Canadian Startup Serving Cannabis Travelers Raises $500,000

By Bruce Harpham Tuesday, February 16, 2021

HiBnb, a new Canadian startup business, is working to help travelers find cannabis-friendly accommodations. HiBnb’s marketplace model shares several common features with Airbnb’s business (stock ticker NASDAQ: ABNB), which runs an accommodation marketplace. HiBnb has raised $500,000 CAD in pre-seed funding ($393,000 USD) to continue its expansion across North America.

HiBnb founder Elizabeth Becker.

Open For Business In Major Cities Across Canada

HiBnb has a niche market, so it makes sense that it has offered its platform in multiple cities. “We’re open for business across Canada right now - focusing on Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. We’re growing rapidly in Calgary as well,” Elizabeth Becker, founder and CEO of the startup company, told Startup Savant in an interview.

Their company platform provides advanced search features designed with cannabis enthusiasts in mind. Guests can search for accommodations based on accessories (e.g., rolling station, tabletop vaporizer) and smoking rules (e.g., anywhere on-premises, designated smoking room, and outdoor balcony only).

Building Security and Screening From the Start

Risk management and security are vital questions for a business website that offers accommodation listings. “The main priorities at this point are implementing a guest screening and verification process that will allow us to offer Hosts insurance on their properties,” Becker said. Today, the startup company mainly uses ratings and reviews to screen people.

The Canadian cannabis startup company may have to match Airbnb’s insurance offering to become competitive. Airbnb's host protection insurance plan covers "up to $1,000,000 USD primary liability insurance.” Airbnb introduced the million-dollar insurance policy in 2014 after suffering several negative publicity instances, such as hosts having their possessions destroyed by reckless guests.

More Than Rental Listings

While the startup company provides accommodation listings, that is only one part of the business. As of February 2021, the startup business has more than four hundred event listings. Events offered in Toronto include a belly dance boot camp ($20 CAD), an artisanal bubble hash workshop ($149 CAD), yoga classes ($40 CAD) and a poker night event ($50 CAD).

Tapping Into the Billion-Dollar Cannabis Market

In October 2018, the Canadian government passed legislation to legalize recreational marijuana across the country. As a result, there is a growing market of large businesses and startup companies serving the cannabis industry. According to Canadian government data, 10 million packaged units of cannabis were sold in Canada in October 2020 for non-medical purposes. In 2019, Canadians bought $1.2 billion CAD ($940 million USD) worth of cannabis.

HiBnb’s Founder Joins the Startup Industry

Some startup company founders start their companies as students. Elizabeth Becker took a different path. Before starting HiBnb, she worked in the film and television industry. Her experience includes writing, directing and producing short films, and writing for television. During that time, Becker advocated for cannabis legislation.

About the Author


Headshot of Bruce Harpham

Bruce Harpham is an author and marketing consultant based in Canada. His first book, "Project Managers At Work," shared real-world success lessons from NASA, Google, and other organizations. His articles have been published in CIO.com, InfoWorld, Canadian Business, and other organizations. Visit BruceHarpham.com for articles, interviews with tech leaders, and updates on future books.

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