The world is screaming for a sense of community
If you think the San Francisco startup scene and the cannabis industry are worlds apart, think again. With his company, Meadow, entrepreneur David Hua provides a service that fits the profile of a tech startup and helps people get their medical cannabis safely and easily. Meadow will even connect patients to a physician over online video for a medical cannabis card. Hua made accessing legal cannabis as easy as hailing an Uber, but his ambitions go far beyond delivery. He wants to empower cannabis entrepreneurs – from dispensary owners to doctors – by building the tools and technology they need to thrive in a legal, regulated industry.
Hua is no stranger to start-ups. Before he and his co-founders moved into the cannabis space, he worked in finance, gaming, health, music and even online gifting. “I've been in San Francisco for about ten years now” said Hua. “I came here to start a company in the gaming industry. Before then I was working in sales at Citigroup in New York, a job that I got straight out of school. The time came when I wanted to do something different with my life. Around that time, I ran into a buddy of mine with the same idea; we didn’t want to spend our lives working for somebody else, we wanted to build something.” That “something” started out as a gaming start-up, but that venture eventually went south when funding ran out amid the 2008 financial crisis.
Hua then worked in content and community for an online health company until he was presented with the opportunity to work with the founding team at an early-stage start-up. That start-up, Sincerely, had a mission of making the world more thoughtful with technology, like an app that transforms photos taken with your phone into post cards. “After Sincerely was acquired, I took some time to reflect on my next move. During this period, I attended Oaksterdam University in Oakland where I started to learn about the inner workings of the cannabis industry. I also had the chance to meet with members of the community like Debbie Goldsberry, a long-time cannabis activist and dispensary owner. With her knowledge of the industry and my knowledge of technology we figured that the right technology could make dispensary operations easier and more patient friendly. That’s when I decided to scratch my own itch. My co-founders and I knew first-hand that the delivery options at the time ranged from bad to worse, so we started building delivery software to make the delivery process easy for dispensaries and convenient for patients.” In 2014 Hua and his team launched getmeadow.com, an on-demand cannabis delivery platform for patients across California. This was soon followed by Meadow MD, a telemedicine site where patients connect to a doctor online for a medical cannabis card, and Meadow Platform, a SaaS platform built from the ground up for California cannabis retail and delivery.
For Hua, the best part of working in the cannabis business is the community. Meadow has become a cannabis community hub in the Bay Area, hosting educational seminars, networking events, regulatory meetings, and beyond. “It’s a great way of bringing people together, which to me is really an amazing thing. The world is screaming for a sense of community. Sometimes things are so big and sometimes we're so frightened. But the people in this community are warm and engaging, and driven to make positive change. Together we’re building an industry, and having that support makes it easy to keep fighting the good fight.”