Last week, prior to the largest cannabis business show the world has ever seen at MJBizCon, entrepreneurs gathered just outside of Las Vegas for the opportunity to sell their business model at the Arcview Group Investor Pitch Forum.
Following the format of the show “Shark Tank,” participants joined the “Arc Tank” in order to present their companies to a pool of potential investors. The event is all about connecting cannabis with capital opportunities in an effort to harness the power behind the surging tide of cannabis legalization across the world. This year’s Arc Tank was especially timely, as the first major mainstream brands are currently making the leap into the marijuana business — and according to experts, the trend of big business embracing big buds is just beginning.
“Marijuana sales just began in Nevada, the party capital of the world,” Arcview CEO and co-founder Troy Dayton said. “And they are about to start in California, the sixth largest economy in the world. Not far behind will be Canada, the tenth largest economy in the world. To say that investors and entrepreneurs are salivating over this would be a bold understatement. Arcview is where they are placing their bets.”
The Arcview investor network is comprised of more than 600 accredited investors who have thus far devoted approximately $155 million to 165 cannabis-related companies. The network provides businesses searching for funding with a rare opportunity to present in front of a large pool of potential financiers.
The Las Vegas event also included presentations from event sponsors such as New Frontier Data, a business devoted to compiling data on the legal cannabis industry. John Kagia, executive vice president of industry analytics at New Frontier, explained in his presentation how legalization in Canada and a shift to providing cannabis through state-authorized licensed producers showcases the rise of big business. Other major companies are starting to enter the Canadian cannabis space. Constellation Brands, whose portfolio includes Svedka and Modelo, made headlines last month with an announcement that it had purchased a 10 percent share in Canada’s Canopy Growth corporation.
“It will be just the first of many,” Kagia said. “This is the dawn, the early dawn of the cannabis mega brand.”
While New Frontier data shows a decline in cannabis commerce in recent years as the recreational market begins to settle, Kagia said that Canada and California (which is set to begin recreational cannabis sales on Jan. 1, 2018) will reverse that trend.
But it’s not just laws that are changing the face of cannabis commerce. Polls by Gallup and Pew show that cannabis is the fastest evolving public policy issue in the nation and, Kagia said, a recent demonstration where activists in Washington, D.C. gave out free joints stood as a “powerful indication of just how far the pendulum has swung.”
In confirming Kagia’s assertions about big business entering the space, Colin Little — one of the founders behind DeepGreen, a company developing an AI system to detect plant gender and identify problems such as pests and mold — said his main competitor has already been bought out by John Deere. Little’s DeepGreen was one of 12 companies that rose to the top out of a pool of hundreds selected to receive mentorship from Arcview members in order to craft their ask.
At the end of the three-day event the winner was declared: Redfield Proctor, a Colorado-based company that offers waste recycling services for cannabis cultivators and retailers. Redfield Proctor was given a $50,000 prize.
“I look forward to turning it into the interstate behemoth it was always meant to be,” Redfield Proctor CEO and founder Stephen Martin said, as he accepted his prize. `
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