Marijuana Gets a Silicon Injection

Three VCs looking to do some, uh, seed funding

By The Editors
December 18, 2015 9:00 am

A slew of new venture capital funds have emerged in recent months looking to make money off of one of America’s oldest — and most untapped — cash crops: cannabis.

And the business is much bigger than you’d think.

Regardless of whether or not you toke — or whether you care if others do — it’s hard to argue with a legal market worth $2.5 billion as of 2014, and projected to grow to $10B by 2018. Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg have both thrown their leaf-emblazoned hats in the ring (invest in what you know, they say).

So how do you get in on the action without slinging dime bags in Washington Square Park? By investing in venture capital firms that fund everything from marijuana research to the technology used to smoke, grow and even insure it. Here are three such firms at the fore of the green movement.

Privateer Holdings
Peter Thiel’s Founder’s Fund is a major player in Privateer Holdings, a venture capital fund that has invested in Marley Natural, the reggae family’s legit marijuana brand, and medical firms like Tilray. Earlier this year they closed on $75M in funding.

The ArcView
ArcView is a big investor in marijuana, with 91 companies funded that do everything from touch marijuana (industry speak for growing or selling the plant) to infrastructure like funding Canopy Boulder (an incubator) and Cannasure, an insurance company for dispensaries (traditional insurance companies won’t insure such businesses).

MJIC Business Strategies
MJIC is California-based investment company that funds companies that don’t touch marijuana directly. So technology companies — incubators like the new Gateway in San Francisco, which helps growers and sellers with regulatory hurdles and financial services. Through their Marijuana Index, they also provide a good deal of information for those looking to monitor the market.

That’s where you come in, cowboy.

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