Front Range Biosciences announced it has raised $3 million in bridge round funding and will use that money to scale the company’s processes, plus expand into California. The company is based out of Boulder CO and has solved the problem of tissue culture cloning for cannabis plants.
Dr. Jon Vaught, CEO, and Co-Founder said that the company’s process has solved the problem most cultivators face, which is disease, inconsistency, and scale. “Today, there’s just really no good nurseries in cannabis,” he said. He noted a few businesses in Colorado and California tried to get the business started but they all struggle with disease and scalability. “Tissue culture allows you to produce disease-free plants that are clean, healthy and uniform,” he said. “”If they order 10,000, then they’re going to get 10,000 and they’re all going to be the same and they’re all going to be healthy.”
Mainstream farmers in traditional crops use plant tissue culture to produce clones of a plant in a method known as micropropagation. Vaught said there was a big demand for plant starts. He noted that most farmers in traditional crops use plant starts that they buy from nurseries and it helps them meet their production schedule. Vaught said that it makes sense for cannabis farmers to pursue the same strategy.
The company has only been in operation for over a year and closed its first round of funding in January of this year and total funding to date is just under $5 million. Front Range has assembled a who’s who of investors. They include Phyto Partners, Salveo Capital, Sand Hill Angels, HBS Angels of NYC, NY Angels, Halley Venture Partners and Canopy Boulder. “As with our last round, investor demand exceeded our expectations,” said Nick Hofmeister, COO, and co-founder of FRB. “We are very thankful to all of our investors for their continued support and advocacy of FRB.”
Vaught said that so far no one has been successful with tissue culture. However, their company has spent the last year perfecting its process. It believes it will be able to jump into the California market and supply farmers with potentially millions of plant starts
“Canopy is excited to make a follow-on investment in the exceptionally strong FRB team. The company has successfully executed on its plan from day one under the outstanding leadership of Jon Vaught and Nick Hofmeister,” said Micah Tapman, Managing Director at Canopy Boulder. “We have reviewed well over a thousand deals and FRB stands out as the single most promising company because it combines intellectual property development, strong cash flows, executive vision, and operational expertise. “
The company said it is also working with crops outside of the cannabis industry, but said it can’t divulge the crop at this time only to say it was on the scale of a major crop.