Canopy, a cannabis industry investor, is currently hosting a 16-week entrepreneurial bootcamp in Berkeley for nine cannabis ancillary startups.
Canopy chose startups it identified as having high potential for growth within the cannabis industry and aims to prepare these companies for investment opportunities within the next four months. According to CEO and co-founder Patrick Rea, Canopy had an interest in having its business in Berkeley because of the prominence of cannabis-related business in the East Bay.
“Well before we launched our first class in 2015, we made the strategic decision to be in California during the time of (the potential) legalization of marijuana,” Rea said.
California will vote on the legalization of recreational marijuana in this November’s elections with Proposition 64. If it passes, the cannabis industry will have large potential for expansion, according to Austin Stevenson, co-founder and COO of MyStrain, a startup participating in the bootcamp.
In the city of Berkeley, medical dispensaries must undergo an approval process to legally operate, and the number of allowed dispensaries is limited by zoning laws, according to the chair of the Medical Cannabis Commission, Charles Pappas. The businesses participating in Canopy are ancillary businesses and thus are not subject to the same regulations, Rea said.
Stevenson explained that MyStrain, a startup that created a cannabis-centered networking platform, has been given an “incredible” opportunity through Canopy’s bootcamp, in which they are able to connect and collaborate with other businesses. He explained that the timing of the bootcamp will give them potential for growth.
“We are at the tipping point of excitement and investment for cannabis if all things go well in November,” Stevenson said.
Through this bootcamp — which officially began Aug. 29 — Canopy will aid these startups in gaining traction and raising capital. Over the next four months, Canopy will host a number of presentations, socials and one-on-one meetings specifically for these startups.
Gupta-Daniel, another business that was chosen to participate in this bootcamp, created an analytical dashboard that allows dispensaries to view different aspects of their business all in one location, according to CEO Benjamin Daniel. Through these next four months, Daniel expects his company to grow and expand its network.
“Canopy makes us step through the business fundamentals,” Daniel said. “They’re going to give us a good foundation over the next few weeks about how we should think about our business.”
According to Rea, the startups will demonstrate their products to investors in late November. Rea explained that unlike other industries, such as technology, there are many opportunities for innovation in cannabis.
“It’s almost all been done (in other industries). In the cannabis industry it’s just the opposite of that,” Rea said. “There are so many things that have not been done.”