How Kind Financial Got Into The Cannabusiness With Microsoft

By David Konow 06/27/16

The founder of Kind Financial talked to the LA Times about the evolution of the marijuana business and how the partnership with Microsoft came to fruition.  

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How Kind Financial Got Into The Cannabusiness With Microsoft

On June 16, the news broke that Microsoft would be getting into the legal marijuana business, developing software in conjunction with Kind Financial. This is clearly a major step forward for the legal cannabis industry in the United States, which according to CNN has tripled in sales in 2015, and should only continue to grow in the future.

The LA Times recently ran a profile on David Dinenberg of Kind Financial, the company he founded in 2014. Kind was initially developed to offer loans and other services to people who grow and sell marijuana, because legitimate banks still can’t work with them for fear of running into trouble with the feds.

Dinenberg was introduced to the marijuana business in the fall of 2012. "My wife and I watched a 60 Minutes episode about the emergence of the medical marijuana industry," he told the Times. "For a split second—if you coughed you would have missed it—they talked about the lack of banking, how it was all cash, how there was no financial backbone. It seemed like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get into an emerging industry." 

According to the Times, the 44-year-old Philadelphia native is not from a tech background like many software players. After the economy collapsed, he moved away from land development and founded Kind in 2014.

Kind developed the software Agrisoft, and as Dinenberg explained, “It’s software that enables regulators, in real time, to know where and how much marijuana is being grown, sold or produced. We’re providing real-time inventory all over their state and information on how much sales tax or other tax they should be collecting.”

This software could be a big step in lessening fear among banks that are wary of working with marijuana businesses. “As the industry grows and matures, it’s going to become more compliant and more regulated,” Dinenberg added. “We should embrace that happening … The backbone of that is the track-and-trace software at the state level and, eventually, the federal level.”

Dinenberg was lucky to know Kind board member, Wayne Kimmel, who had a relationship with Microsoft. Meetings went on for several months, and they were “very warm” to the Agrisoft idea, he said. Dinenberg cut a deal with Microsoft where Kind keeps the revenue from Agrisoft, but pays Microsoft for more cloud storage.

Apparently the partnership with Microsoft has paid off. Dinenberg said Kind has so far received calls from five states.

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In addition to contributing for The Fix, David Konow has also written for Esquire, Deadline, LA Weekly, Village Voice, The Wrap, and many other publications and websites. He is also the author of the three decade history of heavy metal, Bang Your Head (Three Rivers Press), and the horror film history Reel Terror (St Martins Press). Find David on LinkedIn and Facebook.

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