After retiring from active duty in 2011, former U.S. Army veteran and Apache helicopter commander Socrates Rosenfeld, 36, needed time to decompress. Although he had full possession of his faculties and limbs and was not diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, an affliction commonly associated with survivors of war or in, Rosenfeld’s case, the Iraqi War, something was clearly amiss. “Going to combat is stressful in itself where you’re making life and death decisions every day,” he recalled. “I couldn’t turn the dial down on my intensity level.”
At his wife’s suggestion, Rosenfeld tried cannabis as a way of coping with his re-acclimation to civilian life. Like a magical elixir, it made him feel whole again: He was able to manage his stress, connect with loved ones and get some much-needed sleep. However, because the West Point graduate was living in Massachusetts, where marijuana was not legal at the time, he was forced to rely on the black market–procure the services of a drug dealer and meet him in a parking lot no less–to buy the substance, not knowing if it had the same quality of what he had purchased previously.
The latter experience, coupled with the illegality of marijuana in his state and its lack of access to other military vets suffering from similar stress-related ailments, deeply frustrated Rosenfeld. It was only after he graduated from Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 2014 with an MBA in entrepreneurship and relocated to Silicon Valley courtesy of a job at McKinsey & Company, the management consulting firm, that Rosenfeld felt free to pursue an idea that had been gestating in his head for a while–an idea that would merge two passions: technology and cannabis.
“I was excited to come out to a legal market,” he related. “Yet there was still no online capability to ship and research my product. That was the trigger for me to build this team and solve this problem once and for all.” And, on April 20, 2017, Rosenfeld and his younger brother Abraham, who holds two degrees in computer science from MIT, launched Jane Technologies, which is headquartered in Santa Cruz, California. Seeded for $2 million, all of which was raised from family and friends, Jane’s linchpin is iheartjane, a site that provides ecommerce solutions for legal cannabis retailers. Think Amazon for the weed community.
So far, Rosenfeld’s gamble as CEO of Jane seems to be paying off handsomely. The site is partnered up with nearly 500 dispensaries in 19 states, catering to both the legal medical and recreational markets. Sales have grown 30 to 35 percent month-over-month since the launch, according to Rosenfeld. And recently, Jane scored a special win: The company, which has 30 employees, raised $6 million in Series A funding from a private investor base that includes Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, former CEOs of major financial institutions and ex-presidents of retail chains.