Cannabis Incubator Gateway Prepares for First Class

Gateway Ben Larson Carter Laren

In episode 24 of the Investing in Cannabis Podcast, Brandon David interviews Carter Laren and Ben Larson of Gateway, an early stage accelerator program for cannabis companies. Gateway is a full immersion business accelerator and seed investment program located in the birthplace of the cannabis industry, Oakland, CA.


  • 4-month program, $30K investment (for 5%), direct or ancillary focus
  • Many of the entrepreneurs haven’t been involved in scalable businesses
  • Neither Carter nor Ben have a strong personal cannabis connection, but Carter has strong libertarian leanings
  • MJIC is a major backer, eventually will let in other limited partners (looking for good mix of tech-focused and cannabis-focused)
  • Looking for founders that can be great leaders
  • Defensiveness is a key red flag
  • See themselves as cross between Y Combinator (little structure, strong network) and Founder Institute (high structure)
  • Companies stay for four months with option to stay extra month
  • Expecting few “direct” cannabis companies, but getting inquiry from infused products companies
  • Ben and Carter will be involved extensively, but there will be lots of mentors, who get equity in class in which they help (1% of companies go to mentors)
  • 2 cohorts of ten in 2016, with first class in March
  • Doesn’t expect to open additional offices
  • Sees CanopyBoulder as a trailblazer and wants them to succeed as well
  • First-mover advantage is highly regarded in the cannabis industry but may not prove valuable
  • Legal landscape uncertainty is a risk for delivery companies
  • Extraction technologies are a promising area
  • Software can address permanent needs, like tracking, but investors need to be careful about short-term needs, like banking and payments

Published by NCV Newswire
NCV Newswire
The NCV Newswire by New Cannabis Ventures aims to curate high quality content and information about leading cannabis companies to help our readers filter out the noise and to stay on top of the most important cannabis business news. The NCV Newswire is hand-curated by an editor and not automated in anyway. Have a confidential news tip? Get in touch.

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