Denver Marijuana Startup Competition Attracts Tech Talent

NEW YORK (MainStreet) — CannaBuild is enhancing its brand among digital talent by co-sponsoring the first annual Marijuana Tech Startup Competition September 26 through the 28 along with MassRoots.com.

"We will be releasing our application programming interface (API) for usage during the event and it will be the first public use of our API," said Zach Marburger, CEO of CannaBuild, an online management system for dispensaries.

The Denver event will focus on creating and refining digital products for the legal cannabis industry with participants pitching their marijuana tech startup or concept in two minutes.

"We expect this weekend to produce several apps and systems that solve real problems in the cannabis industry," said Isaac Dietrich, CEO with MassRoots.

So far, 57 people have registered for the event including 8 developers and 13 pitch tickets. Tickets are $20 to attend and $50 to pitch a business or concept.

420 Investor Founder Alan Brochstein plans to attend.

"I think the competition serves several purposes, including marketing marijuana companies to potential consumers and also to attract employees directly," Brochstein told MainStreet.

Among the entrepreneurs lined up to pitch are a cannabis-themed advertising network for websites and apps, because Google, Facebook and Twitter currently ban marijuana-related ads and a crypto currency-like Bitcoin that would address restrictive banking regulation.

"Having programmers develop applications on our API will help us gather feedback from a qualified community and optimize our plans on launching the most comprehensive cannabis information API to the general public later this fall," Marburger told MainStreet.

On the first day of the weekend, five pitches will be selected based on whether they solve a problem in the marijuana industry, already have a minimum viable product or have the ability to create one over the weekend.

"We see huge opportunities in cannabis specific compliance, communication, and finance apps that meet the needs of a changing consumer and regulatory state," Marburger said.

Each startup will have ten minutes to pitch its progress on the Sunday and will be evaluated on the traction they generated over the course of the weekend. Traction includes sales, product launch, new product features, gaining users and raising capital.

"The goal for the event is to generate as much traction as possible over the course of the weekend," Dietrich told MainStreet. "This can be by creating an entirely new product, adding new features to an existing one or by focusing on scaling an existing system."

Judges will include executives from the ArcView Group, Dutchess Capital, Dixie Elixirs, Denver Relief Consulting and Mantis Ad Network.

"A lot of business service and map based applications dominate the current cannabis market but offer little to no value to end consumer," said Marburger.

Prizes are $2,500 for first place, $1,000 for second place and $500 for third place.

"We expect entrepreneurs to attend who are looking to develop apps, systems and digital properties for the cannabis industry, enthusiasts looking to join a marijuana tech start-up and investors looking for opportunities in the marijuana tech industry," Dietrich said.

The competition takes place at 2247 Federal Blvd where CannaBuild and MassRoots are headquartered.

--Written by Juliette Fairley for MainStreet

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