Ho (left) and Kim run one of biggest POS providers in the Canadian cannabis space

Calvin Ho + Albert Kim, 27 + 28

Co-founder + COO/Co-founder + COO, Greenline POS

Life Story: Albert Kim doesn’t have a lemonade-stand story from his childhood—not quite, anyway. In high school, Kim, who grew up mostly in Richmond after immigrating to B.C. from South Korea at age five, made $400 by creating registration software for Model UN conferences. But he didn’t know that entrepreneurship was an option until well into his studies at UBC, where he earned a computer science degree.

Being in Vancouver got Kim curious about the cannabis industry, and with legalization looming, he saw an opportunity. He and Taiwan-born Calvin Ho, a high-school friend who was doing architectural drafting after completing a BSc in physical, environmental and human geography at UofT, developed point-of-sale software for a couple of cannabis stores. Figuring they could build a real business, the pair launched Vancouver-based GreenlinePOS in 2018.

Ho and Kim both consume cannabis, but that was just one motivation for starting the software-as-a-service company, which also helps retailers stay compliant with regulators, manage inventory and protect their data. “I like people who make businesses, and because of that, I like the people who started the retail business,” Kim says.

Bottom Line: Having stared down its big, well-capitalized rivals, Greenline is now one of the largest POS providers in the Canadian cannabis space, with 500 stores signed and $2.56 million in booked revenue. The company, which has 32 staff, aims to triple its business for the second year in a row.

Eventually, the co-founders hope to expand into Mexico, Australia, New Zealand and perhaps Europe, Kim says. “I like to share the story of Greenline because I think it shows that in cannabis, you don’t have to be a mega-raise, mega-spend type of corporation to make something work.”