CNvest Archives - Green Market Report

Debra BorchardtApril 10, 2018


Financial experts at the CNvest conference held on April 9 in San Jose California gave cannabis entrepreneurs solid advice on Monday. Ben Larson of Backplane Capital said, “There’s a lot of excitement around cannabis but that doesn’t give you an excuse to build a shitty product. Investors want to see companies that are built on actual business models.”

Larson is a serial entrepreneur in the San Francisco area and is a General Partner at Backplane Capital, an early stage venture fund that invests in the cannabis industry. He is also a Co-founder of Gateway, a cannabis accelerator.

Larson told the audience that cannabis companies should be treated like any other company and rather than building a cannabis business, just build a ‘good’ business. He gave four pieces of advice for business owners. The first was vetting relationships. Larson said to get references and dig into backgrounds. “Be skeptical,” he said. “It only takes a phone call to vet someone.” He likes it when a potential investment questions his background.

Then he said he reviews the companies supply chain. “I look for that one slide that says ‘we have control over our destiny.’ Not necessarily supply chain meaning logistics, but where do they get their source of materials or content.


Next was the vision. He said companies need a vision that’s bigger than a given product. Larson though sympathized that bouncing between visions and what needs to be executed today is challenging.

Finally, – capital. Larson said there was a lot of capital interested in the space, but it wasn’t coming in like a fire hose. There is a lot of competition for those investment dollars and that conceded that entrepreneurship is hard.

Ultimately, Larson said he believes in cannabis because he thinks it will become a recession-proof commodity.

Sumit Mehta, is the Chief Executive Officer at Mazakali a firm that provides investment banking, consulting and capital advisory services to the cannabis industry. He is also a consultant for the Arcview Group. Mehta said that for every $1 dollar spent on cannabis there is a trickle-down effect of $5 around the plant. He also believes that the adult-use marijuana market will become 90% of the industry.

Mehta noted that the cannabis industry is only second in growth to the era of booming wifi access. He said that there are 12,000 business licenses in the U.S. and that the industry doubles in size every 32 months.

Still, he said that deal flow was heating up because marijuana is expected to become legal by 2021. Many in panels following Mehta’s presentation quoted him when he advised companies and founders to be ‘true to their stripes.’ Meaning if you’re good at tech, stay with tech, but then apply those skills to cannabis.

Mehta also implored the group to give to organizations that help change cannabis laws.





Video StaffApril 10, 2018


CNvest held its first conference in San Jose, California and awarded a $10,000 prize to the pitch contest winner The Peak Beyond. The Peak Beyond is a developer of interactive smart tables for cannabis retail spaces.

What makes the tables unique is the intelligent object-recognition capabilities and integrated point of sale system. A customer can place any product from the store’s display inventory onto the table, follow clickable pathways to learn more through text and video, and purchase items on the spot.

The goal is to provide consumers with the educational benefit of a digital patient consultant with the pleasure of enjoying a self-guided museum tour. While the technology can be applied to any retail market, This company seeks to capitalize on the California legalization movement to prepare for the surge of new consumers who may not be informed about the industry or its products.

StaffMarch 7, 2018


CNvest announced the sixteen finalists chosen to present at the CNvest: Terps and Tech 2018 cannabis industry startup and investor conference, taking place at the Hilton San Jose, Calif. on April 9. Each company will meet potential investors and business partners at CNvest and one lucky winner will be selected by investors in the audience to receive a $10,000 prize.

Applications were received from startups seeking funding located across North America, from Southern California to Eastern Canada. The entries were analyzed by cannabis industry editors, reporters, and influencers whose backgrounds make them exceptionally qualified to uncover aspects of businesses that could help them thrive in the complex cannabis market. Green Market Report is a media partner with CNvest and Editor-In-Chief Debra Borchardt was one of the judges for the pitch contest.

CNvest finalists earned top scores on a set of criteria that determined both a company’s market and investment potential. In addition to two companies in stealth mode that will be revealed at the event, the CNvest: Terps and Tech finalists include (in alphabetical order):

In addition to Borchardt, the CNvest: Terps and Tech judges include:

In addition to the startup pitches from finalists, the CNvest program includes four panels, each introducing  cannabis industry sector to investors in the audience, and two featured speakers:

  • Carter Laren is the co-founder of Backplane Capital, a seed stage venture firm focused on the cannabis industry, and a co-founder of Gateway, widely recognized as the premier business accelerator for startups in the cannabis space.

  • Sumit Mehta is CEO of Mazakali, finance and strategy Consultant to The Arcview Group, and managing partner at Emerald Ventures. A frequent speaker at investment seminars, he currently serves on Canopy’s Investment Committee and acts as a shark and mentor to both Arcview and Canopy companies.

Accredited investors wishing to attend can purchase tickets at

StaffFebruary 12, 2018


Startup companies in the cannabis market still have time to apply to CNvest to compete in a pitch contest similar to the types of competitions held at tech conferences like Tech Crunch’s Disrupt. The cannabis companies are also competing for a chance to win $10,000.

CNvest will select 16 investment-worthy startups to present to an audience of investors at the spring forum, co-located with the Terpenes and Testing World Conference, the most comprehensive cannabis science expo in the United States. Companies will be judged by a panel of cannabis market influencers and media, with finalists selected by a panel of cannabis investors and business analysts.  Standardized scoring will be used to fairly determine which companies have the greatest potential to succeed in this explosive market.

There’s still time to apply. Applications must be received by midnight Pacific Time, Friday night, February 16, 2018.  Applications are open to:

  • US or Canadian startups in the legal medical or recreational cannabis market
  • Founded on or after January 1, 2015
  • Have raised at least $50,000 (US) from one or more accredited investors
  • But have not yet raised more than $1.5 million
  • And have not yet closed a Series A funding round

The CNvest Advisory Board includes leading investment professionals from the cannabis market:

“I’ve attended many cannabis investor events, but CNvest’s fresh approach includes mentoring and presentation skill building, as well as helping all companies that go through the selection process get a marketing benefit,” said CNvest Advisory Board member Jeff Siegel, and investment advisor and Wealth Daily editor. “For many of these entrepreneurs, CNvest will be their first time representing a business in front of an audience, and presenting to sophisticated investors requires proper messaging and polish. The CNvest team is expertly positioned to provide the level of guidance these startups will need, helping ensure all CNvest participants receive maximum value from the event.”

After the last pitch is over, investors attending the event will have a ballot to vote for their favorite pitch. The winner of that vote will receive $10,000.

CNvest: Terps and Tech will be held at the Hilton San Jose at the McEnery Convention Center on April 9, 2018.

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