2017 may have been the year of Bitcoin, but Canna Newswire is hoping 2018 will be the year the cannabis Green Rush takes off.
While most people reading this article may not own any bitcoin, it has become ubiquitous in references on the internet and throughout news coverage. The digital currency went from being unknown a year ago to hitting over $17,000 value per coin at the time this was written. This rush in value has drawn the market to a frenzy and created a new source of wealth accumulation throughout the world economy. Another market seeing unprecedented growth, and coming out of the black market, is cannabis. While cannabis emerges from the shadows, it is attracting a lot of attention from investors who had previously shied away due to legal issues.
Canna Newswire is trying to take advantage of that momentum as it launches the first-ever CNvest: Terps and Tech—an investor event for cannabis science and technology companies that will be held at the San Jose Hilton and the McEnery Convention Center on April 9, 2018. CNvest will bring out the best in cannabis science and technology to pitch their ideas and the industry to investors at the event. The event will be co-located within the Terpenes and Testing World Conference, hosted by Terpenes and Testing magazine, which is focused on the science of cannabis and primarily extraction.
Michael Gruber, managing partner at Salveo Capital, one of the premier cannabis venture capital funds, is active across the cannabis market as an investor, advisor, mentor, and speaker. “As an active investor in the cannabis sector,” said Gruber. “I’m always eager to enable family office and other investors the opportunity to access this exciting market through an institutional quality investment vehicle. In addition, we strive to partner with founders and entrepreneurs, especially those focused on the technology, agriculture, and science sectors of the cannabis market. CNvest is a specialized event that is targeting more early-stage cannabis startups than typically seen at other investment events in the cannabis industry. My fellow advisers and I are proud to be a part of the founding advisory board helping to shape this important event.”
CNvest is currently accepting applications from cannabis startups for the event. However, they are searching for science- and technology-related cannabis companies for their investors. CNvest has already had to let one applicant know that they would need to revise their application to focus on their relevance to science.
“We aren’t just looking for any cannabis business,” John Sidline of the Cannabis Story Lab and Canna Newswire. “We want to bring our investors the cream of the crop in technology and science. But we remind any businesses hoping to apply to look for the science angle in what they do. It could be something for extraction, cultivation, medical—anything in the cannabis space is open.”
There are also a variety of other criteria to help investors ensure that companies that will be presenting are in the right place in their growth to accept investment and see returns. These criteria include:
•location in the US or Canada
•start date after January 1, 2015
•at least $50,000, but less than $1.5 million previously raised
•no Series A funding started.
CNvest will offer an appeals process for startups that believe they would fit the event well, but don’t quite hit every box in that list. Startup applicants also must pay a $500 participation fee. In return, the CNvest team and advisory panel of cannabis venture capital fund experts will work with the startups to help them perfect their pitches and investment options leading into the event.
“I’ve attended many cannabis investor events, but CNvest’s fresh approach includes mentoring and presentation skill-building, as well as helping companies that go through the selection process get a marketing benefit,” said CNvest Advisory Board Member Jeff Siegel, who is also an investment advisor and Wealth Daily editor.
“For many of these entrepreneurs, CNvest will be their first time representing a business in front of an audience, and presenting to sophisticated investors requires proper messaging and polish. The CNvest team is expertly positioned to provide the level of guidance these startups will need, helping ensure all CNvest participants receive maximum value from the event.”
The startups won’t be the only ones paying for their place, as those in the audience will also be required to purchase tickets.
“We originally thought about having participants pay $2,500 or something to join,” Sidline said. “But we just found through our contacts and thinking that doing so could limit a lot of participation from startups that couldn’t risk losing that much capital. On the other hand, we’ve also found free events tend to lack preparation from the companies and investors. It’s like mentally people associate “free” with lacking value. So we think we’ve found a great middle ground.”
The fees are also quite small when compared to those of the ArcView Group—an angel/venture capital company associated with Reggie Gaudino of Steep Hill Labs. Their programs require companies to pay $10,000 to make a pitch; investors must pay $10,000 a year to access their events and program.
CNvest will work with a panel of cannabis market influencers, media, and investment specialists to judge and classify the applicants into related categories. Cannabiz Journal’s reporter/consultant, David Heldreth, will be a member of the judging team. Sidline said each applicant will be judged and scored by a standardized system to help determine which companies have the best chance to grow in the competitive cannabis market.
The judging will eventually whittle the applicant pool down to a group of 16 cannabis startup companies. These 16 businesses will then be placed into groups of four by category. Each group of four will form a panel headed by a judge, and take turns discussing their companies, products, and innovations in front of the audience of investors in San Jose in April. There will be awards for the best in each category, along with a best of the event. But the real reward will be the access to the investors at the event. A ticket to attend as an investor will require being vetted and having over $50,000 in liquid financing available for investment.
CNvest plans to allow many of the startups that didn’t qualify for the finals, or that missed the cut-off for entry, to attend the final event. These extra companies won’t have a chance to take the stage or be part of a panel, but they will be allowed to pitch their companies to investors in the arena—the location where activity will be centered outside the presentation hall. The arena will also play host to a fundraiser to help people convicted of cannabis crimes find employment and get back on their feet. Sidline said CNVest is trying to locate a national charity related to this aim, but may end up working with groups in Oakland, California, and the East Coast if they are unable to find one.
If you are interested in attending or becoming a sponsor or judge for CNvest, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Companies interested in applying to present should follow the instructions on the application website at http://cannanewswire.co/cnvest/apply-to-present/.