Snoop Dogg-backed Green Bits grows in Portland, expects to hire dozens

Since January, the team at Green Bits, a California-based cannabis point-of-sale and inventory management software maker, has quietly grown into its downtown Portland office.

What began as a remote sales team when the company started in 2014 has become an office of 50 that far outpaces the startup’s San Jose, Calif., headquarters.

It probably doesn’t hurt that the company’s big-name investors include New York hedge fund Tiger Global and Snoop Dogg’s — yes, that Snoop Dogg — Casa Verde Capital.

By 2019, the Portland office should employ 80 of the company’s 120-worker roster, said CEO Ben Curren. In just five months, the company has already filled the Portland office and plans to expand to another floor within its 310 S.W. 4th Ave. building.

Green Bits, which last month raised $17 million from investors, first landed in Portland because its first sales person already lived here. The local team fills mainly customer-facing roles such as operations, support, success and sales.

“Portland is just honestly a really favorable and great place to expand,” Curren said. “I had another company before and especially on customer-facing things, like sales, customer operations, support and tech support and customer success, the cost of living in the Bay Area — what I have always found is it stressed out those employees.”

In Portland, Curren pays competitive rates and is happy to see his employees build lives here.

“They can buy a house, and that is the progression you really want for your employees, not them stressing all the time,” he said. “So, to me that is what we saw up here. And there is just a lot of talent.”

The fast-growing company has 11 jobs listed for Portland. In addition to the customer operations roles the office also has product and engineering employees.

More than 1,000 dispensaries in 12 different states use Green Bits’ technology. According to the Silicon Valley Business Journal, the company’s subscription revenue more than tripled in the last year. It processes more than $2.2 billion in sales through its system.

The company’s software helps cannabis retailers perform complex tracking, compliance and government reporting around inventory. The average customer does about $300,000 in sales a month, with the largest customer doing $3 million a month, Curren said.

“If we do a really good job you can run your store more like a traditional retailer you don’t have to understand all the crazy details because our software hides or automates a lot of that process,” he said.

Prior to Green Bits, Curren founded a company called Outright that he sold to in 2012. His background is in software for accounting and compliance.

He entered the cannabis realm after hearing about the industry’s fast growth, heavy regulation and compliance requirements.

Oregon has experienced a price drop in cannabis as the market deals with an oversupply of product. Curren said Green Bits remains unaffected.

“What’s interesting is that a lot of it comes to, you have to get more efficient and we help with efficiency,” he said. “The supply and demand curve we have seen elsewhere in Washington we saw it, in Colorado, and it does correct itself.”

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