With Founders Fund’s recent investment in Privateer Holdings, giving the cannabis industry a big stamp of venture capital approval, it’s almost not surprising to find out that Y Combinator, arguably the most prestigious accelerator around, has invested in the growing industry as well.
Meadow, a young startup that helps medical marijuana users order a delivery through its mobile app, is in Y Combinator’s current batch. Today, the startup is announcing the launch of CannabisMD, an on-demand service for at-home medical cannabis evaluations by a licensed physician.
Launched in October, Meadow’s delivery service is part of the ancillary cannabis industry — that is, it’s not involved in actually growing or selling cannabis. Instead, it’s built more like a “GrubHub for cannabis,” as cofounder and chief executive David Hua told VentureBeat in an interview. While its mobile app provides consumers with dispensary information like menus, the dispensaries themselves handle the delivery. Meadow simply takes a cut from the deliveries. The rates vary.
“We’re trusting these dispensaries that have been doing this for a long time to understand the patients and understand the logistics,” Hua said.
During its time at Y Combinator, the startup is focusing on customer acquisition.
“One of the biggest goals is to really identify our customers, our patients,” said Hua.
Meadow isn’t the only startup working on this kind of service.
Eaze and Nestdrop, among others, offer similar services, although the city of Los Angeles recently shut down Nestdrop.
Certain communities, such as Los Angeles and Seattle, have regulations that make it more difficult for cannabis companies to operate. For that reason, Meadow operates in various parts of the Bay Area, except San Jose, whose more stringent regulations the startup is avoiding for now — because, really, no one likes a buzzkill.
None of the licensed physicians are Meadow employees. Instead, the company only facilitates bookings between them and its customers. A consultation takes 15-45 minutes and costs $100. It’s basically a chat about why the patient would like to use cannabis to help the physician decide if they are a good candidate for a medical marijuana card. The service is currently available in San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley.
Hua cofounded Meadow with Rick Harrison, Harrison Lee, and Scott Garman. The startup is based in San Francisco.
Kia Kokalitcheva ~ February 4, 2015

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