Budding cannabis startups around the world will have a new resource to turn to as they get their businesses off the ground in the emerging recreational and medicinal marijuana industry. The “Cannabis Ecosystem Program” is launching today in San Francisco, providing a virtual resource hub for early-stage cannabis entrepreneurs and businesses for three months beginning in March.
The program comes from a joint partnership in which Silicon Valley startup accelerator Founder Institute has teamed up with The Arcview Group, a Bay Area-based investment firm that focuses on the marijuana industry.
Running from March 9 to June 15, the completely virtual program seeks to help build up more than two dozen cannabis startups by giving them mentorship from industry experts, establish connections with key players and provide an overall crash course on the world of startups and venture capital.
It’s no wonder there is mounting interest in marijuana investments, as the plant’s popularity grows in the U.S. In November, New Jersey, Arizona, Montana, and South Dakota voted to legalize the recreational use of cannabis, making 15 states where it is now legal recreationally.
“The ‘green wave’ has gone mainstream, and it is here to stay,” said Jonathan Greechan, Co-Founder of Founder Institute. “By deepening our partnership with The Arcview Group and announcing this new cannabis program, we can help the next generation of entrepreneurs build transformative businesses that fully leverage the myriad benefits of these plants.”
As more Americans begin to favor the use of marijuana, the business surrounding it has seen rapid growth in the U.S. over the past few years. In 2019, marijuana startups received upwards of $2 billion in venture capital funding. By 2030, marijuana is expected to generate $85 billion in sales.
That same meteoric rise can be seen across the globe as well. Worldwide an estimated 260 million people are active consumers of cannabis, making the entire global industry worth around $350 billion. Asia, North America and Europe are by far the three biggest markets for both medicinal and recreational marijuana.
However, other regions are quickly developing their cannabis industries as well. Earlier this month, Mexico paved the way to legalization after its health ministry created new regulations in regards to the medicinal use of cannabis. That would make Mexico the largest country in the world to legalize marijuana on a nationwide scale. While others have some form of legal use in place, many other countries like Colombia and Switzerland have decriminalized the plant.
“The cannabis industry is truly a global conversation,” said Kim Kovacs, CEO of The Arcview Group. “Partnering with Founder Institute, an organization with a stellar reputation and accelerators around the world, was a natural next step for us to create valuable resources for success for entrepreneurs in cannabis and hemp. Both organizations take strong stances on normalizing this plant and are thrilled to continue the forward momentum.”
Mentors at the “Cannabis Ecosystem Program” will include a host of business people who built their companies on marijuana-centered ideas like Kovacs, Paul Rosen, the co-founder of cannabis-infused food producer Pantry, and Jeanne Sullivan, the founder and CIO of Arcview Ventures.
Interested entrepreneurs can apply for free at Founder Institute’s website until February 28. Select applicants will receive fellowships to qualify for free participation in the program.
Disclosure: This article mentions a client of an Espacio portfolio company.