Los Angeles (June 28)
To cap off The Cannabis Society’s trip to California, we hosted an exciting Investor Conference at the downtown Los Angeles offices of Zuber Lawler.
Following brief opening remarks given by The Cannabis Society CEO Bill Hennessey, the conference commenced with a fireside chat discussing the complications of a Canadian LP acquiring a US company. Moderated by Josh Masur (Partner, Zuber Lawler), the discussion included Heather Molloy (EVP Business Development, TerrAscend) and Alexander Lalka (Partner, Miller Thomson).
The main topic of discussion surrounded the Canopy & Acreage deal, being one of the biggest acquisitions having occurred in cannabis earlier this year. Molloy and Lalka also spoke on the implications on the U.S. market, the regulatory hurdles parties need to be aware of, and the risks there are for directors and officers of the Canadian company after acquiring a US business.
Molloy has 20+ years of experience in strategic management consulting, finance, structured credit solutions, capital markets sales, and debt and equity investing for the legal cannabis market. Prior to joining TerrAscend, Molloy provided project management, new business development, and operational and management support to clients, including insurance companies and alternative asset management firms.
Lalka has a corporate law practice focusing on mergers and acquisitions and securities law. Alexander’s practice includes public and private acquisitions, public offerings, private placements, venture capital transactions, business combinations, and general corporate and commercial matters. He works with his Miller Thomson colleagues practising in business law, national securities, capital markets, and mergers and acquisitions.
The fireside chat discussion continued over into the first panel, exploring in further depth the Canopy and Acreage acquisition deal, valued at $3.4 Billion. The panel was moderated by Alexander Lalka, and included Heather Molloy, Richard Carleton (CEO, Canadian Securities Exchange), and Matthew Nordgen (CEO & Founder, Arcadian Fund).
The speakers began by expressing their professional opinions on the acquisition deal, as well as what they believe is next to come within the cannabis industry. The trio also spoke on whether this deal opens the door for more investment in the U.S. from Canadian LPs, how it affects the industry’s growth in the US, and whether they suspect that most major players are still waiting for federal regulation.
Carleton was appointed CEO of the Canadian Securities Exchange in July 2011. During his tenure, Carleton and the CSE team led a re-capitalization of the exchange in 2012-2013 and established relationships with key influencers in the Canadian securities industry and beyond. These efforts positioned the exchange to take a leading role in the provision of public capital to entrepreneurial companies; from 2014 on, the CSE set a series of records for new listings, capital raised by issuers and trading turnover. An early advocate for the cannabis industry, the CSE is now the global exchange leader in the listing of issuers in the space.
Mr. Nordgren is currently CEO and Founder of ARCADIAN Fund and ARCADIAN Capital Management, a venture fund/private equity strategy focused on the ancillary service providing companies in and around the cannabis and hemp industries. More specifically, on Series A/B type opportunities where proven businesses are looking for growth equity to continue scaling into new markets. He was recently named one of the “Top 100 Most Influential People in the Cannabis Industry” by High Times Magazine. Additionally, he is the founder of Nordco Consulting LLC, a private consulting firm dedicated to the business development of middle market companies with forward-thinking vision.
Our second panel discussion touched on market trends within the cannabis space. Moderated by Brett Fink (SVP, Old Pal), he was joined by David Hua (Co-Founder & CEO, Meadow), Kimberly Dillon (Founder, Plant & Prosper), Tom Zuber (Managing Partner of Zuber Lawler), and Kiana Anvaripour (General Manager & VP of Marketing, Beboe).
The speakers shared relevant insights and experiences when addressing topics such as what is getting lost in translation into mainstream consumer culture, how to bridge the gap between the experiential and consultative/wellness/medicinal sale, and how to collectively ensure California cannabis culture remains true to its roots in compassion, healing and equity.
Hua is the CEO and Co-Founder of Meadow, a software company built from the ground up for California cannabis. Meadow’s powerful all-in-one point of sale software powers retail and delivery businesses across the state. Meadow has partnered with dispensaries and delivery services of all sizes throughout California, utilizing technology to maintain compliance with local and state regulations, scale with the Adult Use market, and create operational efficiencies that allow these businesses to thrive in a regulated industry. Hua also sits on the board of the California Cannabis Industry Association and the Cannabis Distribution Association.
Fink is a Senior Vice President and founding team member of Old Pal. As employee #1 he helped launch the brand in California and spin up new markets in Nevada and Oregon. Prior to Old Pal, Fink led part of the accelerator at 500 Startups in Silicon Valley where he worked with hundreds of companies from 0 to 50M in value, and was an employee of consumer brands such as Snapchat and Casper through growth rounds.
Dillon is a leading strategist in the cannabis industry and is on a mission to tap into the wellness potential of the plant. She is the founder of Plant & Prosper, a Cannabis Advisory firm and is also the founder of Frigg Wellness, a beauty line targeting the needs of of women. Most recently, she was the CMO of Papa & Barkley, a Cannabis startup that she helped grow to a 30 million dollar business in two years and whose products are #1 or #2 in their respective categories. Named a “Brand star” by Adweek for her story driven approach to branding, she also serves as a mentor to the Initiative (cannabis accelerator) and is an advisor to a number of Cannabis and CBD Brands.
Zuber has advised some of the most iconic companies in the world on their patent and trademark portfolios. He is at the cutting edge of cannabis patent and trademark law. Zuber holds a law degree from Columbia Law School, a master’s degree in public policy from Harvard Government School, and a biomedical engineering degree from Rutgers University, where he graduated with highest honors.
As General Manager of Beboe Therapies, and VP Marketing for Beboe Brands, Kiana Anvaripour oversees all THC and CBD marketing and brand initiatives, including concept, strategy, launch, and execution. Kiana brings over 17 years of luxury fashion and lifestyle experience to Beboe, having built international brands with deep knowledge of wholesale and direct-to-consumer business models, retail expansion, e-commerce, and luxury creative brand development.
The final panel at our Los Angeles Investor Conference discussed private investing. Moderated once more by Alexander Lalka, he was joined on the panel by Peter Luber (Co-Founder & Managing Partner, Marin Financing LLC), Viken Douzdjian (General Partner & Co-Founder for Argonautic Ventures SPC), Matt King (Founder & Managing Partner, Royal Cannabis Ventures) and Gian-Paolo Veronese (Business Development and Policy lead for Big Rock Partners).
The panel of industry experts answered many questions related to private investing such as:
What does your diligence process look like and what are the key areas you focus on?
Once you invest in a company, what does the relationship look like going forward?
What happens when the State Act passes or Federal legalization occurs?
Mr. Luber is a co-founder and managing partner of Marin Financing LLC. Previously, he was a co-founder and portfolio manager at Post Street Capital Management, a long/short equity hedge fund from 2013-2015. Prior to the founding of Post Street Capital Management, Mr. Luber was an analyst and a portfolio manager at Weintraub Capital Management in San Francisco from 2002 to 2012. At WCM, Peter managed a portfolio focusing on the financial services, energy and industrial sectors.
Douzdjian is COO of Trellis, a compliance software company, and investor at Argonautic Ventures, an early-stage investment fund. At Trellis, he implements processes and builds a team to scale a compliance software company in the rapidly growing cannabis industry. Trellis’ clients include operators in California, Canada and other global cannabis markets. Prior to Trellis, Douzdjian was an investment professional at Marlin Equity Partners, a technology-focused private equity firm.
King is currently the founder of Royal Cannabis Ventures. RCV is a venture capital fund and advisory firm leveraging Fortune 100 operating experience to build the world's best cannabis companies.
Veronese is a hospitality, finance and policy leader, and the Business Development and Policy lead for Big Rock Partners. He is the founder of Aventine Hospitality and Vero Enterprises; Finance manager of Law Offices of Mayor Joseph Alioto and Angela Alioto. He has decades of experience in California Cannabis policy advocacy work, which began with the unanimous passage by the San Francisco Board of Supervisor of Prop O in 1991.
If you’re interested in being a speaker, sponsor, or attendee at The Cannabis Society’s upcoming conferences, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.