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Jessica Billing: Akerna is the result of a merger transaction to list on Nasdaq. So the first special purpose acquisition company, MTech listed on Nasdaq as a blank check company. They listed in January, 2018 and in October, 2018 we announced the merger between MJ freeway and MTtech. So MTech listed with the intention to acquire a business ancillary to the cannabis industry enter us which we announced in October, 2018 and then we just closed yesterday on June 17th.

Debra Borchardt: Let's talk about how that company began and what got it started.

Jessica Billing: Sure. So 10 and a half years ago, a year before we founded, MJ Freeway, I invested in one of the first licensed operators in Colorado. So one of the first license medical operators back in 2009 and at the time as the investor owner who owned an IT services business, they asked me to pick what software to use to run the business and I couldn't find anything that I could adapt for the unique compliance needs of cannabis. And that's where Mj freeway was born. We invented the concept of seed to sale tracking, the idea of tracking something that you put on or in your body through cultivation, manufacturing, distribution, retail, and finally the sale of the finished product to a, to a patient or consumer.

Debra Borchardt: And what a lot of people don't really realize is that when this seed goes into its little grow pod, it gets a barcode and it is followed from a little seedling to a plant, to a bigger plant until all of a sudden it is now on the shelf. And that's unique in just about, I don't know any other industry that does that type of tracking.

Jessica Billing: Absolutely. It is a precedent setting level of transparency and accountability for a consumer packaged goods supply chain. And ultimately it will be adapted, I believe, outside of the cannabis industry. I've certainly been asked to consult on other industries and have had the opportunity to participate in other industries. But cannabis, as you know, is a rapidly exploding and growing industry. And we're staying laser focused on cannabis for now.

Marijuana software company Akern is a first in many ways.

It's the first female-led cannabis company to trade on the Nasdaq and it's the first marijuana company to track the product from seed to sale.

CEO Jessica Billingsley told TheStreet in an exclusive video Webinar that "this is [just] the beginning."

Akerna KERN is up more than 100% since beginning trading in its current form Tuesday, June 17th.

Billingsley sat down with TheStreet's cannabis columnist Debra Borchardt and discussed an array of topics.

  • Akerna Expects to Buy Up Other Companies. "We announced previously that we've engaged Cowen as our M&A banker, so we're excited to work with them on helping us identify and work with some targets," she said.
  • KERN Could Eventually Move Beyond Cannabis. Billingsley said that while Akerna is "laser-focused on cannabis for now ... beyond that, I would like to see our value provided to other industries [in] consumer packaged goods."
  • The Future Looks Bright. The CEO expects Akerna's software to only grow in importance as the cannabis industry moves from its current "exploding emerging-market" phase into a more-established business model. "In the next phase, we're going to begin to see more and more focus on efficiency and business fundamentals -- and part of that is looking at your data," Billingsley said.


Watch the clip above to learn how Akerna is changing the industry with it's marijuana tracking technology.