Legal cannabis gained a higher profile recently, after Seattle pot-investment firm Privateer Holdings closed a $75 million funding round. The deal included the first mainstream venture capital involvement in the sector, from Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund.
But there’s plenty of other VC interest in legal weed, and it’s likely just the beginning of investor interest in “potpreneurs.” Quite a few legal-pot startups are publicly traded penny stocks, so everyman investors can get a piece of the action, too.
At first, many VC investors wanted to remain anonymous with their pot investing, but now more are coming out of the shadows and publicly announcing their interest in the sector.
To give you an idea of the types of marijuana startups that are attracting venture capital, here are a dozen other cannabis startups that have raised over $1 million to date (data compiled by this reporter from CB Insights, the MoneyTree Report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Crunchbase, and company research):
- Leafline Labs ($12.4M) — This Minneapolis-based medical-marijuana startup has the involvement of several members of the family that owns nursery company Bachman’s Inc. Leafline is one of only two cannabis companies that Minnesota has licensed to operate in the state. Leafline raised its funding from 113 individual investors.
- Four Twenty Investments ($10M) — A private investment firm based in Toronto, Four Twenty did a $10 million debt financing in December. The firm invested an equal sum in Nhale, a publicly traded grow-technology company based in Houston that plans to acquire other pot startups.
- Palliatech ($10M) — This New York City producer of marijuana-based pain medicines is also a grower and distributor. PwC reports funders include Russian VC firm Gruppa Sputnik OOO.
- Vida Cannabis ($9.39M) — The Ottawa-based pot producer most recently raised nearly $5.8 million in a private placement last July. Part of the funding went to purchase a secure, hydroponic production facility in Nova Scotia.
- CannTrust ($3.79M) — A Canadian medical cannabis producer, CannTrust is owned and operated by pharmacists. It raised $1 million of its funding this month, CB Insights reports.
- MedMen ($3.75M) — This provider of turnkey management services to the legal-pot industry is based in Los Angeles. MedMen raised all of its funding in November, to expand operations to Nevada and Illinois. Backers included Florida-based N Squared Management.
- Agricare ($2M) — Chicago-based Agricare raised its funding in October, though funders weren’t disclosed. Besides its hometown, the company is also in the licensing process to set up operations in Peru, Ill.
- Eaze ($1.5M) — Funding for this San Francisco pot-delivery app came from technology microfunder Fresh VC in November.
- MassRoots ($1.2M) — A social network for the cannabis community, MassRoots most recently raised $500,000 in September. Funders include investor network The ArcView Group, and Dutchess Opportunity Fund, a fund of global investment firm Dutchess Capital.
- Aquarius Cannabis ($1.16M) — This marijuana branding company raised most of its funding from angel investors at its October launch, CB Insights reports.
This list is far from comprehensive — it’s just a sampling of the types of pot-related businesses that are interesting investors at this point.
It’s notable that most of these startups aren’t based in the traditional VC hubs of Boston or Silicon Valley. Indeed, many pot startups are based in Canada, where medical marijuana is already federally legal.