The United States is the world’s largest cannabis market, but as more European countries consider legalizing recreational use, investors are looking for opportunities in manufacturing, distribution and retail.
As in the US, the laws governing this herbal drug differ across the EU, meaning entrepreneurs must navigate complicated legal frameworks, even as they compete with a massive black market.
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But for those with a high risk tolerance, starting in a largely unregulated industry is an easy choice: Europeans spend an estimated €9 billion a year on illicit cannabis, and the unlicensed medicinal cannabis market is expected to reach €354 million by 2022.
For our latest investor survey, we reached out to eight investors who actively sign checks for cannabis tech companies and asked them to tell us what they’re looking for, how they measure success, and how best to get founders’ attention.
- Todd Harrison, Co-Founder and CIO, CB1 Capital Management
- Yoni Meyer, partner, Casa Verde Capital
- Viken Douzdjian, Managing Partner and Co-Founder, Argonautic Ventures
- David Bonnier, Co-Founder, Enexis AB
- Will Gibbs, Director, Octopus Ventures
- Oliver Lamb, Co-Founder and Investment Manager, Óskare Capital
- Leah Fletcher, Founder and Director, Arbutus Innovation Center
- will.i.am, investor, Sanity Group
A big thank you to Frederique Dame at GV and Glen Evans from Greylock for joining MovieUpdates Early Stage in San Francisco yesterday.
I spoke to Frederique about the journey to finding a product-market fit, and Glen and I discussed hiring top talent in a competitive environment. I’ll be sharing a summary of both conversations on MovieUpdates+ next week.
On Tuesday, April 26 at 2:30 PT/5:30 PT, I’ll be hosting a Twitter Space with Sophie Alcorn, a Silicon Valley immigration attorney who writes the weekly “Dear Sophie” column for MovieUpdates+.
We’ll be discussing recent developments in U.S. immigration law, H-1B visas, and other matters relevant to the tech industry before answering questions from the public, so I hope you’ll join us.
Thank you so much for reading, and have a fantastic weekend.
Senior Editor, MovieUpdates+
How social commerce is bridging infrastructure gaps in Southeast Asia
Southeast Asia is home to the world’s fastest-growing e-commerce markets, but even as mobile and internet penetration in the region explodes, large swaths of rural areas of many countries remain severely understaffed.
Due to the diverse landscape, infrastructure in some rural cities is so fragmented and poor that basic necessities can be three times more expensive than in urban areas.
One response to this is social commerce, which uses social media to connect businesses with local resellers to market and sell their products, while also empowering smaller businesses and underserved communities, writes Amit Anand, founder of Jungle Ventures.
“Most social commerce platforms require no upfront investment, and resellers can rely on startups’ supply chains, payment infrastructure and logistics networks. This allows them to focus on leveraging the assets they do have: their social circles.”
Dear Sophie: I did not win the H-1B lottery. What are my next steps?
I got my master’s degree in business analysis last year and have been working for a company ever since while doing OPT.
My employer enrolled me in the H-1B lottery last month, but I was not selected. I heard that my degree now qualifies as a STEM field, making me eligible to continue working under OPT.
How can I stay in the United States?
— Astute analyst
Is Elon Musk Undervaluing Twitter in His Unsolicited Offer?
Elon Musk’s $43.4 billion offer to take Twitter private didn’t outline a target for a struggling company: The social media platform’s revenue is on track to reach $6 billion by 2022.
That progress, along with the stock trading above $60 for most of 2021, could mean Musk’s bid of $54.20 a share could disappoint many long-term shareholders, Alex Wilhelm reported.
“If you already owned Twitter stock, you believed in the growth story, otherwise you would have left when the CEO chairman capsized last year,” writes Alex.
“That means Musk is basically claiming that Twitter’s current shareholders are sad and looking to cash out, expecting 2021 prices for their company not to return anytime soon.”
Why EV startups need to brake before merging with a SPAC
It’s clear why so many EV startups have merged with special-purpose acquisition companies: SPAC money can be used to scale operations and fund R&D, important considerations for electric vehicle companies.
But since their debut, Nikola, Canoo, Lucid Motors, Lordstown Motors and Faraday Future have seen their valuations plummet like a flat tire. To make matters worse, they have also caught the attention of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
“If you don’t live up to your forecasts, you really get hammered,” said John Loehr, director at consulting firm AlixPartners. “That’s when investors start filing lawsuits.”
Blue-chip NFT owners explore alternative uses as sales drop
Blue-chip NFT projects such as Mutant Ape Yacht Club, Azuki and Bored Ape Yacht Club are rising in value, but global sales volume for non-fungible tokens fell from $4.6 billion in January to $2.4 billion in March.
Many lesser-known projects have become stranded assets, but owners of high-value NFTs borrow against their tokens “to gain liquidity and in turn generate additional returns or buy more assets elsewhere,” reports Jacquelyn Melinek.
“While overall NFT sales may be lower, the top projects still retain significant value,” said Stephen Young, CEO of marketplace NFTfi.
“Found” Receives Webby Nomination for Best Technology Podcast
Found, MovieUpdates’s podcast where founders share the stories behind their startups, has been nominated for a Webby in the Best Technology Podcast category.
Cast your vote before April 21 to help him win the People’s Voice Award!