On August 3, Green Market Report hosted its 2023 Finance Summit. At the Summit, the winners of the 2023 GMR Cannabis Finance Awards were announced.
The winner of the Top Investment Firm was Entourage Effect Capital (EEC), which was formerly known as Cresco Capital Partners. The firm has been in business since 2014, around the time Colorado’s cannabis boom began taking flight.
Nearly a decade ago, hoping to seize “the chance to get in on the ground floor of a revolutionary industry,” founder and managing partner Matt Hawkins launched EEC. Recognizing the potential of the cannabis sector, he, along with co-founders Dov Szapiro and Andy Sturner, pooled their collective 70 years of experience in entrepreneurship, law, private equity, and leadership.
Since its inception, EEC has accomplished several milestones, one of which Matt is particularly proud of: returning investors three times their invested capital within just three years of launching Fund I.
Yet, the journey hasn’t been devoid of challenges. When asked about the most significant obstacle they’ve had to deal with, Matt was candid about the “Lack of regulatory movement at the federal level.”
To date, EEC boasts nearly 70 investments across three funds and multiple special-purpose entities. Its diversified portfolio covers a vast spectrum — from plant-touching enterprises to advanced science and technology firms, including TerrAscend, GTI, Curio Wellness, and Hound Labs, which introduced its “potentially industry-defining” breathalyzer in the second quarter. Other noteworthy investments feature StateHouse Holdings, a dominant force in California’s cannabis space, and Cookies, a global titan in the cannabis brand arena.
Beyond its investment successes, EEC has also displayed adaptability. The combination of continued federal prohibition and the prevailing economic environment has pushed many in the industry to contemplate huge operational and financial overhauls. Recognizing this, EEC, in collaboration with elite industry law firms, has provided essential guidance, helping businesses navigate these challenging waters.
Reflecting on the future and the changes he hopes to witness, Matt expressed his anticipation: “Movement at the federal level!” A sentiment that not only signifies optimism but also underscores the potential that regulatory changes could bring to the nascent industry.