Interviews

A Growing Contender: A Talk With Flourish Software’s CEO & Co-Founder Colton Griffin

We sat down with Colton to talk tech and the future of Flourish

As new companies come online, some stand out and some fizzle out. One of the former, a fast growing software company based out of Atlanta Georgia is looking to dominate the seed to sale market at each stage of operations. We took a moment of CEO and Co-Founder of Flourish Software Colton Griffin, to talk about his technology platform and how his company is growing so fast.

 

MRR:                                  To start, tell us a little bit about what made you want to found Flourish with your co-founders and jump into the cannabis industry?

Colton Griffin:                Honestly, we have a really strong background in supply chain operations and enterprise IT. When we met, what became our first client and understood what they were working with and what they needed and then dived into what was available on the market, we saw an opportunity to support an industry that we cared about and really make an impact for a lot of business owners. It’s been really fun to do that because we’ve taken all these experience that we have working for Fortune 1000, Fortune 500 companies and put that to work actually building a brand new industry from scratch.

As somebody with a supply chain background, it’s very rare to see any company standardize IT from seed to sale, raw material through retail, so it’s just been a really awesome opportunity for us to get into it. We saw the opportunity as soon as we started looking at what was on the market.

 

MRR:                You guys are a software solution at your base, but I noticed you guys do a lot of consulting services. What made you want to take Flourish into that side of the industry?

Colton Griffin:                We are first and foremost a software company, but sometimes to make software successful, our clients need a little extra guidance. We have a really strong background on the team in IT and operations and compliance and supply chain planning and optimization. When our clients had asked us to do different engagements on the consulting side of the business, we obliged them, and had done that.

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As a startup, consulting is always nice revenue, but it also is a huge value-add making sure that our clients are successful. We really positioned Flourish as a key piece of someone’s business. We’re helping them, coaching them through best practices on inventory management such as item master management and how to embrace e-commerce and sell online or streamline  existing operations. It’s just in our DNA.

 

MRR:                At some point during Q4 this year, you guys are looking to offer a retail POS solution. In your perspective, what are some issues that you see with the current POS systems that are currently on the market, and how do you plan on solving them?

Colton Griffin:               We tackled point-of-sale in retail last because it’s such a crowded area of the market, but it’s a very large market, so there’s room for a number of good players to serve it. That’s just healthy competition, and we’re really focused on helping our clients that are vertically integrated be able to support multi site retail rollouts, be sophisticated in managing their orders and being able to sell online, handle pickup in store, support delivery, and be really that 21st century modern retail experience.

I think that’s really where we’re hoping to excel at is multi store, multi location management as well as connected e-commerce, and addons to the retail experience. Honestly there’s just little features here and there that make the world of difference. Managing item master, managing receiving inventory in properly, managing inventory in the store. Lots of just bells and whistles that we’ve identified working closely with our early clients, and we’re going to be rolling out Flourish to 18 beta sites as part of our launch for point-of-sale.

Like we have with all of our products, just really understanding what the pain points were. I’m not saying there’s no other solutions on the market that aren’t decent, but there’s just room for something like what we’re building.

 

MRR:                                  For the growth, you mentioned for your beta launch you’re going to be rolling out with 18 clients. Are you looking for international, or are you sticking specifically with the United States?

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Colton Griffin:                Yeah. We’re excited about international growth. To be honest, there’s so much business here in the States that it’s where most of our focus has been, but we’re in active discussions with some operations in Canada to move into that market. It’s an easier market for us to move into, and then definitely keeping our pulse on what’s happening internationally beyond there.

To be honest, the beauty of being a software company and software-as-a-service is we really can deploy and service customers anywhere in the world. We just are bringing on a new CBD company, and they have some operations overseas that will eventually be on the platform, and so we’ll be helping them support some international business there. Yeah, it’s cool to see this industry take off, not just here, but all around the world. Some of them are a little bit ahead of us.

 

MRR:                                   Can you speak a little bit about the benefits of a seed to sale model in the current cannabis market?

Colton Griffin:                We had put a whole white paper called “Seed to Sale Beyond Compliance”. It enumerates a lot of the value prop that this type of software solution brings beyond just the compliance perspective. I think one of the values to the general public is not just compliance, but traceability, the ability to do recalls. It’s pretty amazing. There’s no industry that I know of that can do something as efficiently as we could if we really needed to do a recall of a product.

But from our customers’ perspective, capturing our data from end to end in one point of truth is just so incredibly valuable in trying to understand how to unlock more profit and operational efficiencies and drive those efficiencies and have nice synchronization across all the different pieces of the business. You can only scale so much on Google Spreadsheets and email, and moving into a true seed to sale platform, a supply chain manager platform, it’s just the visibility is first of all, but that visibility drives all sorts of operational improvements and efficiencies.

 

MRR:                As a consultant, what is the number one thing that you would say is the easiest thing to overlook as a vertically integrated business?

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Colton Griffin:               I would say that the number one thing that is easy to overlook in the midst of ramping up operations, but is so crucial and sounds so simple is coming up with consistent item master names and item naming conventions that spans from seed to sale. It sounds trivial to say that you need to have a really good consistent naming convention for your items and what you want to call different items, your item master, but given there’s different stakeholders in cultivation versus manufacturing versus extraction versus retail, and if you want to go take that retail and put it online, what you call an item and how you keep that consistent across all those different pieces of your business is just really important. It’s really easy to overlook when you’re just focused on getting all those businesses up and running. But when it all comes tied together, it’s a critical thing to your success.

We have about 150 item attributes in our item master to do all sorts of things around reporting and different functionalities for the application and support categorization on e-commerce and be able to present those items to other people. But that SKU name, the SKU naming convention is key. I’d say that’s probably number one.

 

MRR:                                   You guys have obviously been doing a lot very quickly. You mentioned the POS in fourth quarter this year. You mentioned that you guys are going to be looking at international. What’s your next goal? 

Colton Griffin:                My goal really, there’s a huge focus in analytics and planning for the end of this year. Then we’re basically always doing this, every day. We’re taking our products, talking to our customers, and driving additional value and optimizing them and it’s hard. Major products that we have on the road map, I’m trying to add not anymore other than the analytics. We’re putting a lot of resource towards some really advanced analytics for the cultivation side of the businesses to help minimize their tax liability, to help people understand their true costs of good sold, and provide that as a service that’s really accessible to people that don’t have a big IT team. We have some really talented developers on our team that are working hard to do that.

For us, it’s really unlocking the value that we’re already capturing because from day one when we built our software, we made sure we’re capturing as much information in as usable of a format as we can because we have strong business intelligence backgrounds ourselves. I think later this year a big focus of our is unlocking that and making it a big competitive advantage for our customers.

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