Elite Pot Investors Gather To Hunt New Funding Potentials

24Several hundred leading investors gathered in San Francisco earlier this week for a two-day event aiming to fund and grow legal marijuana businesses.

Dubbed the “Arc Tank”, the assembly is a “shark tank” event organized by the Bay Area-based cannabis angel investment network The ArcView Group.

In this invite-only, members-only event, about 30 startup and existing marijuana businesses will pitch to investors in hopes of getting funding deals.

The gathering started on Monday morning (January 26) with an opening word from ArcView Group co-founder Troy Dayton, who was also a fundraiser for the Marijuana Policy Project. He stated that the event would be a convergence of three hot trends: tech, investment, and legal marijuana, held at a global epicenter for the three. In his words, it was “an amazing moment in history” to be at the gathering’s place and time.

To the investor and entrepreneur participants, Dayton enthused that the future of the marijuana industry is “at each handshake” they will have throughout the event.

During the opening day, MJFreeway also revealed that it has received funding from Tao Capital Partners, whose other investments include Tesla, SpaceX, and Uber.

A keynote presenter at the event was Justin Kan, creator of Twitch TV, a company recently sold to Amazon for almost a billion dollars and also a partner in Y Combinator. Kan gave a talk investment strategy.

The event comes just as the cannabis industry is getting legitimate, mainstream recognition in the investing world. This is thanks in large part to Peter Thiel’s multi-million Founder’s Fund investment in cannabis firm Privateer Holdings.

Projections are also looking up for the industry, which is expected to generate revenues amounting to $10 billion by 2018. To date, medical marijuana is legal in 23 states and recreational marijuana in four states. Though pot is still illegal at the federal level, the Obama administration has been supporting state efforts to regulate and tax cannabis trade. President Obama himself recently predicted that this movement will expand.

ArcView also conducted its own research. According to researcher Patrick Rea, the cannabis industry grew 74% from a gross of $1.5 billion in 2013 to $2.7 billion in 2014. The industry is thus America’s “the fastest-growing legal industry” today, he said.

In addition, ArcView forecasts that industry growth will be at 32% in 2015.

Dayton said big investors known for backing technology companies are now jumping into the marijuana industry, especially looking at cannabis technology companies.

The ArcView Group’s own network of investors includes a number of billionaires, real estate moguls, tech entrepreneurs-turned-VC funders, and some of the biggest cannabis brands.

Rea concludes that the industry has never been “faster or more furious” and that “it’s been a wild ride.”

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