From 2014-2016, there were 147 first equity rounds to private companies operating in the cannabis industry.

Funding to cannabis startups surged between 2013-2015, capped off by $225M in equity financing invested over 106 deals in 2015. But 2016 has seen investors pulling back, with year-end financing down from 2015. Nonetheless, the past three years have been a boom time for the burgeoning industry as more states relax laws around cannabis use and sale. Just this year, California, Massachusetts, Nevada, and Maine voters approved the legalization of recreational marijuana while Florida, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Arkansas voters approved medical marijuana.

Below, we used the CB Insights database to examine how the landscape of cannabis startups in the US has evolved by looking at two periods: 2011-2013 and 2014-2016. Companies are now not only growing and selling cannabis, but building infrastructure to support the industry in the areas of human resources, mobile payments, business intelligence, regulatory compliance, and private equity, among many others.

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Deals: 2011-2013

By 2013, two states, Colorado and Washington, had approved the use of recreational marijuana and 19, including Washington D.C., had approved medical marijuana. Below, we mapped private companies that received their first equity financing round between 2011-2013. In addition to investments in companies located in cannabis-friendly Colorado and Washington, California and New York each saw a first round equity financing to a private cannabis company.

These include rounds to California-based WeCanna, a crowdfunding platform for cannabis startups, and to New York-based Rodawg, which produces custom products such as storage containers and cases tailored for the cannabis industry. While California has had legalized medicinal marijuana since 1998, New York did not approve the measure until 2014.

Click on the image below to enlarge. 

2013 Graphic

Deals: 2014-2016

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. This has led to an explosion of funding to the cannabis industry. 2014-2016 saw 147 first equity rounds to private cannabis companies, up nearly 3000% over 2011-2013.

While much of the activity has been concentrated in California, Colorado, and Washington, other states are beginning to plant their flag in the industry. Illinois, Oregon, Florida, Maryland, and New York have all completed at least 5 initial equity deals since 2014.


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Recent deals include rounds to Illinois-based GrassPass, a customer acquisition solution for dispensaries, Oregon-based Phylos Bioscience, developing genetic sequencing tests for cannabis, and New York-based Ganja Boxes, a subscription-based service for cannabis accessories.

Click on the image below to enlarge. 

2016 FINAL FINAL

Company list

First Fundings To Cannabis Companies (2011-2016)
Company Select Investors
420 Tech Undisclosed Investors
AD Remedies ArcView Group, MJIC
Adistry CanopyBoulder, Undisclosed Investors
Agricare Undisclosed Investors
AltMed Undisclosed Investors
Ananas CanopyBoulder
Arbor Pacific Undisclosed Investors
ArcView Group Undisclosed Investors
Ask The Pot Scientist CanopyBoulder
ATTIS Trading Undisclosed Investors
Avitas Agriculture Undisclosed Investors
Baker 500 Accelerator, 500 Startups,  Base Ventures, Poseidon Asset Management
BDS Analytics CanopyBoulder, Undisclosed Investors
BioTrackTHC Merida Capital Partners
BluJays Brand CanopyBoulder
Botanical Bio-Discovery of Maryland Undisclosed Investors
C C Cannabis Company Undisclosed Investors
Calyx Brands Undisclosed Investors
Campfire CanopyBoulder
CanCore Concepts Undisclosed Investors
Canna Group Undisclosed Investors
Cannabis Now Magazine Undisclosed Investors
Cannabis.Net Undisclosed Investors
CannaBuild ArcView Group
Cannahacker CanopyBoulder
Canndescent Adam Cohen, Adrian Sedlin, Lee McPherson
CanopyBoulder ArcView Group
Chooze Rick Kimball
Colorado Cannabis Exchange Undisclosed Investors
Colorado Pot Guide CanopyBoulder
Compassionate Care Center of New York Undisclosed Investors
Compliant Cannabis CanopyBoulder, Undisclosed Investors
Confident Cannabis Slow Ventures
Cresco Labs Undisclosed Investors
Cultivation Technologies Undisclosed Investors
Denver Documentary Collective Undisclosed Investors
DisposaBowls Undisclosed Investors
Dixie Brands Undisclosed Angel Investors
Dynamic Harvest Undisclosed Investors
Eaze Solutions 500 Startups, Casa Verde Capital, Winklevoss Capital
EBBU Undisclosed Investors
Electrum Partners Undisclosed Investors
Elevate CanopyBoulder
Evolution Wellness Undisclosed Investors
Fiorello Pharmaceuticals Undisclosed Investors
Florida Compassionate Growers Undisclosed Investors
Flow Kana Undisclosed Investors
Flowhub Poseidon Asset Management, Undisclosed Investors
Front Range BioSciences CanopyBoulder, Undisclosed Investors
Frontier Financial Group MJIC, Undisclosed Investors
FunkSac Casa Verde Capital
Ganja Boxes CanopyBoulder
Gateway Incubator MJIC
Glasshous CanopyBoulder
Goodship Undisclosed Investors
Grassp Undisclosed Investors
GrassPass CanopyBoulder
Green Gorilla Steven Saxton, Undisclosed Investors
Green Therapeutics Undisclosed Investors
Greenrush Media Undisclosed Investors
GrowHealthy Holdings Undisclosed Investors
Grownetics CanopyBoulder
GTI Investments Undisclosed Investors
Happy Valley Ventures Undisclosed Investors
Headset Undisclosed Investors
Healthy Headie Lifestyle CanopyBoulder, Undisclosed Investors
Helix TCS Undisclosed Investors
HFV Enterprises Undisclosed Investors
Highest Reward CanopyBoulder
Hound Labs Undisclosed Investors
Hudson Health Extracts Undisclosed Investors
iAnthus Capital Management iAnthus Capital Holdings, Undisclosed Investors
iDro CanopyBoulder
Indus Holding Co Undisclosed Investors
Jane West Undisclosed Investors
Kenevir Research Signal Bay
KindManage Lindy Snider, Undisclosed Investors
Kush Bottles Undisclosed Investors
Leaf Advanced Nutrients, CanopyBoulder, CJV Capital
Leafline Labs Undisclosed Investors
LeafLink Undisclosed Investors
Maryland Progressive Health Undisclosed Investors
MassRoots ArcView Group, Dutchess Capital Management
Meadow Care Liquid 2 Ventures, Slow Ventures, Y Combinator
Med Ag Ventures Undisclosed Investors
MedMen Cap-Meridian Ventures, N Squared Management
Medtiva Undisclosed Investors
MED-X Undisclosed Investors
Merry Jane Casa Verde Capital, Seth Rogan
MGC Undisclosed Investors
MiNDFUL Undisclosed Investors
Mindful Medical New York Undisclosed Investors
Minnesota Medical Solutions Undisclosed Investors
Mirth Provisions Undisclosed Investors
MJ Freeway Adam Wiggins, Roger McNamee, Tao Capital Partners
MJIC Undisclosed Investors
MyStrain CanopyBoulder
Nemus Undisclosed Investors
Next Frontier Biosciences Undisclosed Investors
OptiLeaf Undisclosed Investors
PathogenDx Undisclosed Investors
PayQwick Undisclosed Investors
Peak Harvest Health Undisclosed Investors
PenSimple CanopyBoulder
PharmaCannis Undisclosed Investors
Phylos Biosciences Undisclosed Investors
Phyto Management Undisclosed Investors
Pineapple Express Undisclosed Investors
Pono Life Sciences Undisclosed Investors
Potbotics Undisclosed Investors
Prime Alternative Treatment Center Consulting Undisclosed Investors
Printabowl CanopyBoulder
Privateer Holdings Founders Fund; Undisclosed Investors
Prohibition Brands Undisclosed Investors
ProVerde Laboratories Undisclosed Investors
Reynold Greenleaf & Associates iAnthus Capital Holdings
Rodawg ArcView Group
S2 Solutions Undisclosed Investors
Sante Undisclosed Investors
SericaPay Y Combinator
Simplifya Hypur Ventures
Solstice Group Undisclosed Investors
Spry Product Development Undisclosed Investors
Stashbox CanopyBoulder
STASHLOGIX CanopyBoulder
Steep Hill Labs ArcView Group
SunX Analytical Undisclosed Investors
Supurb Solutions Undisclosed Investors
Surterra Holdings Vakyrie Capital
Sweet Leaf Capital Undisclosed Investors
THC Pharmaceutical Undisclosed Investors
The Green Exchange Undisclosed Investors
The Herbalista Set CanopyBoulder
The Reserve OC Jayceon Terrell Taylor
Theraplant Undisclosed Investors
Tradiv Anslinger Capital, CanopyBoulder, Poseidon Asset Management
Trellis Research Group CanopyBoulder
TRiQ Undisclosed Investors
TwoCubes CanopyBoulder
Vigilant Diversified Holdings Undisclosed Investors
Vireo Health Undisclosed Investors
Waveseer of Illinois Undisclosed Investors
Waveseer of Las Vegas Undisclosed Investors
Waveseer of Oregon Undisclosed Investors
WCCC Undisclosed Investors
WeCanna ArcView Group
weeGrow CanopyBoulder
Whoopi & Maya Whoopi Goldberg
Willie’s Reserve MJIC, Tuatara Capital
Worldwide Marijuana Community FastFunds Financial Corporation
Wurk ArcView Group, CanopyBoulder, Poseidon Asset Management
Zynerba Pharmaceuticals Kentucky Seed Capital Fund, Perceptive Advisors, Poseidon Asset Management
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