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Y Combinator makes first marijuana bet on delivery service Meadow

By Chris Roberts |

Last week, Y Cominbator partner Justin Kan – he of livestreamed life Justin.TV – told a group of investors that now is the time to bet on “crazy ideas” in the California cannabis industry. And Kan and his crew at the famed accelerator are putting their money where marijuana is, making the web-based marijuana delivery startup Meadow one of their winter investments.

And the idea is not so crazy. For starters, there are at least two other competitors — all of which have been described as “marijuana’s Uber” — that also use mobile internet to connect pharmacies with cannabis patients (there isn’t a cannabis delivery app yet; Meadow had an app). , but both Google and Apple have banned it from their app stores).

However, Meadow has an extra service: They also offer “on-demand” consultations and recommendations from medical marijuana doctors, founder David Hua said Tuesday.

Then keep in mind that the legal cannabis market in America grew to $2.7 billion last year, up 74 percent year-on-year, according to data from Arcview Group (for whom Kan made his pitch). The famed accelerator invests $120,000 in early-stage companies in exchange for 7% of that company’s equity – which, if the cannabis industry continues its exponential growth, could be a very good bet indeed.
Along with Meadow, San Francisco-based Eaze and Los Angeles-based Nestdrop also provide web-based links between pharmacies and patients. All three went live at the end of last year, and all three describe themselves as ‘software companies’ that only facilitate the connection between weed and weed users.

That may seem like a small difference, but it significantly reduces the risk, making the companies a much more attractive investment vehicle.

Offering on-demand doctor’s consultations over the web in Meadow is certainly new. And this will not be a doctor’s visit via Skype or instant message, Hua told us on Tuesday. “The experience you gain at [cannabis] doctors’ practices vary wildly,” Hua said, diplomatically. “If someone smokes and gets paranoid, the doctor might tell them, ‘Okay, maybe you smoke too much.’ Or the wrong kind. The doctor can help them titrate their dose.”

Through Meadow, in addition to a bag of OG Kush, users can make an appointment with a doctor, who can then make a home visit within 15 to 45 minutes, Hua said. New recommendations are $100, with renewals $50 – a little more expensive than the pop-up potdoc stores with vinyl signs, but the convenience!

So what’s next for Meadow? Maybe to get one in the App Store, but that could be after legalization, or after. But if the Y Combinator’s betting history is any indication – the San Francisco accelerator has made some very good choices in its nearly 10 years of existence –
Peter Thiel may have some competition next time he makes a $75 million investment in the marijuana industry.

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