Blog

Marijuana Website Wikileaf Bought By Canadian Firm

temp-post-image

Cannabis website Wikileaf was acquired by Nesta Holding Company for an undisclosed price in December.

Wikileaf is a cannabis pricing comparison website that was launched in 2014 by Dan Nelson and is based in Seattle, Washington. Nesta is a private equity firm based in Ottawa, Canada, that is helmed by Chuck Rifici, who is also the co-founder of Tweed Marijuana, now known as Canopy Growth Corp., Canada’s largest licensed medical cannabis producer. The company is valued at over $200 million. The goal is to take Wikileaf public later this year, but the exchange has yet to be determined.

“We fielded a few opportunities and considered a reverse merger with another cannabis company,” said Nelson, “But we didn’t want to go down that road. We really liked [Nesta's] background and that led us to believe they were the right people to partner with.”

Chuck Rifici is no longer CEO of Canopy Growth, but remains one of the largest shareholders. Rifici is now chief financial officer of the liberal party in Canada. Bruce Linton is the current chief executive officer of Canopy Growth.

Wikileaf’s motto is to get “more green for less green.” For the cannabis consumers, they find their favorite strains for the cheapest price. For the advertising challenged dispensaries, it provides a way to reach a targeted audience. 24 % of U.S. Dispensaries are on the Wikileaf site. The site is available in 11 states and Wikileafs has had a 65% increase in traffic since the Nesta investment. It was reported in High Times that the site had 100,000 unique views in September 2015.

Wikileaf originally began as a reverse auction website, similar to the Priceline model, where the customers names their price and a willing company steps up is they accept the price. The site has since changed to a cannabis price comparison model, where the customer enters how much they want to pay and how far they want to travel.

With the new investment, Wikileaf plans on making some crucial hires and is making a lot of changes in the site. “We’re launching next month with the new redesigned site and the logo is completely changed,” said Nelson.

Wikileafs competes with Leafly, the largest cannabis website with 9.5 million monthly visitors last month and 40 million page views. Leafy gives cannabis ratings, descriptions and publishes the average price per gram in each market.

Weedmaps is another competitor which has 4 million monthly visitors and annual revenue of $30 million. Weedmaps allows dispensaries to post price deals, but there isn’t a price comparison feature.

With the increase in states legalizing recreational marijuana, price comparison is becoming even more popular. Once a consumer has found a product they like, there’s no reason to overpay.