Tress Capital Portfolio Company Headset CEO Cy Scott on the Future of Industry Data
Seattle-based Headset has been plowing the cannabis retail point-of-sale data fields since 2015, when it exclusively focused on Washington state. Over time, the company steadily expanded its analytic chops to include more markets, and today it tracks product sales and performance in 15 markets that it categorizes as Legacy (California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington), Emerging (Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Michigan), and Canadian (Alberta, British Columbia, Ontario, and Saskatchewan). Core services include Headset Retailer, Headset Insights, and the recently launched Headset Bridge, which utilizes real-time data from retail menus to provide Headset clients with “a new layer of cannabis intelligence.”
CBE had the opportunity to speak with Headset founder and CEO Cy Scott about the addition of a new data product, the changes the industry is going through, and how companies like his meet the needs of an economically stressed industry that is simultaneously growing, contracting, and maturing. Scott had just returned from Hall of Flowers in Santa Rosa, California, which offered a convenient entry into our conversation.
“It was quieter than last year,” he said of the B2B trade show. “It was still a fantastic show and well-attended, but last year was crazy.”
Did he attend with any specific goals in mind? “It depends,” he said. “Generally, I’ll go as we work through partnership agreements or bigger accounts and having that face-time is always helpful. I went to this one for some of those reasons, but also because I really like to see what’s going on in the brand landscape. Most of the brands we track were exhibiting, and sometimes it’s nice to go beyond the name and the metrics and talk to the brand owners, the decision-makers, to understand where they’re going, and that adds some color to our quantitative data.
“I had an opportunity to talk with Wyld, the gummy manufacturer,” he added. “They have a new product line they introduced at Hall of Flowers. They do really well in any market they’re in, and they race up the charts as far as sales, so just curious – what are their goals, what are they trying to do by introducing a new brand, and what are their expectations – having those conversations. For this event, specifically, I was able to do a lot of that, and then finally, I do a podcast (High Rise) a couple times a week, and I was able to do some interviews for that while I was there. And it’s just nice to get away from the computer screen every now and then.”
Citing Wyld as an example of a brand that has become multi-state and a tangible sign of an industry whose players are growing up fast, did that not speak to a need for Headset to not only expand its footprint but introduce new products?
“A little background on Headset,” said Scott as he began a detailed reply. “As I’m sure you’re well-versed, we source our data primarily via the retailers, which means we work directly with dispensaries, we have relationships with the stores, and they give us permission to access their data through their point-of-sale. And this gives us some advantages with the frequency of data; we get it in real time, and we see everything in the point-of-sale system from the basket, the transactions, and the customer profile, to inventory, you name it. So, that’s where we’re coming from, and now with Bridge Signal, which we just announced, we’re actually layering in new datasets.