Cannabis private equity fund Merida Capital Partners has launched its third fund for $200 million, which will focus on concentrated, high conviction investments in leading companies in the cannabis ecosystem. The company said that since launching its first fund in late 2016, it has deployed nearly $80 million across its first two funds and now has more than $125MM under management.
The company counts a portfolio of 25 investments through public listings for GrowGeneration, Vireo Health, and CB2 Insights as well as leading investments in public companies KushCo Holdings and Freedom Leaf Health.
“As Merida transitions to our third fund, we continue to define our thesis through the depth of our information gathering and synthesis, our focus on ecosystem connectivity, portfolio company governance and identifying opportunities that offer asymmetric upside returns to our investors,” said Mitch Baruchowitz, Merida Capital Partners Managing Partner. “Through the knowledge gained from investments made in Funds I and II, our incredible team of investment professionals will continue to implement our strategy of risk-mitigated investments in leading companies throughout the cannabis industry.”
In addition to announcing the new fund, Merida said it was also expanding its international operations by opening an office in Toronto, Canada to go with its New York flagship office and satellite offices in San Francisco and Bethesda, Maryland.
“Having met the Merida team shortly after the launch of Fund I, I have been able to watch Merida thoughtfully navigate the challenges of the cannabis industry as both an investor and a member of Merida’s Investment Committee,” said Danny Moses, Merida Capital Partners Investment Committee Member. “The amount of research and diligence performed on both potential and current investments, including deal structure and corporate governance, is where Merida truly excels. I am excited to continue my work on the Investment Committee with the rapidly growing team as they launch Fund III.”
In addition, the firm announced the expansion of its team with three new key hires, which brings the firm’s total employee count to 19.
Dr. Deb Kimless, Chief Scientific Officer
Dr. Deb Kimless, an expert on cannabinoid research and cannabis-based medicines, has joined Merida as its Chief Scientific Officer, overseeing Merida’s research efforts as well as identifying opportunities in the life sciences and biotechnology verticals. Dr. Kimless is a board-certified anesthesiologist with a subspecialty in pain management and holds a B.S. in Natural Sciences and Biology from Muhlenberg College and an MD from Rutgers University.
Matthew Bartlett, West Coast Operating Partner
Matthew Bartlett recently joined Merida as its West Coast Operating Partner responsible for overseeing Merida’s portfolio of consumer products companies. Bartlett most recently founded Garden Society, a boutique Sonoma County-based cannabis operator. He previously managed global logistics and supply chain for Costco’s Kirkland Wine & Spirits, along with and several multi-nationally distributed Napa, Sonoma and California premium and luxury wine brands. Matt also established the Wine Division for Bank of Marin (NASDAQ: BMRC); was Vice President at American AgCredit, a part of the National Farm Credit System; and was a Vice President and Regional Manager in Capital Markets Finance for HSBC.
David Lubotta, Partner
David Lubotta has joined Merida as a Partner and will oversee Merida’s Canadian efforts from its new Toronto office. David brings 25 years of Canadian institutional finance experience to Merida, including participation in numerous financings and M&A transactions in cannabis companies such as: Green Therapeutics, Nutritional High, Green Rush, Emerald Family Farms, and Xanthic Biopharma Inc., which was recently purchased by Green Growth Brands. David holds an MBA from Northwestern Kellogg School of Management.