NEW YORK (MainStreet) — When the Denver cannabis dispensary Medicine Man decided to expand into the recreational adult use marijuana market, CEO Andy Williams sought the assistance of the Arc View Group, an investment and research company, which hosts investor networks around the country five to six times a year.
"They raised more than $1.5 million in a high interest loan deal because investors who don't live in Colorado can't own a part of a business that deals directly with cannabis," said Troy Dayton, co-founder of Arc View.
Medicine Man is one of about 50 marijuana or marijuana ancillary start ups that have benefited from networking with Arc View.
"There are more than $4 million in investments that have happened through us that we know of and these are the first angel investments that have occurred in this sector," Dayton told MainStreet.
A member of the Angel Capital Association, Arc View doesn't directly invest in cannabis companies but rather connects investors who are interested in investing in cannabis companies.
"We don't take any percentage on the deals," Dayton said. "We operate based on fixed membership fees from investors and companies. We run the shark tank for the cannabis industry by facilitating meetings and now we're hosting webinars every week with a few companies for investors who are members."
Membership fees are hefty. Accredited investors pay $3,500 to $5,000 a year depending on the type of membership they select.
"Our member investors run the gamut," Dayton said. "We're seeing an increasingly higher caliber of investors coming out of the woodwork in the last few months. We have billionaires and heads of public companies as well as younger people who sold their tech companies and now are getting into angel investing."
Arc View launched its investor network in November 2011 specifically for the cannabis industry with 12 investors. Today, the investment firm boasts 150 member investors.
"Investors started joining after November 2012 with the legalization of medical marijuana in California and Washington, but we didn't see the real rush until January 1 of this year when Colorado moved forward with retail sales," Dayton said.
Individual investor Bobby Genser parked $100,000 into a company launching a greenhouse to grow cannabis in Pueblo, Colorado but without the assistance of Arc View.
"Dispensaries in Denver that are right with the law and still functioning don't need venture capital money anymore," Genser told MainStreet.
While Denver may be tapped out, the East Coast rollout of cannabis has just begun. As a result, Arc View's next investor network will take place in April in Boston.
"The Northeast is popping," Dayton said. "Connecticut just passed a medical marijuana law and released their first round of licenses while Rhode Island has had medical marijuana for quite sometime. There's currently a bill in legislation for full legalization there. So Boston is the perfect place to have our investor network."
--Written by Juliette Fairley for MainStreet