Jordan Friedman is the CEO of Zodaka. Zodaka, @ZodakaInc, was formed to provide secure, professional and quality payments in high-risk industries.
For too long these industries have had to deal with ridiculous workarounds to operate like any normal business would.
The founders, a father and son from Oakland, knew there had to be a better way. Not long after, Zodaka was formed.
To create a new and better solution required an especially talented team.
Drawn from the entrepreneurial hotbed of Silicon Valley, innovative engineers and business development professionals were assembled to reinvent and modernize payment processing.
Following months of preparation and a year of intense development, the Zodaka Payment API is now open to the public.
We caught up with Jordan and he shares to us his background, how Zodaka came about and how Zodaka is helping the cannabis businesses in their payment industry. Read on…
Ganjly: What is Zodaka? And what is your role in it?
Jordan Friedman: Zodaka, simply put, is a payment gateway that enables merchants in high risk industries to operate as if they were in any other industry.
Once our merchants install our plugin, they can sell high risk products online just like if they were selling books or shoes.
However, unlike other high risk payment processors our system has no risk of shutdown, no reserves, and no chargebacks.
As CEO and co-founder, it’s my job to maintain our vision for the company and figure out the best ways for our team to apply our solution to the markets we serve.
Ganjly: What is Zodaka’s mission? And when was it established?
Jordan Friedman: My father and I originally started working on Zodaka in 2014 as a marijuana delivery and management service.
Over time, I realized that the technology we were building was much more impactful than the company as a whole, so we rebranded and switched gears.
Now, our mission is simple: to create a better payment alternative. We see high risk merchants (particularly in the cannabis space) as victims of a system that is entirely stacked against them.
These merchants are good business people who are unable to reach their full potential because they are being charged 10%-15% per transaction or dealing with constant catastrophic payment failures.
At Zodaka, we feel that high risk merchants deserve the same opportunities as anyone else.
Ganjly: Why should cannabis businesses choose Zodaka? What makes it different from other payment alternatives?
Jordan Friedman: Cannabis businesses should choose Zodaka because we are the most advanced, convenient, and reliable system on the market, bar none.
The high risk payment industry has become increasingly complacent over the past decade simply because there were no better alternatives, you either went with a semi-passable system (and dealt with the consequences) or used cash.
I think this industry can do better, and I established Zodaka to lead the charge of innovation in payment. Anything less than constant improvement is a disservice to customers, merchants and the industry as a whole.
Ganjly: Is it easy to become a merchant in Zodaka? How do you vet them?
Jordan Friedman: It is very easy to become a Zodaka merchant, in fact a business can go from initial phone call to fully activated in as little as a few business days.
That is not to say we are light on security, however. Every one of our prospective merchants goes through a full underwriting process to validate their banking information and check for any history of financial crime in their past.
Along with this initial vetting, we verify every payment that passes through our system in order to prevent fraud at every step of the way.
Ganjly: Merchants are afraid to have their banks shut down. How does Zodaka ensure reliability, safety and security?
Jordan Friedman: Currently, if merchants are using bank workarounds (such as having multiple holding companies) then they know that shutdowns are a very real possibility when it comes to their bank account.
With that said, if a cannabis merchant is in full compliance with its state and local laws, and has the licensure to prove it, then we are happy to refer them to one of our cannabis-specific banking affiliates who can set them up with an account.
An important thing to know about Zodaka is that we operate entirely domestically, which means we are never going to send your money to an overseas bank to legitimize it.
These sorts of offshore transactions are highly vulnerable to shutdowns, and by keeping everything within the United States we are able to mitigate this risk.
We also never hold your money at any point in the process which means your funds are always safe regardless of the situation.
Finally, Zodaka does not use debit or credit cards in any way, which means that we do not run afoul of any regulatory bodies and which is why we are able to operate in cannabis nationally.
On the technology side, we use the most advanced security-measures available including multi-layer 256-bit encryption.
This emphasis on security and reliability ensures that our system is safe and convenient to use for every one of our merchants and customers.
Ganjly: There are a lot of cannabis businesses that are looking for a payment system. How can they apply and what documents do they need to prepare?
Jordan Friedman: To qualify for Zodaka, merchants need to have a business checking account based in the United States as well as a valid form of I.D.
We also ask for a few other pieces of information during the onboarding process such as tax I.D., corporation type and the location of your company.
Merchants can apply on our website https://www.zodaka.com/merchants/ by filling out our merchant prospect form.
Ganjly: What is your advice for ganjapreneurs looking for a payment system?
Jordan Friedman: Use Zodaka! But in all seriousness, do your research and make sure to thoroughly vet any company that you are going to depend your business upon.
We work with too many merchants who have lost years of time and as much as $200,000 due to the failures of ineffective or dishonest payment processors.
When you work in a gray market, foreign banks and processors have no incentive to return any of your money they have held in reserve.
Make the most informed decision possible, because it could be the most important choice you ever make for your business.
Thank you so much Jordan for your wonderful insights. To know more about Jordan and his company Zodaka, go to Zodaka.com.