The cannabis industry is full of startups, many of which have great ideas or even deep domain expertise but lack critical skills required to scale their company, similar to other industries. While a few cannabis companies have been able to participate in traditional business accelerators, many of those programs exclude companies in the cannabis industry. Further, cannabis companies face particular challenges related to the complexities surrounding federal illegality.
Fortunately for cannabis companies, accelerators devoted to the industry have begun to offer seed capital and mentoring. CanopyBoulder, which launched in Boulder in 2015, was the first cannabis business accelerator, and it has been joined by Oakland-based Gateway and Philadelphia-based Greenhouse Ventures.
Ackrell Capital, the investment bank that issued a research report on the cannabis industry earlier this year, has partnered with Vator to create cannabis business accelerator Cannavator, which, according to a press release, is accepting applications through mid-August and will commence its first class in September in Oakland.
Vator (short for innovator) aims to help great entrepreneurs find funding, and for investors to get in on the ground floor of tomorrow’s leading companies.
Companies that are accepted into CannaVator will receive invaluable strategic advice from Ackrell Capital, Vator, and a roster of mentors and industry experts, as well as access to a broad range of partners to further develop their businesses.
Bambi Francisco-Roizen, CEO of Vator
Ackrell Capital is a leading independent investment bank focused on providing financial advisory services to global middle-market and emerging growth companies in key industries.
We feel that the timing could not be better to launch a cannabis-focused business accelerator. We identified hundreds of start-ups in the cannabis industry across various industry sectors during the research process for our ‘U.S. Cannabis Investment Report 2016,’ and we hope to use CannaVator to further identify and help launch the best companies.
Shannon Soqui, Head of Cannabis Investment Banking at Ackrell Capital
Cannavator’s website includes the program’s agenda:
• Week 1: Introduction. Business Planning Overview.
• Week 2: Product Strategy and Roadmap.
• Week 3: Financial Modeling and Forecasting.
• Week 4: Branding and Market Positioning.
• Week 5: Mid-Term Presentations.
• Week 6: Go-to-Market Strategy. Marketing and Sales.
• Week 7: Corporate Governance. Culture. Regulations.
• Week 8: Fundraising Strategy.
• Week 9: Pitch Preparation.
• Week 10: Demo Day and Conclusion.