A little over two months after it’s victory against Apple’s ban on weed-related apps, MassRoots is about to become one of the first marijuana tech companies to go public.
On April 9, the company, a social media app centered entirely around the 420/710 culture, will begin being traded under the name MSRT, making it one of the first ever cannabis-related IPOs (Initial Public Offering, if you’ve seen Wolf of Wall Street) ever allowed by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
MassRoots CEO Isaac Dietrich says he and the other tech-head college dropout co-founders cooked up the idea for the app while they were getting baked a few years back. “Our app had so many bugs at first, half the stuff didn’t work, but people used it anyway. That’s how we knew we had a market. People used the app to post about what and when they’re smoking, and to follow their favorite dispensaries. It’s an all-purpose cannabis network,” Dietrich tells The Daily Beast.
MassRoots only has about 275,000 users at the moment, but that’s a healthy start for a social media platform in a niche market, especially one that’s only legal to use in the 23 states in the union where marijuana is legalized in some form.
In January, Mass Roots succeeded in its fight against the Apple Store. When Apple saw that MassRoots was trending, they pulled the app from their store, along with several other cannabis-related apps. “Over 10,000 of our users sent personal emails to Apple,” says Dietrich. The emails ranged from, “‘I just met my husband on here’ to ‘I suffer from anxiety, I need a social support network’ to ‘I’m a Colorado resident and you are violating my right to free speech.’ A private company doesn’t have a right to tell me what app I can and can’t download on my phone.”
The public outcry, along with a letter from ArcView Group, a major cannabis investment firm, and the National Cannabis Industry Association, to Apple CEO Tim Cook, got Mass Roots back into the Apple Store. And now Mass Roots is ready to go play with the big dogs. A public offering from a cannabis-related company started by a bunch of stoners in their early 20’s is a good omen for the future of marijuana business.
And users probably don’t have to worry about Mass Roots going corporate any time soon. “We got the idea for Mass Roots while we were smoking–all of our features, what we’re doing, all of this stuff–comes from smoking,” Dietrich told The Daily Beast. “A company like ours could never be run by a big corporation, with the suits and their corporate style.”
At its base, the app comes from one simple desire: “I don’t want my mom to see a picture of me taking a bong rip every time she logs on to Facebook, you know?”