From biosynthesis to greenhouse lighting, cannabis startups across 36 US states are leading the charge toward a greener future.
The cannabis space continues to gain momentum.
2019 saw a double record of $3.23B raised in equity funding across more than 450 deals. The 20% year-over-year funding uptick was driven in part by a record number of mega-rounds, including:
- Connected vaporizer manufacturer PAX ($420M Series E)
- Synthetic biology startup Ginkgo BioWorks ($290M Series E)
- Sustainable cannabis brand Flow Kana ($125M Series B)
- Vertically integrated medical marijuana startup Surterra Wellness ($100M Series D)
Meanwhile, exit activity reached all-time highs. In 2019, cannabis startups announced 324 M&A deals and 46 IPOs, with exits up 7% from 2018.
Using the CB Insights database and our Cannabis Collection, we mapped out the top-funded cannabis startup in every US state. Collectively, these startups have raised over $2.2B in equity funding to date.
We broadly define “cannabis” to include technology companies that provide services to the emerging cannabis industry as well as companies that produce, research, or distribute cannabis products themselves. Our analysis looks at equity funding to private cannabis startups that have raised at least $0.5M in equity funding and have raised equity funding since 2015. We exclude funding from debt, loans, and lines of credit.
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- The most well-funded and highly valued startup on our map is Massachusetts-based Ginkgo BioWorks, with $726M in disclosed equity funding and a $4.2B valuation. The company specializes in biosynthesis and organism engineering. One of its aims is to produce cannabinoids, the active constituents in cannabis, using yeast cultures. The company also uses its production methods for initiatives unrelated to cannabis, such as scent production for the fragrance industry.
- Ginkgo is followed by fellow unicorn PAX ($545M in equity funding, $1.7B valuation). The California-based startup develops internet-connected vaporizers that can be controlled and secured through an app.
- Georgia-based Surterra Wellness, a medical marijuana company that manages its own production and distribution processes, takes the third spot with $194M in equity funding.
- The remaining 33 startups have raised between $0.5M and $92M. Notable “non-plant-touching” businesses — like Illumitex (Texas, $68M), a greenhouse LED developer, and LeafLink (New York, $49M), a wholesale B2B platform — skew toward the higher end of that range. Vertically integrated producers serving both the medical and recreational markets, like C3 Industries (Michigan, $17M), populate the middle. Non-integrated, “plant-touching” businesses skew toward the lower end. Most of these, like Julita’s Garden (Missouri, $0.85M) and Capitol Wellness Solutions (Louisiana, $2M), cater to the medical marijuana market.
|State||Company||Total Equity Funding ($M)|
|Washington||Receptor Life Sciences||29|
|Minnesota||Minnesota Medical Solutions||20|
|Hawaii||Maui Grown Therapies||9.3|
|DC||New Frontier Data||6.2|
|South Carolina||Blue Water Green Bridge||6.1|
|New Mexico||Reynold Greenleaf & Associates||2.3|
|Connecticut||Green Check Verified||2.1|
|Louisiana||Capitol Wellness Solutions||2.0|
|Arkansas||Natural State Medical Group||1.4|
This report was created with data from CB Insights’ emerging technology insights platform, which offers clarity into emerging tech and new business strategies through tools like:
- Earnings Transcripts Search Engine & Analytics to get an information edge on competitors’ and incumbents’ strategies
- Patent Analytics to see where innovation is happening next
- Company Mosaic Scores to evaluate startup health, based on our National Science Foundation-backed algorithm
- Business Relationships to quickly see a company’s competitors, partners, and more
- Market Sizing Tools to visualize market growth and spot the next big opportunity