The Silicon Review
“Our data helps dispensaries stock products that customers actually want and helps brands make products that customers are more likely to buy”
In the past, business intelligence was a privilege of large companies who could afford to maintain teams of IT specialists and data scientists. But in the last decade, as technology has developed rapidly, the software has become not only more lightweight and powerful but also more accessible. Small businesses can use the same tools as main market players and face their competitors.
In a nutshell, both, large and small,businesses can cost-effectively analyze large data sets to improve their marketing and product quality and accelerate customer relationships.
In light of the above mentioned, we are delighted to present BDS Analytics – the leader in cannabis business intelligence and market share tracking.
The firm captures transactions from dispensary point of sale systems and provides real data and actionable insights to dispensaries, brands, growers, and retailers in the Cannabis industry. Its data enables the users to compare their performance to the rest of the industry; and draw insights from specific data, such as individual product sales and general data.
BDS Analytics was founded in 2015 and is based in Boulder, Colorado.
Interview Excerpt: Roy Bingham, CEO & Co-Founder
Why was the company set up? How did you select the vertical and decide to be a part of the global platform?
We started BDS Analytics after recognizing that the emerging cannabis industry lacked the kind of sophisticated, sales-based data that is both commonplace and essential in other, more established industries.
As an early investor in SPINS, I was familiar with all that is required to build a successful data analytics firm. Later as a sales and marketing executive for health products, I was a very heavy user of data analytics from not only SPINS but also Nielsen and IRI. My experience at McKinsey was extremely useful for helping me understand how to properly build and scale the company, and my experience as a banker was important for the money-raising aspects of the company.
Tell us about your first product that was launched.
Our first product was GreenEdge, a software platform that uses POS data from cannabis dispensaries to help industry stakeholders make informed business decisions. Colorado was the first state with GreenEdge data, and now we have data for Washington, Oregon, and California as well. More states are on the way. The disparate data is culled from hundreds of sources. We process millions of transactions each month and match them to our growing product catalogues of thousands of brands and more than 100,000 items. We then present all that data organized into categories and sub-categories through interactive client dashboards. To do all that we have developed our own software that combines machine-learning and human intervention to ensure accuracy.
How successful was your first project roll on? Share the experience.
The BDS team comes with strong backgrounds in data analytics and market research in other industries. Getting it right was essential from the beginning, and with each state, we have performed painstaking data collection and analytics work prior to releasing GreenEdge to clients. The work takes enormous effort and savvy, and it is time-consuming, but it has been very successful.
What kind of mixed responses have you received from your consumers over the years? How have they motivated you to shape your offerings/grow the company?
Soon after launching GreenEdge we began hearing from clients that they found the data invaluable for their business decision-making. But many of them had important questions about consumer behavior as well as investment opportunities and risks that GreenEdge could not answer. So we launched two new divisions to answer these questions:
Our Consumer Insights division leverages wide-ranging consumer research to understand the places where consumer behavior and cannabis intersect. The research is invaluable for industry stakeholders trying to understand their customers.
Our Business Intelligence division dives deep into the investment landscape for cannabis, studying everything from cost advantages and disadvantages of outdoor vs. indoor growing to competitive climates in different states and regulatory challenges. Risks and potential rewards feature prominently. For investors, this work is essential.
What were the grounds on which you have expanded your company and its offerings over the years?
Growth for BDS Analytics revolves around legal cannabis markets. We began with Colorado, then included Washington and Oregon and recently added California to the states for which we offer business intelligence. We anticipate offering our full suite of retail, consumer and investment services in new legal-cannabis states in 2018.
BDS Analytics would not be here today if not for Canopy Boulder, a seed-stage business accelerator program and venture fund for the legal cannabis industry. The founders persuaded me to pursue opportunities in data analytics for the cannabis industry, and Canopy – where BDS Analytics was part of the founding class of start-ups – was instrumental in helping BDS Analytics find investment partners.
If you have to list five factors that have been/are the biggest asset to your organization, what would they be and why?
The team – We attracted people with deep experience in other industries – seasoned veterans from a wide variety of fields. The team is the most important asset.
The technology – Our software is the industry standard for assessing, analyzing and understanding the complex cannabis marketplace.
The scope of analysis – At BDS Analytics, making sense of the cannabis marketplace and cannabis consumers is a holistic effort, with GreenEdge, Consumer Insights, and Business Intelligence all combining to offer industry stakeholder detailed and deep analyses of the cannabis market.
The partnerships – We work with the leading brands, businesses, and investors in the cannabis industry — some of our clients are even outside of the industry. Close relationships with industry stakeholders, including the National Cannabis Industry Association and the ArcView Group, help drive what we do, and how we do it. Cross-pollination between our team and our partners has been enormously successful. They offer us fresh insights every day.
The commitment and passion – For the BDS team, the cannabis industry is not just another landscape of companies, investors, and entrepreneurs. This tested (in the extreme) industry is packed with people who feel strongly about the power and possibilities of cannabis and are willing to put their careers in other industries on the line for the sake of cannabis. We share this passion, and are extremely active in the industry, speaking nonstop at conferences and other industry meetings.
Meet the Leadership Team
Roy Bingham, CEO & Co-Founder: Roy Bingham is a Harvard MBA and former McKinsey consultant, a banker, a marketing executive and a serial entrepreneur. He grew up in the UK, was a banker/financier in London, then moved to the USA in 1993. He has been a partner in Health Business Partners, Health Strategy Consulting and Nutrition Business Journal – respectively, the leading M&A advisory, consulting and business news service for the natural product Industry.
Mr. Bingham hosted conferences such as The NBJ Summit, has spoken at hundreds of events, appeared on national TV and authored many articles.
Elizabeth Stahura, Co-Founder: Elizabeth Stahura has been in the business intelligence market for over 10 years, working for some of the leading names in retail sales tracking. She is a widely recognized authority in retail sales analysis and strategic consulting, and brings with her insights learned from years in the cycling, running, outdoor and sports apparel business.