“Dutchie is the easiest way to order cannabis products from the best dispensaries near you. Search the top marijuana stores, find the best cannabis products, place an order online, and pick it up or have it delivered in under an hour. Shopping for marijuana has never been quicker or easier”- quotes its website.
This Bend-based cannabis online shop which is just three years old has secured $35 million in early-stage investment, the largest amount in Central Oregon.
It has already raised $18 million in capital from investors like Snoop Dogg’s Casa Verde Capital, Kevin Durant’s Thirty-Five Ventures, Thrive Capital, Gron Ventures, and Howard Schultz, the founder- chairman of Starbucks.
With this fresh round of money infusion, the total fundings add to $53 million and enabled the company to grow from five employees to more than 100 with ambitious plans to expand on a global scale.
The platform envisions providing for legal dispensaries in 30 markets and 301 cities in the United States and Canada. The company is processing about 75,000 online orders per day as per a company’s statement.
Dutchie has been instrumental in putting Bend on the venture capital map as a leader as it was one of the earliest recipients of funding, according to Brian Vierra, Economic Development for Central Oregon venture catalyst. “In today’s environment, it brings excellent job opportunities at a rapidly growing company that is a pioneer in its industry,” Vierra said.
The ability to attract venture capital like this is a big deal for the community, said Damon Runberg, Oregon Employment Department regional economist.
“There is the energy behind these early state companies and excitement about the work being done here in Central Oregon,” Runberg said. “Although the flow of venture capital tends to slow during recessions, Bend businesses are well-suited to continue receiving these investments as long as we remain an attractive destination for the lifestyle-driven workforce.”
Basically the venture.capitalists are “betting” on Bend, Runberg said.
COVID-19 has caused a surge in legal cannabis sales, which in turn sparked a need for online presence, said Ross Lipson, Dutchie’s CEO. Lipson and his brother, Zach Lipson, who is the company’s chief product officer, created Dutchie.“There’s been a huge consumer shift from ordering in-store to ordering online,” Ross Lipson said. “We’ve seen our sales increase by 700% through the lockdown. And it doesn’t seem to be slowing down.”
The coronavirus pandemic saw a dramatic shift in people shopping preferences with a surge in online – sales. In fact, the total online ordering in any industry, whether food items, groceries or cannabis – was $211.5 billion in the United States in the second quarter, an increase of 31.8% from the first quarter of 2020, according to latest data from the Census Bureau.
Dutchie charges a flat fee to provide a platform for cannabis retailers to sell products linked to their point of sale systems that keep track of inventory. Customers can have the easy experience of either driving down to the store or having their orders delivered by another vendor or even do a curbside pickup.
“Everyone is remote right now because of the pandemic,” CEO Lipson said. “However, we have 102 employees and have a plan to double the team in the next year. We have set lofty goals for the company. To execute them takes a large amount of capital. We want to build a team and innovate on the product to keep up with the needs of the dispensaries and the consumers. The cannabis space is unique, and it’s evolving. “
As the growth chart moves upwards, the company is planning to move to a larger office space in District 2 in the NorthWest Crossing neighborhood of Bend.