Courtesy of Casa Verde Capital
- Traditional venture capital firms are starting to show interest in cannabis startups, according to Casa Verde Capital Manager Partner Karan Wadhera.
- Wadhera spoke on a panel at DCM’s CannTech conference in San Francisco on Tuesday about the hurdles other firms face when making their first cannabis investment.
- Wadhera said that, in addition to smaller specialized firms, Tiger Global Management has been a key player in funding cannabis startups in California.
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Venture capital is upping its tolerance for cannabis investments.
At DCM’s CannTech conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, Casa Verde Capital Manager Partner Karan Wadhera spoke about the hurdles facing venture firms that want to invest in cannabis startups but have partners that are not yet comfortable wading into the murky legal waters.
"Every major firm in San Francisco has looked at the space," Wadhera told conference attendees Tuesday. "Everyone here has gotten time with some of the top firms in the city. Some [firms] are ready and some are coming in steps."
According to Wadhera, federal legalization would help make hesitant investors take the first step in funding a startup in the cannabis industry. He said his firm, which was started by rapper Snoop Dogg, currently focuses on ancillary startups like Eaze, a cannabis marketplace, that "don’t touch the plant," so the firm has not seen a lot of pushback from investors.
"The space is changing dramatically," Madhera said. "There are a lot of big bills in front of Congress right now and when they are passed it will give people more comfort with investing."
In addition to smaller firms that specialize in funding the ancillary companies, Madhera said Tiger Global Management has been one of the larger key players in funding all types of cannabis startups. According to Pitchbook, Tiger Global Management invested in three cannabis companies including vaporizer maker Pax, regulation tracking platform Metrc, and point-of-sale platform Green Bits.
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