Despite regulatory hurdles, these 4 US cannabis investors are planting seeds for tomorrow

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By Walter Thompson

Friday, May 27, 2022

Welcome to TechCrunch+ Friday

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The cannabis industry is doing very well in the United States: more than 75% of the population lives in a state where access is permitted, and the legal market is expected to generate $33 billion this year.

A black market still eats into the industry’s bottom line, however, and a patchwork of state regulations artificially constrain the TAM for public and private companies managing grow operations, distribution, transportation, inventory control, testing, and point-of-sale software.

In California, dispensaries advertise on freeway billboards and budtenders are a frequent sight at weddings, but Anna Heim found that the industry still has a long way to go before it reaches maturity nationwide, largely because federal laws continue to bar cannabis-related business from using traditional financial services.

To learn more about the underlying market forces and hurdles facing entrepreneurs and investors in this maverick industry, she spoke to four investors:

  • Jacqueline Bennett, managing partner and co-founder, Highlands Venture Partners
  • Yoni Meyer, partner, Casa Verde Capital
  • Matt Hawkins, managing partner and co-founder, Entourage Effect Capital
  • Emily Paxhia, managing director, Poseidon Investment Management

Emily Paxhia joined Anna and me yesterday for a Twitter Space to discuss some of the survey’s topics in greater depth, describing cannabis as “today’s fastest-growing consumer packaged goods category.”

Although delivery services are oversaturated at the moment, she said she’s actively recruiting professionals who have CPG experience in marketing, product management and other roles for Poseidon’s portfolio companies.

Thanks very much for reading TechCrunch+ this week! We will publish on a reduced schedule over Memorial Day weekend; I hope you enjoy the break.

Walter Thompson
Senior Editor, TechCrunch+
@yourprotagonist

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Pitch Deck Teardown: Lumigo's $29M Series A deck

Pitch Deck Teardown: Lumigo's $29M Series A deck image

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Since its launch in 2019, cloud-native application monitoring and debugging platform Lumigo has raised $38 million from investors.

Last November, we reported that Lumigo closed a $29 million Series A; this week, we published 20 of the company’s original 22-slide deck.

“The team told me that its market analysis and financial projections were commercially sensitive,” wrote Haje Van Kamps. “That makes perfect sense.”

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TC Sessions: Climate

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To fully embrace product-led growth, build a strong product ops team

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Image Credits: Henrik Sorensen / Getty Images

Product managers transform customer needs and business requirements into services and features that make money, but it's a limited role.

Even though PMs interact with customers and internal stakeholders from sales, marketing and engineering, they're rarely empowered to implement best practices, select tools or manage operational aspects of the product pipeline.

That's changing as more companies carve out roles for product operations, writes Todd Olson, co-founder and CEO of software platform Pendo.

“It's similar to how sales and marketing ops help their departments,” he says, and “it's a critical function for any company that wants to make its product the “center of the wheel.'”

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Dear Sophie: Does International Entrepreneur Parole have any advantages over an O-1 visa?

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Image Credits: Bryce Durbin/TechCrunch

Dear Sophie,

Are there any advantages to International Entrepreneur Parole over an O-1 visa?

IEP seems to require $250,000 in institutional backing — so getting an O-1A doesn't seem like a huge reach from there.

I feel like the O-1A has many more advantages as well. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.

— Eager Entrepreneur

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Can recurring revenue financing drive growth in a turbulent market?

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Image Credits: Andrii Yalanskyi / Getty Images

Few founders are eager to fundraise in a down market, since investors inevitably will ask for more while offering less.

But according to Harry Hurst, CEO and co-founder of Pipe, a startup with recurring revenue already has one valuable asset it can leverage.

“By selling future revenue streams to investors for up-front capital, they get a steady return and you get to grow faster based on your already booked revenue, taking advantage of big opportunities and the time value of that capital as you scale.”

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Mayfield's Navin Chaddha: I've looked at clouds from both sides now

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Image Credits: Muhammad Ridha/500px / Getty Images

As managing partner at Mayfield and a three-time founder, Navin Chaddha has seen two downturns.

“I have invested in over 60 companies, and while many have gone public or been acquired, the journey has included pivots, near-death experiences and navigating through the 2008/2009 downturn,” he writes in a TC+ guest post.

“Every era is different, but here are some tips for our new normal.”

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