GreenRush?
Eddie: You must be permitted in order to actually sell on our platform, but that’s the only restriction and the only obstacle. As long as you have a local permit, whether it’s in Los Vegas, Colorado, or anywhere in California, in theory, you can sell on GreenRush.
Now that we’re in Germany, hopefully, we find some local partners here that can help us grow our business in Europe.
Mike: Do you handle the deliveries, or is that done independently?
Eddie: The deliveries are handled by the retailer directly. We help the retailer source the driver, do the background check an
d track the driver while they’re moving from location to location. We connect the retailer with the consumer and we make sure that the driver, that’s delivering on behalf of the retailer, is tracked, in order to make sure that it’s actually facilitated. We kind of shepherd the entire process, kind of like when you order an Uber.
Mike: Incredible. How’d you get started with this?
Eddie: I’m a serial entrepreneur. I’ve been building digital marketplaces since I was a kid. I built my first one in New York called NewYearsEve.com. We sold New Year’s Eve tickets all across the world, including in Miami at the Fountain Blue, or at Win in Los Vegas.
Four years ago, someone came to me and invited me to get into the cannabis industry. My first reaction was I thought he was nuts. I told him he was crazy.
He stayed in New York for a week and eventually he convinced me that this was the next path. At this point, I’d already exited from NewYearsEve.com, so I met with some lawyers throughout the process. This was exactly four years go in July of 2013.
By April of 2014, I was now heavily in the cannabis industry, and the idea for GreenRush was born. GreenRush is really a replica of NewYearsEve.com. We didn’t own the nightclubs or the hotels and we didn’t own the consumers.
Instead, we marketed to the consumers, the nightclubs, and hotels that went on our platform. It’s a supply and demand marketplace and in the cannabis industry, it works the same way, except there’s a lot more demand.
Mike: Does GreenRush processes the payments as well?
Eddie: Right now we don’t because there’s a lot of banking restrictions in America. The retailer will actually handle and process the payment, and we invoice for our fees at the end of the month. But the future looks bright.
We’re going to start data testing a whole bunch of different payment processing solutions – credit card processing, a wallet solution – and as those start to get tested, and we see how the Federal government reacts, then, eventually, we’ll be at a point, just like in our previous business, where we do daily batch-outs. We’ll do what’s known as split-batch, so at the end of each day we’ll take our commission and the retailer will get their money the next day.
Mike: Is anyone in the industry using crypto currencies like like bitcoin as payment?
Eddie: Some are, but there are some Federal anti-money laundering regulations specific to cryptocurrency. It’s not that I don’t want to do it, but I haven’t figured out a way do it and stay within the law and boundaries. There are a whole lot of complexities to using cryptocurrency, as opposed to creating our own stored-value wallet within GreenRush.
Mike: Are the vendors on GreenRush accepting credit card payments or only cash?
Eddie: 92% of all orders are cash. Another 8% are divided between cashless ATM, like pin debit cards, and some are credit cards, but those credit card transactions are, in some cases, miscategorized.
That’s really the biggest problem in our industry. It’s very hard to get a credit card processor to pick you up and actually use your service because this is more than just a high-risk processing business, this is a business that’s Federally legal.
Mike: So is the biggest challenge your company is dealing with is credit card transactions?
Eddie: 100% – credit cards are, by far, our biggest challenge. I’ve explored 17 options in the last year. The solution of this will increase our average order sizes by 30%… Also, if your credit card is stored with us, how much easier is it?
I’m here in Berlin. I don’t speak German, but I’m able to order Ubers and travel around very easily just because my credit card is already stored – Ubers are easy to order.
Mike: Is your service offered in multiple languages?
Eddie: No, not yet. As of right now, our services are just in English and we only cater to states in California, Nevada, and Colorado. That being said, we are certainly looking to add other languages. Spanish would be our next iteration. Spanish would be offered both in the states and in Spain, which is where we’re considering expanding to.
Mike: What would you consider your biggest super power as an entrepreneur?
Eddie: I think my greatest strength is knowing when to strike an opportunity. I find, in a lot of cases, the real difference between an entrepreneur and someone with an idea, is the ability, the gall, maybe the balls – as we say in America – to actually go and do it.
Sometimes you fail, but you have to be willing to take that risk and just go for it when you believe in it.
Mike: How about your biggest weakness?
Eddie: My biggest weakness as an entrepreneur is too many good ideas coming at me, and not knowing which ones to say “No” to.
The truth is, I say “No” every day, twice a day even. But sometimes, maybe I needed to say “No” three times that day because I ended up spinning my wheels on some new idea that didn’t truly have merit.
Mike: What is the greatest lesson you learned from a mistake?
Eddie: In building a business, the number one thing that becomes a problem is when you have too much money.
The interesting thing is, as a true entrepreneur, being bootstrapped is always better than being cash-heavy because when you have lots of cash, you throw cash at every problem. I’ve made that mistake and lost a bunch of money that way.
But then, when you don’t have any money or you have limited resources, you have to make very calculated decisions as to how to spend resources. Through that, you get to discover what works best and most economically efficient.
Mike: What book has inspired your life the most?
Eddie: I’d say my favorite book is The Godfather. I’m sure, to some extent, it’s inspired my life in structural hierarchy of my business. But in reality, the book that’s truly inspired my business the most is called The Long Tail.
The Long Tail is the story about Amazon. It’s the way that Amazon was developed. Jeff Bezos – he had this idea. The idea was that if every book you could ever imagine was available, you’d still sell lots of the best sellers, you’d still abide by the 80/20 rule, where 80% sales will come from 20% of the inventory.
But, because you have this long tail, you have these obscure items that people are looking for. For example, a book on plastic wrist bands that nobody knew about. That same person wants to buy the book about plastic wrist bands, is going to buy a book on one of the best sellers. That way, you end up acquiring the customer and owning the customer.
I’ve personally been an avid Amazon user and I started years ago with the Amazon Kindle e-reader because it was the easiest way to buy books.
Mike: How do you define happiness?
Eddie: My definition of happiness is when I’m at work, it’s not that things can’t stress you out, but I want to know that things are working the way that I’ve envisioned them. I want the people around me, the people that are dependent on me, and the people that are part of my company, I want them to be happy and fulfilled in what they’re doing.
The thing that makes me happy is when I plan something. GreenRush is a perfect example.
Four years ago, my plan was to build GreenRush and set it up. Although I haven’t made a dollar on it thus far, it only took me until now to really this dream being realized, which provides me with fulfillment and happiness.
Even in my personal life, others can see how happy I am with my business and career. This also makes them happy to see me happy.
Mike: What’s been the biggest challenge in your personal life?
Eddie: The biggest challenge is finding a partner that can accept my lifestyle.
Due to my schedule, I’m on the road five months a year, so I need someone that can tell me when to relax and take a break and morally support me whenever I have my doubts.
In my previous relationships, the parts that didn’t work out were because I wasn’t with very emotionally independent women. Today, now that I’m in my 30s, I seek out a different type of partner that has their own career, that has their own life, that has a bunch of functions and variables in her life that I can support likewise, and then when we’re together, the time that we spend together is that much more valuable.
Mike: What are you most excited about for GreenRush this year?
Eddie: I’m looking forward to seeing the Los Vegas market grow. Los Vegas went recreationally legal on July 1st, which means that all you need to do is be 21 and over to buy cannabis in Los Vegas.
Since this has become legal, we have done hundreds of orders, and have had tens of thousands of hits on our website of people inquiring about how easy it is to buy cannabis in Sin City. The thing that I’m most excited about is to see that growth catapult.
Beyond that, on January 1st, California will go recreationally legal! And we are, by far, the largest marketplace for cannabis in California. We believe that our business will grow 500% to 1000% in Q1 of next year. So, I just want to be there on the ground, and make sure people get their weed easily.
This interview took place at the TOA conference in Berlin Germany.