Wikileaf, a Seattle-based online cannabis directory, is going public next week. However, it is eschewing the traditional IPO in favor of an alternative route to the stock market.
The company will make its public debut in Canada on the Canadian Securities Exchange next week, according to the Puget Sound Business Journal, following a move known as a reverse takeover. That is when a private company merges with a public one to bypass the lengthy and complicated process of an IPO and then takes control of it. In this case, the shareholders of Wikileaf parent company One Web Service merged with an entity called Kona Capital earlier this year.
Wikileaf isn’t the only cannabis company with Seattle ties to use a reverse takeover to go public in recent months. POSaBIT, which makes hardware for cannabis companies and other cash-based businesses to process debit card payments, completed a reverse takeover in April.
Wikileaf launched in 2014 as the self-proclaimed first price comparison index for marijuana dispensaries. Today it displays dispensary prices in 26 states and Canada and has more than 1.6 million users per month, per PSBJ, with most of its growth coming via word of mouth.
In addition to pricing information, Wikileaf offers reviews of cannabis strains and info on menus at dispensaries. The company also has its own online news publication called The Stash that covers the cannabis industry.
The company has 11 people based in Seattle out of an industrial building in the Capitol Hill neighborhood. Another 21 are scattered throughout the U.S., Canada and India.
Earlier this year, Wikileaf raised a $5.2 million funding round — 6.8 million in Canadian dollars. The company has used the cash infusion to grow its sales and product teams.
Editor’s note: This post has been clarified to state that Wikileaf is going public on the Canadian Securities Exchange.