Funding to the cannabis industry has skyrocketed over the past 4 years with 2015 hitting a high of over $220M in equity financing to private companies. The uptick in funding corresponds to the loosening of marijuana restrictions. As of 2016, 28 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana in some form, and 9 of them have also approved the use, and in some cases sale, of recreational marijuana.
The number of verticals being funded within the cannabis sector, including e-commerce, healthcare, and information service solutions, has also grown as startups begin to fill pain points within the cannabis supply chain.
Below we used CB Insights data to examine the most active investors in the cannabis industry globally. Many of these are either accelerators or cannabis-focused funds, highlighting the difficulty of attracting institutional dollars and the relative nascency of the space.
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*Exited companies are included in the above graphic.
Some takeaways from our infographic:
- The most active investor is CanopyBoulder. CanopyBoulder is a seed-stage business accelerator that invests primarily in the legal cannabis industry. In fact, 6 of the top 8 investors are cannabis-focused funds, including CanopyBoulder, Casa Verde Capital, MJIC, Poseidon Asset Management, The Cronos Group, and The ArcView Group. This may indicate a reluctance of more traditional funds and larger VCs to make multiple investments in the industry.
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- Poseidon Asset Management is the only investor in the top 8 to have funded a pharmaceutical company, Zynerba Pharmaceuticals. Zynerba is now a public company developing a synthetic cannabinoid-based treatment for refractory epilepsy and osteoarthritis of the knee.
- The companies that have seen the most unique investments from top cannabis investors include Eaze Solutions and Wurk. California-based Eaze Solutions is a medical marijuana delivery platform while Colorado-based Wurk is a payroll and HR platform for legal cannabis businesses.
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