Privateer Raises $75M For Global Cannabis Brands

Privateer_Vert_ColorPrivateer Holdings burst into the business limelight earlier this year as the first marijuana firm to receive institutional funding, and from no less than Founders Fund, led by Peter Thiel. Now, the Seattle-based marijuana investment company marks another milestone as it has closed a $75 million-dollar round.

The company raised this funding in its Series B round, though it did not disclose who led it. Privateer will use the money to grow its three cannabis startups and to further expand its portfolio.

CEO Brendan Kennedy said that the money positions the company to develop “a family of global brands” in the next years.

Privateer is a holding company that focuses on legal marijuana businesses. Currently, it has Leafly, dubbed the “Yelp for marijuana”; Tilray, a Canada-based medical marijuana producer; and Marley Natural, a global cannabis brand supported by Bob Marley’s family.

It has not always been an easy road for Privateer. The company launched in 2010, when the marijuana industry was far less recognized and supported as a legal industry as it is now. Investors in cannabis-related companies were difficult to find and attract. Kennedy shared that Privateer’s Series A round, which closed at $7 million, was the “hardest money” he has raised.

The firm first raised $7 million in July 2013, but not without scrutiny. According to Kennedy, many wondered how Privateer would deploy the money in the cannabis industry. The company also received criticism “for being too optimistic.”

But as the legal landscape and public attitude on marijuana relaxed over the last three years, cannabis firms started to gain serious attention from investors. Privateer’s multi-million dollar backing from Founders Fund, which was also part of its Series B round, served as a legitimate proof of the growing investor interest in the industry.

Now, Privateer may be able to “easily spend another $200 million” in the next few years, according to Kennedy. The company has in fact raised $82 million in total to date, with 250 employees in the firm and across its three companies.

Kennedy said the cannabis industry is changing “far faster than anything [the firm] could have possibly imagined.” With that, Privateer Holdings seems well-equipped to ride these changes and become one of the top marijuana investment companies in the country.

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