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TechCrunch Disrupt SF Dominated by Cannabis Tech Companies

October 8, 2015

Perhaps unsurprisingly, cannabis companies are starting to become perpetually bigger players in tech competitions across the world. In late September, 25 companies were selected from a thousand entrants to compete at TechCrunch’s Startup Battlefield in San Francisco. They were going head-to-head for a grand prize of $50,000, the iconic Disrupt Cup, and a ton of press and hype.

Three companies out of the 25, including the winner and runner up, were either cannabis-focused companies or had an explicit, stated cannabis application. Check out below to see how the future of the industry is starting to take shape.




Who they are: Agrilyst is a Brooklyn-based intelligence platform for indoor farms, founded by Allison Kopf and Jason Camp.

What they do: The TechCrunch Disrupt winners bring data integration, farm management, and real-time analytics to indoor farming in a highly integrated way. The company’s software pulls together information about things like CO2, light, and humidity, then displays the information in a dashboard which makes recommendations and predictions for farmers.

Why you need to know them: Kopf told TechCrunch that almost everybody she talks to presumes that she’s in the cannabis industry. While it’s not Agrilyst’s primary market, she did acknowledge that the software can indeed be rolled out across cannabis greenhouses. For businesses, this means more data about your crops. For consumers, it means a more controlled, and ultimately more consistent product.


Green Bits

Green Bits

Who they are: Green Bits provides cannabis-specific point-of-sales software for dispensaries.

What they do: The runners-up in SF’s Startup Battlefield have launched software to help dispensaries manage their cannabis sales. They’re currently operating in around 45% of Washington dispensaries. The software tracks inventory and sales, and offers a mobile solution for dispensary operators who are on the go and need to keep track of their business.

Why you need to know them: They’re stepping into a space which is in desperate need of sales solutions – with the different state and federal regulations, many major banks and payment systems have been hesitant to get into this area. Green Bits has started in Washington, but is rolling out soon to Colorado, Oregon, and beyond.




Who they are: Leaf is the world’s first plug-in cannabis growing system.

What they do: While Agrilyst and Green Bits target mass producers and distributors of cannabis, SF Disrupt’s third green contender is geared towards the home grower audience. Leaf, a L.A.-based startup, offers consumers a 4’ x 2’ box-shaped device which fits two plants, with an estimated yield of between 4-5 ounces of product per grow. It’s more than just a box, though: Leaf’s smart system monitors factors such as light, soil makeup, and ventilation to ensure an optimum grow operation for everyone from beginners to experts.

Why you need to know them: The system is designed to not just track these factors, but react to them. Plant needs more nutrients? The box will dispense more. Plant needs more or less light? The box will automatically adjust to suit. And finally, a bonus: a built-in HD camera will create time lapses for you to share with your friends.

Image Credit: Max Morse for TechCrunch via Wikimedia Commons