OAKLAND, Calif., Nov. 20, 2015 /Weed Wire/ — Gateway Incubator LLC California’s first cannabis company incubator is opening its doors in Oakland. Backed by MJIC, Inc., the cannabis industry’s premier holding company structured to capitalize on the end of marijuana prohibition, in partnership with Ben Larson and Carter Laren, the firm will host a VIP open house on Dec. 4, followed by a Start-Up Showcase for the public on Dec. 5.
Located near Oakland’s Jack London Square in the unconventional Leviathan Building, Gateway’s mission is to bring the expertise of Silicon Valley technology entrepreneurship to the burgeoning industry of legal cannabis companies.
“We chose Oakland because we believe that as legalization unfolds, this city will emerge as the capital of the cannabis industry in the United States,” said co-founder Ben Larson.
Start-ups entering Gateway’s four-month-long program will receive office space, instruction and mentoring from successful Silicon Valley tech founders and cannabis industry experts, connection to MJIC’s vast network of media, investor, and distribution companies, and $30,000 investment capital in exchange for 6% equity. In addition, top-performing graduates will be eligible for additional investment from Gateway’s in-house fund.
“There are a tremendous number of experienced and insightful start-up founders and investors in and around Silicon Valley who are enthusiastic about helping cannabis companies succeed,” explained co-founder Carter Laren, “and they are all anticipating imminent legalization.”
“We’re excited to bring MJIC’s resources, expertise and network to promising cannabis start-ups,” said John Downs, MJIC’s Managing Director. “California’s recent passage of the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act (MMRSA) is a game-changer and as a result we expect the industry’s growth to accelerate dramatically,” Downs added.
Gateway is now officially accepting applications for its first cohort of up to 10 companies, which will begin in March 2016. Interested founders can visit http://gtwy.co/apply for more information.
MJIC is a diversified holding company that was formed to capitalize on the emerging legal Cannabis industry. It consists of an experienced interdisciplinary team, assembled to source and nurture opportunities in both direct and ancillary cannabis companies. MJIC provides qualified investors with managed exposure to this frontier market in a manner that is balanced and diversified.
About Ben Larson
The consummate entrepreneur evangelist, Ben Larson spends his days coaching aspiring entrepreneurs, advising startup companies, and hosting or speaking at entrepreneur ecosystem events. In addition to co-founding Gateway, Ben is a Director and Mentor for the Founder Institute, an early-stage technology startup accelerator; co-founder of The Food Nest, an incubator and accelerator program with shared kitchen space focused on consumer packaged goods; and co-founder of Pitch.Coach, a community and consulting firm focused on the art of the pitch. Ben spent the last two years managing global operations and growing the Founder Institute team and the 100+ cities in which it now operates. His diverse professional background, which also includes founding two technology startups, professional photography, and engineering consulting, gives him a unique skillset and perspective when mentoring many different companies operating in a variety of different markets.
About Carter Laren
A self-described “radical individualist,” Carter Laren is a Director and mentor for the Founder Institute, the world’s largest entrepreneur training and startup launch program. He also developed and built the Founder Lab program for seed stage startups and is co-founder of Pitch.Coach. Carter previously served as the CEO of Creative Allies and co-founded MOX, an online 24/7 streaming music video network focused on electronic music. With a background in engineering and cryptography, Carter’s first startup experience was at Cryptography Research, where served as the Chief Architect of Content Protection. The company was sold to Rambus in 2011 for $350M. He also co-invented a new content protection technology and drove its adoption as a standard for Blu-ray discs. He led and subsequently sold the business to Rovi in 2007 for $70M. He is the owner of Inara Ventures, through which he both invests in and advises seed-stage startups. He continues to serve on the boards of and advise several startups, including OhMiBod, OneLook, 100% Food, and Kangaroo Health.