It’s hard to express the mix of emotions we’re feeling after Leaf Trade was named champion of Chicago Inno’s 2019 Tech Madness Competition. In a competition in which we were happy to even be included, it’s not a stretch to say this victory is a huge surprise.
Tech Madness truly showcases so much of what we love about Chicago, and how far the tech ecosystem has evolved. This year featured 64 fast-growing competitors that spanned the full diversity of Chicago’s tech scene – logistics, digital marketplaces, healthcare, consumer apps, and more. We’re friends with and admirers of many of our competitors, which makes the championship that much more meaningful.
It’s further heartening to see Chicago’s tech audience embrace canna-tech alongside more traditional tech businesses. In an industry still marked by pervasive stigma and substantial regulatory red tape, Inno’s voters’ support is an affirmation of the progress cannabis has made here and nationwide. We started as Illinois was just emerging as a trend-setting market, and have been fortunate to partner with market leading customers like Verano, Grassroots, and GTI who’ve pioneered the cannabis industry and will set the standards for its future.
To some, this might seem a relatively small footnote. To us, this win is an incredible validation of the work we’ve done thus far, and the trajectory of what we might yet achieve. To join a winner’s circle with icons of the Chicago tech scene like SpotHero sets a high bar.
By winning, the Chicago ecosystem has indicated Leaf Trade is one of the top startups they would invest in. Now it’s up to us to deliver – we couldn’t be more excited.
-James Yi and the Leaf Trade team