In just five days, nine states will vote on marijuana legalization measures, so it’s perhaps not a surprise that the five-year-old, Seattle-based marijuana private equity investor Privateer Holdings just raised $40 million in convertible debt from undisclosed investors.Cowen and Co. is predicting that within 10 years, legal pot sales will hit $50 billion in the U.S., up from $6 billion today.
In an interview yesterday with Reuters, Privateer CEO Brendan Kennedy said he’s hoping his firm’s newest round of funding will reach $100 million but that many interested investors are waiting to see what happens this Tuesday. Those who provided the company with that $40 million will receive a 15 percent discount when they get equity in Privateer, he added.
Privateer has so far raised $122 million altogether. Earlier investors include Founders Fund, which led the company’s $75 million Series B round in March 2015, and Subversive Capital.
The company, which primarily invests in U.S. companies, owns or has stakes in at least three companies, including Leafly, a cannabis website and mobile application centered around user-generated reviews of cannabis strains, products and dispensaries. Another bet is Tilray, a startup that provides pharmaceutical-grade cannabis products to patients, researchers, pharmacies and governments around the world from a $25 million, federally licensed facility in British Columbia. Privateer also owns a big stake in Marley Natural, a cannabis lifestyle brand that makes, among other things, body oil infused with cold-pressed hemp seed oil and Jamaican botanicals. (In 2014, Privateer signed a 30-year licensing deal with the late musician Bob Marley’s family to launch the brand.)
Privateer Holdings isn’t the only cannabis-focused fund, but it’s among few (so far). In June, MedMen Management, which consults for the medical-marijuana industry, launched its own private equity fund, MedMen Opportunity Fund. It’s looking to raise $100 million from investors.
Before cofounding Privateer, Kennedy was a managing director of strategic projects and a managing director with Silicon Valley Bank.