By Marguerite Arnold
The Arcview Group, perhaps the country’s best known cannabis investor group and the number one source of deal flow for the industry, has announced a new entrepreneur pitch session for Feb. 1-2, 2016.
Entrepreneurs who wish to pitch in Scottsdale Arizona on February have until Dec. 24, 2015, to submit their proposals. To apply, interested companies should submit an Entrepreneur Application available on the company’s website.
The company is looking for companies that are now past the prototype phase with a business plan and a use of proceeds in place. Arcview is particularly interested in technology, manufacturing, software and real estate companies along with traditional dispensaries and cultivation facilities.
Arcview estimates that the legal cannabis industry generated about $2.4 billion in sales in 2014, up 74% over 2013. It also expects that continued legalization efforts across the United States will create a double digit growth industry for at least the rest of the decade, according to Troy Dayton, the chief executive. “This is already the fastest-growing industry in America, and when these new markets come online, the impact will be huge,” Dayton said.
Startups in the cannabusiness space are well aware of the impact that an Arcview investment can make. “Until now we have primarily raised capital from ‘friends and family,'” said Aaron Herzberg, partner and general counsel of CalCann Corp., a California medical marijuana holding company. “Because of our success we are now looking to syndicate a $10 million marijuana real estate investment fund and appreciate the ArcView network, as it has the potential to bring us a variety of investors we have not been exposed to in the past. As we expand our investment offering we are looking to groups such as ArcView to get the word out as to the unique investment opportunities we offer in the California medical marijuana market.”
Twelve companies will be selected to pitch in Arizona. However, Arcview also holds regular webinars for its investor members during which companies can also pitch investors if they meet Arcview’s screening requirements and seem likely to attract capital via the network.
Private funds like Arcview, along with pitch sessions such as Ark Tank which connect investors and entrepreneurs, are particularly critical at this point in the industry’s development. Because institutional investors for the most part are eschewing the industry until some kind of federal reform, this is the only professional path to funding now available to budding ganjapreneurs.
“As a cannabis entrepreneur and small time investor it’s exciting to see an organization devoted to helping further the up-and-coming small businesses of this industry, said Jeremy Carr, the creator of BlazeNow and owner of Exhale Medical Center. “Not only am I applying for investment to further the development and marketing of BlazeNow but I also hope to participate as an investor in the future.”
Leslie Bocskor, himself a well-known investor in the space concurred. “These entrepreneurs are illuminating the way for the future of legal cannabis. Ask the questions at ArcView’s Investment Forums and then seek investment advice from the experts,” he said. “If you do both, you will find your investment strategy in the cannabis space.”
That said, after cannabis is rescheduled or descheduled, as many expect to happen after next year, this is also a market that will see a large influx of larger and more established investors. Yet, even at that point, as more established and larger funds flow toward the industry, they will also likely be looking for companies with a track record who have established operations in more than one state.
And that means that the early seed funds pumped into the industry, from funds like Arcview, will go a long way to planting the bedrock of a national industry now closer than ever to being allowed to develop, unfettered by outdated federal mandates and restrictions that are rapidly being overrun in many states by current events if not public perception.