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Marijuana firms form investment network for pot-related startups


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The firm provides software to businesses for tracking every gram of marijuana from cultivation facility to retail sale. It also helps companies maintain compliance with state regulations.

"It was not easy at all to get started," said co-founder Jessica Billingsley. "We were bootstrapped, self-funded. There were a number of times when we had to double down on our investment."

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Like Canna Security, MJ Freeway has no physical contact with marijuana.

"We thought that as software providers, we wouldn’t face this degree of (financing) challenges," said co-founder Amy Poinsett.

But now, after three years of operations, MJ Freeway is profitable and growing, with hundreds of clients in 12 states, Washington, D.C., and Canada. Its 2013 revenue is projected at between $1 million and $2 million.

The partners last year had attended ArcView meetings to raise money. This year, they’re sitting on the other side of the table as prospective investors. Although they haven’t yet invested, they discovered two pitching companies that could be candidates for investment or creation of joint ventures.

Investors say they are pleased that the marijuana industry is moving from niche status to the economic mainstream.

"When you invest in cannabis," Keber said, "you invest in America."

sraabe@denverpost.com or twitter.com/steveraabedp




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