SEATTLE & SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In a major milestone for the entire legal cannabis industry, Privateer Holdings today announced that Founders Fund, one of the world’s top venture capital firms with more than $2 billion in assets under management, has made a multi-million dollar investment in Privateer Holdings’ Series B round. The investment from Founders Fund marks the first time a major institutional player has placed capital in the cannabis industry, and is a significant next step as the industry moves out of the shadows and into the light.
“Founders Fund is known for making some of the most lucrative and radically transformational investments of the past decade,” said Privateer Holdings CEO Brendan Kennedy. “With this investment they are signaling that they, like us, believe that the end of prohibition and the social harms it causes is inevitable.”
“Privateer Holdings has emerged as the market leader in legal cannabis, which we believe will become a massive industry within the next decade,” said Founders Fund Partner Geoff Lewis, who is leading the firm’s investment in Privateer Holdings. “We’ve been evaluating the cannabis industry for several years and we haven’t seen another company that comes close to Privateer Holdings in terms of strategy, professionalism, talent, expertise, and potential for growth.”
Privateer Holdings, the world’s first private equity firm investing exclusively in the legal cannabis industry, was founded in 2010 by three MBAs with decades of experience in private equity and venture capital. The firm previously closed $22 million in funding through the combination of a Series A fundraising round and a convertible bridge note. Until today’s announcement, Privateer Holdings’ investors consisted solely of ultra-high net worth individuals and family offices.
Founders Fund was the first institutional investor in revolutionary companies SpaceX and Palantir Technologies, and one of the earliest investors in Facebook. The firm is sector and stage agnostic, with a portfolio that includes Airbnb, Lyft, Oscar, SolarCity, Spotify, Stripe, and ZocDoc. Recent portfolio company exits include The Climate Corporation, DeepMind, Oculus, and Yammer.
In an industry as fast-moving as the cannabis industry, Privateer Holdings has established itself as a company of firsts:
- Privateer Holdings was the first private equity firm to make an investment in the cannabis industry when it acquired Leafly in 2011.
- Privateer Holdings was the first to close a Series A funding round for $7 million in 2013.
- Patrick Moen became the first agent to leave the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for a position in the cannabis industry when he joined Privateer Holdings in November 2013.
- On Aug. 3, Leafly became the first cannabis company to place a full-page print advertisement in The New York Times.
- Privateer Holdings, in partnership with the family of Bob Marley, launched the world’s first global cannabis brand Marley Natural on November 18, 2014.
- Privateer Holdings has now received the first major institutional investment in the legal cannabis industry.
Privateer Holdings will use the investment from Founders Fund to continue building mainstream companies and professional brands that elevate the conversation about cannabis for patients and consumers around the world. Privateer Holdings' portfolio of disclosed investments so far includes:
- Leafly – the world’s leading online cannabis information community, with more than four million visitors per month and the world’s largest database of user-generated reviews of cannabis strains, dispensaries and retail stores.
- Tilray – a leading premium medical cannabis company, offering unparalleled quality and consistency to physicians and patients. Tilray grows, processes, packages and ships medical cannabis to thousands of Canadian patients from its $25 million, federally-licensed production facility in British Columbia, Canada. Tilray also has a pending application for a federal production license in Uruguay.
- Marley Natural – a premium cannabis brand rooted in the life and legacy of Bob Marley, which plans to begin offering heirloom Jamaican cannabis strains, cannabis- and hemp-infused topical products, and accessories in late 2015.
About Privateer Holdings
Privateer Holdings is the cannabis industry’s first private equity firm. Through strategic investments in the emerging legal cannabis industry, Privateer is building a portfolio of mainstream, responsible companies that elevate the conversation about cannabis. Privateer aims to change past perceptions of the marketplace by building brands set apart by their professionalism and operational excellence. For more information, visit www.privateerholdings.com.