In this Cannabis Creative Blog, I sit down with Amber Saba, CEO of GreenScreens. GreenScreens is a B2B technology company helping dispensaries create an integrated POS system. We discuss Saba’s entry into the cannabis industry, why she loves her clients’ “love”, and their work with the Last Prisoner Project.
There’s no question that the cannabis industry is on an upwards trajectory.
But cannabis businesses face a plethora of problems, from challenging federal regulations to common business problems. Of the latter categories, many of these issues have already been solved in other industries but haven’t made their way into cannabis.
But there are companies seeking to bridge existing gaps, solve common business problems, and make running a cannabis business easier. One of those companies is GreenScreens.
Founded in 2017, GreenScreens is a B2B technology company that provides dispensaries with an integrated POS system. I sat down with CEO Amber Saba to dive into her entry into the cannabis industry, the growth of GreenScreens, and their work with the Last Prisoner Project.
Though Saba is not a cannabis consumer herself, she was raised with an appreciation for the plant’s medicinal powers from proximity to other users. But it wasn’t until she encountered GreenScreens that she knew she needed to be a part of this industry.
Coming from the oil and gas industry, Saba was surprised by the warmth and appreciation from the people she works with. Her clients regularly profess their “love” for her team, a term she was previously unfamiliar with in a business setting. But their enthusiasm only furthers her own.
Saba is focused on creating a supportive, open culture at GreenScreens with a diverse team that pushes its boundaries on a daily basis. Working with dispensaries of all sizes, Saba and her team want to make it easier for business owners to survey their company and create forward-thinking plans, becoming proactive instead of reactive.
Dive into our conversation below to learn more about Saba, GreenScreens, and the great work they’re doing in the industry.
What are you most excited to see in the industry?
AS: I am most excited about the product that Greenscreen is actually just recently launched. It’s in a beta testing phase with one of our legacy customers here in Colorado. We talked about how cannabis retailers really are not afforded those tools and platforms so that they can run their day-to-day operations with ease and peace of mind. It comes down to the fact that it’s because they’re cannabis, and we don’t think that’s right.
We launched this product that is surfacing real-time information on a tablet that is meant to be carried around or be up on a manager’s desk. It is not something that is another tab on your computer screen. It is not a report that you have to go deep dive into and try to understand what that data is trying to tell you.
I compare this product to the dashboard in your car. You have messages that are alerting you when you need gas or when you need to change your oil. But you also have those accelerated message messages on your dashboard that say, hey, something’s wrong with our engine and we need attention right now. That’s what this tool is designed to give these retailers- insight and visibility into what is going on with their staff, with their transactions, with their inventory, and really giving them that real-time insight. When does something need your attention? When do you need to take action?
In the cannabis space, I think it’s been a really reactive way of operating rather than proactive. And it has to be unbelievably frustrating for these retail operators. So what we’re trying to give them the ability to do is a forward-looking motion. Let’s have the ability to plan. Let’s restock the inventory that actually moves, let’s see what our staff is doing, and tap into those skill sets. So there are so many different ways to use this tool, but it really comes down to just giving them that insight and visibility into it.
What’s something in the industry you don’t like?
AS: The criminalization of cannabis. That’s truly something that has to end. It has to stop.
We are very fortunate to have organizations like the Last Prisoner Project who they’ve dedicated themselves.
It gives me goosebumps just thinking about the dedication and the hard work of these passionate people who have set out to change people being incarcerated for something that is legal today.
The ways that we can do that at GreenScreens with the Last Prisoner Project is, they have a Roll It Up for Justice program. We utilize our connections and our relationships with our retailers to communicate that information and say, this is something that this industry needs your support in, would you implement this program that supports these efforts of freeing 40,000 people who are still sitting in prison?
We also have a zone on our screens inside the dispensaries where you can run content or messaging or promotions. And what we’ve done is we’ve partnered to actually display Last Prisoner Project content or Viola brands content on those specific zones. So anyone who’s entering that dispensary sees that messaging and branding. Then the staff is also on the other side of it where they’re consistently seeing that message. It’s really just spreading the word by putting it in front of the eyes of the viewer.
Talk to me about diversity and inclusion in your organization
AS: Yes. I love our culture at GreenScreens. It is something that we spend a significant amount of time on it, and once I became the COO, that is really where I put a lot of my heart and soul, and passion into defining what our culture was going to be. That’s who we are, what we do, where we’re going, and our core values. We defined that and it’s really been the key component of every decision that we make at GreenScreens.
We focus on hiring individuals who are passionate. I know I’ve used that word quite a bit but creative high-performing employees who have diverse backgrounds. My role as the CEO now is to hire individuals and surround myself with people who are smarter than me. I don’t want to hire people because they think like me or come from similar backgrounds as me. That’s one way that we really try to incorporate that diversity. If you look at our team, we are a very diverse group of people with all different backgrounds, different skill sets, different walks of life.
What’s been a challenge for your company?
AS: I would say one of the things that’s been really challenging for GreenScreens is coming down to expressing how we are different. The way that we’ve treated our customers and approached our customers is with this “dispensary first” mentality of whatever GreenScreens does. And however, we service this dispensary, it’s going to be with the dispensary’s best interest in mind and in heart, not GreenScreens.
The company started as an integrated menu board provider, and what I mean by that is we started as tying into the point of sale for the dispensary. Then we were able to sort and clean up that data and push it to the screen so that it was always live inventory, always displaying real-time information for those consumers. But there are other companies that do exactly that they create menu boards and they put them up into dispensaries.
That’s been a little bit challenging to communicate that effectively so that people understand how our model is so very different. We want to partner with our dispensaries and understand intimately what their problems are. We don’t want to become an ad-based company where the advertising dollars are feeding the machine and we don’t care how it impacts the dispensary. That is the exact opposite of who GreenScreens is. And that’s really what has earned us the position to have these relationships, this intimate role in the life of these operators so that we could go build new tools. The one that we’re beta testing right now, had we not had that relationship, we would never have known what their pain points were or how we could make their day-to-day operations easier, better, more efficient.
What do you want a customer to take away from working with you?
AS: That all comes down to relationships. We really strive to ensure that our customers see that we are genuinely passionate about not only this industry but about their particular success in this industry.
We’re here to support you. We’re not here to take advantage of you. We want to have a relationship with you to help. We want to lift all boats in this industry. And the way that we do that is by building relationships.
We don’t approach them as strictly business or traditionally how you might think of a vendor in another industry. We are intent on developing these relationships and we invest in that, we’ve built out an entire customer success department at green-screen.
What’s something you’re really proud of?
AS: A hundred percent my team. The team that I am surrounded by is absolutely the number one thing that I am so proud of. I don’t get to talk about all of them all the time, but I am surrounded by some of the most brilliant, creative, hardworking, and dedicated people that I’ve ever had the opportunity to work with. And if anybody really wanted to know what the soul of GreenScreens is, it lives in the minds and the hearts of every single team member that I work with.
I am so proud of our customer success department too. They have it to the point that they’re on a texting basis with a lot of their customers. They’ll screenshot [the messages] and share it with me because they’re so proud of the relationships that they’ve built. Customers have said in these text messages that we love GreenScreens. They use the word love. And it’s just really remarkable for someone like me to come from Oil and Gas, where that is just very, very unacceptable. That’s very taboo. That is not how we build relationships by using the word “love” and coming to a space in cannabis where it’s just so freely used, but it’s earned. And that is what is really powerful about GreenScreens I cannot say enough about them.
What are you looking forward to in the future of the industry?
AS: I’m really looking forward to regulations lessening and the progressive movement of acceptance towards cannabis. I really do view this as something that can change really the world.
I’m really hopeful that the culture of the cannabis industry, I hope that it stays true and that it doesn’t turn into these other industries where there’s so much money and there’s so much structure to it that it takes over and changes and shifts it from what it truly has always been.
How does sustainability factor into GreenScreens?
AS: So my opinion on sustainability is that our company, from a technological perspective, can help with these business issues that are going to be reoccurring. But we as a group of cannabis advocates really need to be comfortable with that.
I think as human beings, we were designed to be curious about things that we don’t know about and technology always tends to be something that is a little bit scary. You look back at when Apple was being developed, when the first computer was being developed and people just were like, oh, what is this? This is not for us. This is never going to take off. No one’s ever going to use this. Then look at us today.
As humans, we’re just designed to be curious about those things that we’re not familiar with. The cannabis industry is really the most of all others welcoming and inviting to solutions and people who want to try to solve these issues that we’re facing.
What’s your favorite fun fact about cannabis?
AS: I’m in Colorado. In mature markets like Colorado, dispensaries outnumber McDonald’s and Starbucks combined. I think that is absolutely so fascinating because it really puts it into perspective because when you’re driving around, you see a Starbucks and a McDonald’s, almost on the opposite side of the street everywhere.