Vice Ventures announced today that it had closed its first $25 million fund. Vice Ventures is an investment management company that focuses on developing early-stage companies in what it calls the “vice space.” The company broadly defines vice as non-traditional businesses operating in industries such as cannabis, alcohol, sex-tech, CBD, esports, gambling, nicotine, psychedelics, and addiction recovery.
Although the United States is awash in investment opportunities, many venture capital firms often avoid companies in vice categories; mainly due to legal liability or self-imposed pledges to not make investments in controversial fields.
Hoping to challenge social stigmas, as well as capitalize on the lack of participation from traditional capital, Vice Ventures plans on using its funding to develop 100 early stage “vice” companies. Investments for the fund launch include the sparkling CBD water brand Recess, the canned Rose brand Bev, and the vaporizer Indose.
The company was founded by Catharine Dockery. Dockery has a background in venture capital and served as an early member of the digitally native vertical brands M&A team at Walmart (WMT), alongside Bonobos CEO Andy Dunn and Jet.com CEO Mark Lore. Dockery is also an early investor of Bev.
“It is essential that we approach these investments with a strong moral compass,” commented Dockery. “We care deeply about finding the highest quality operators in vice industries, and that includes a serious focus on harm reduction, informed consumption, and safe products. Black and white approaches like fund vice clauses completely ignore that many companies approach their work ethically and responsibly, leaving some exceptional operators struggling to get funding. Ignoring the role of vices in our society is not productive, and we believe progress can come from increased legitimacy of the best operators and an informed discussion on their impact.”
While Vice Ventures is still in its early stages, the company has already attracted several high profile investors, including Marc Andreessen and Bradley Tusk. In addition to investing, Tusk will also serve as an advisor to the fund.