By Brad Weissberg/Oct. 18, 2017
High There! is an app that connects cannabis users and it wants to be more than just “Tinder for tokers,” said Darren Roberts, founder and CEO, High There!
“There are a lot of people who use cannabis both on a medicinal and recreational level. In hearing the experiences of people who wanted to meet people, either for dating or friendship, there is still a stigma when it comes to saying to someone you don’t know, ‘I use cannabis and want to meet like-minded people.’”
Roberts realized “there really wasn’t a platform out there that connected cannabis users, without the judgment. I decided there was an opportunity to bring these people together.” Launched in 2015, Hi There! currently has 400,000 users. The company’s co-founder is Ken Frisman.
This is how it works: the user signs up and expresses their interests are in terms of how you use cannabis and what sort of connection you are looking for.
“Questions such as, ‘Do you like to vape? Do you like to smoke? Do you like edibles?’ are addressed,” said Roberts. “Then we get into what activities you like. Do you like movies? Culture? Food? We try to match people with other people with common interests.”
The app also asks if you are looking for a dating situation or just a buddy to hang out with. “When we first launched we were only seen as a hook-up app, like Tinder or Grndr, but what we’ve seen is that a lot of the users are just looking for friendships. In the cannabis community, people want to meet other people who enjoy cannabis and it doesn’t necessarily have to lead to dating or a sexual situation. There are strong, substantive relationships that have been established on the platform.”
Like Tinder or Grndr, the app is geographically based. “If you are looking for a dating scenario there are mechanisms that the user can use to let others know if they are looking for a straight partner or an LGBT partner.”
Darren Roberts, High There!, CEO and co-founder.
“We’ve had multiple relationships, engagements and even marriages that started through High There!,” said Roberts. “It’s all across the board.”
The users are diverse, according to Roberts, who said 65 percent of the current users are millennials and that “there’s a strong female demographic.”
The app is free to use. The company makes money through native advertising that targets specific user’s interests and premium services, which will include a higher level of functionality, boosting-profile options, gamification and potential discounts with partners.”
“Right now our focus is creating a really strong technology platform that people can enjoy,” said Roberts. “As we grow the community we’ll look for monetary opportunities.”
“So far the growth has all been organic; we haven’t done any marketing,” said Roberts. But that’s about to change, the company has taken on “strategic investors” and has a “substantial marketing budget we’re about to deploy.” On board are Grndr’s Steve Levin; Cy Scott, who founded Leafly and tech titan Ed Sullivan.
“We’re implementing marketing strategies and we’ve employed people in different parts of the country to show people how to download the app; how to use the app; and spread the word.”
The company has also been approached to start High There! meetups. “These will be group meetups in some of the bigger cities,” he said.
A small amount of merchandise is available; a large apparel line is being introduced.
“We had only four items to start with and it’s been so successful we’re adding in a lot more. One of the things we’re really excited about is that we’re becoming a real brand. It’s fun; it brings a smile to people’s faces and we see opportunities in the branding aspect.”
Roberts said the company’s goal is to have 1.6 million community members by the end of 2018. The company is based in South Florida.