Cinderella stories… 

Chicago Inno, which generally covers technology and startups, selected two cannabis-focused companies as 2020 March Madness Finalists.

Alongside local stalwarts including Jellyvision, Cameo and SpotHero are Fyllo and leaf.trade, both software companies focused on cannabis-specific market problems. 

The annual, electoral competition asks voters to punch a virtual card to indicate which local company they would wish to invest. 

Fyllo raised $18 million in 2019 from hedge fund and private equity investors to fund development of a platform that helps advertisers comply with labyrinthine regulations at the state and municipal level. The company earlier this year acquired Denver-based CannaRegs for $10 million. Leaf.trade raised $4.5 million from Hyde Park Angels and others to develop a wholesale ordering platform for brands and dispensaries.  

Last year’s contest, modeled after the bracket structure of the NCAA College Basketball Tournament, attracted 133,000 votes. Companies were selected according to the amount of funding they raised. Full brackets will be published on March 3. 

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Brad Spirrison is a journalist, serial entrepreneur and media ecologist. He lives in Chicago with his son. Interests include music, meditation and Miles Davis.