Each week, Seth Adler of Cannabis Economy Podcast hosts one or two leaders in the cannabis industry, providing a “real-time history of legal cannabis.” In Episode #139, he interviews Jessica Geran, who has served as Director of Corporate Finance at Dutchess Capital, which has made several investments in the industry, since 2009.
Jessica describes how deal flow has changed dramatically, with entrepreneurs now doing a much better job of being prepared to raise capital. Previously, passion was the common denominator among those pitching. She notes that many are coming into the industry with significant experience in other industries, but many of the new teams fail to understand the market.
She discusses the firm’s investment in MassRoots (OTC: MSRT), pointing to continued avoidance of the industry by large social media sites, like Facebook and Instagram, which continue to take down user accounts. The company, the first investment for Dutchess Capital, is highly focused on a target market. With respect to other portfolio companies, Dutchess has been helping them to scale. As far as new investments, Jessica pointed to undisclosed internal projects and highlighted Roll-uh-Bowl™, which has been one of the firm’s most successful investments.
The market is evolving, and Dutchess Capital realizes that there are many demographic segments to the market, from mothers to athletes to business people. Geran points to a lot of potential opportunities, but she acknowledges that the uncertain regulatory and legal path ahead make it difficult to invest in companies that grow or sell cannabis. Technology companies are addressing gaps in compliance tracking. There are several teams working on this, but who will win is not yet known. She points to the media space being plagued by too much competition. Novel consumption devices could help separate another crowded space.