Today is a difficult day at Weedmaps. We reduced our employee count by 25%, saying goodbye to many friends and colleagues who had been part of our corporate team. These colleagues worked tirelessly to ensure patients and consumers could safely and conveniently access cannabis. I am forever grateful for their contributions to helping us build Weedmaps to the company it is today.
Weedmaps was founded in 2008 with a mission to become the premiere destination for cannabis patients and consumers to learn about and get access to their favorite products. In the last 11 years, the company has had tremendous success removing the stigma around cannabis consumption, expanding legal access and helping millions of consumers across the world learn about and connect with the brands they love. Over the last few years we have expanded that mission to provide a growing suite of B2B SaaS compliance and operations solutions. The opportunity before us only grows as new jurisdictions open and new regulations continue to emerge.
This year represents one of the fastest years of growth ever for Weedmaps by almost any measure. We have also increased our consumer base by over 50% Year-to-Date, and successfully launched our WM Exchange, WM Logistics and WM Retail B2B SaaS offerings across multiple markets. This rapid growth requires us to be prudent in how we deploy capital and ensure that we can nimbly attack new markets and new software opportunities as they arise.
Conversely, the speed of new markets opening has been slow over the last year and many markets that have legalized (e.g. Massachusetts) have failed to issue sufficient licenses to foster a stable and functioning legal market. In our own home state of California, three years after Proposition 64 legalized recreational use, it is disheartening to see 75% of cities and counties not allow cannabis retail sales and California lag behind other legalized states. Additionally, both the overall tech and cannabis capital markets have experienced tightening through 2019 that has limited the ability to predictably leverage outside capital to fuel growth during rapid expansion periods.
Despite these current market realities, we see the pace of licensing and industry growth increasing throughout 2020, as evidenced by the opening up of Illinois on January 1st. For this reason, as well as our pace of software innovation, I am incredibly bullish on the future of Weedmaps and the opportunity to support these new legal cannabis markets. The restructuring today will give us the nimbleness and dry powder to take advantage of the forthcoming increases in legalized markets and licenses by making us more nimble and focused. Weedmaps has always been a technology company first, and in this restructuring we are doubling down to grow our technological capabilities. To that end, we are continuing to expand our engineering, product and design departments so we can deliver on these goals expediently and effectively over the next 10 years.
Over the last year, we have grown as a company and added a lot of top tech talent to our team, most notably in our C-Suite, setting us up for future success. Their executive experience across Twitter, Google, Snap, Ticketmaster, Instacart, Adobe, Goldman Sachs, among others, will be invaluable as we enter this next phase in the evolution of the company. With this move we are also realigning our employee composition such that over 50% of our current headcount will be engineering, product and design to support our growing SaaS and compliance portfolio.
As we look towards the coming year, Weedmaps will continue to be a first mover on delivering the software and solutions to power the cannabis market. We will also continue to be a leading voice in the cannabis legalization movement and pushing for access across all jurisdictions. With this move we will ensure that we are able to proactively meet the needs of the cannabis market as they evolve. Over our 11 year history, Weedmaps has proven that it is nimble and innovative above all things. That spirit and drive will continue unabated tomorrow and each day that follows; I am excited to be a part of the team building the future of cannabis at Weedmaps.
To those who left our team today, I simply say “thank you.” And to those that are still here, we tell you all, we can’t wait to get to work on the future of Weedmaps together.