Overall, the legal cannabis industry is booming with record revenue levels across the board, even with a few hiccups (ahem, California) along the way. However, the super competitive marijuana market and rampant overregulation (that will hopefully lessen over time) mandates the need for capital to survive, expand, and thrive in the industry.
With Canada gearing up for legalization across the country on October 17th, cannabis accelerator Leaf Forward will be making another round of investments in startups, totaling $1.5 million according to their press release published by New Cannabis Ventures:
Leaf Forward, Canada’s first and leading cannabis business accelerator, is pleased to announce it is now accepting applications to its Toronto based, 12-week accelerator program for early stage cannabis companies. Successful applicants will receive a $35,000 cash investment and $15,000 worth of programming and services. The first cohort will fund 4-6 companies and will be offered up to three times annually.
Investments will be made from the Leaf Forward Accelerator Fund (“Accelerator Fund”), which received a $500,000 lead investment from Green Acre Capital, the leading Canadian cannabis venture fund.
During each 12-week accelerator cohort, a small group of carefully selected cannabis startups work closely with the Leaf Forward team, industry leaders, and subject matter experts to develop their products, grow their businesses, and prepare to raise their next round of funding.
Leaf Forward has supported 50 entrepreneurs over the past year, our 12-week program equips cannabis startups with the tools, connections, and knowledge they need to succeed. With Leaf Forward’s inaugural Accelerator Fund we can now provide early stage companies with capital, in addition to our leading programing and outstanding mentor network.
One of the highlights of the International Cannabis Business Conference‘s history was hosting the Canopy Rivers‘ pitch event that awarded a million dollar investment opportunity to the upstart Bella Vista Cannabis company. The ICBC is now hosting its own Mom and Pop Pitch Event give local Oregon businesses the chance to pitch their business to a room of investors and entrepreneurs at the upcoming Portland conference this September 27th-28th, with one craft cannabis company walking away with $10,000 from the ICBC, no strings attached. (If you know of a deserving Oregon company, please urge them to apply.)
We’ve already seen a massive shift in investors’ mindsets towards cannabis, so we can expect to see more investors of all stripes jumping in to take advantage of a burgeoning sector, that despite all of its difficulties, is still poised for huge growth. If you already have a cannabis business, an idea for one, or maybe an ancillary company, there has never been a better time to seek out investors. While most of the big financial news seems to be coming out of Canada, reverse mergers with Canadian companies provide an opportunity for U.S. entrepreneurs as well, a topic the Portland ICBC will cover. There are many obstacles to succeeding in the cannabis industry, but the bold are often the ones rewarded.