Cannabis lifestyle brand Jane West launched an equity crowdfunding campaign on the investment platform Republic.co, seeking $1.07 million in funding by April 20.
Equity crowdfunding has been a successful venture for cannabis companies including HelloMD, an online community for medical cannabis patients. Last year, HelloMD raised just over $1 million via equity crowdfunding on SeedInvest.
CEO Jane West, who co-founded cannabis networking organization Women Grow, designs cannabis accessories and products for women. Her brand is posed for international distribution in 2018.
“Having previously raised over $1 million in funding, the opportunity to become a stakeholder in the Jane West brand is now available for as little as $100,” a company release said.
West said, “Cannabis is for everyone, and the ability to participate financially should be too. Through equity crowdfunding, we’re able to democratize the incredible financial opportunity available in cannabis. We want everyone, regardless of their resources or background, to be part of the most important new industry to emerge in our lifetime.”
Funding will support a sales expansion strategy to generate revenue through proprietary product sales and branded packaging.
“In 2018, we’ll be greatly expanding the availability of Jane West products online and in brick and mortar stores,” West said. “A few of our key areas of focus for accessories sales are international retail expansion, greater e-commerce availability, and boutique brick and mortar retailers. We will also expand our US sales force for Jane West proprietary goods. We regularly hear from retailers asking to carry Jane West products, and our team is looking forward to meeting the strong demand we’ve experienced in these areas, and others.”
West talked about her brand’s crowdfunding campaign with Cashinbis.
Was this crowdfunding strategy inspired by any other cannabis industry companies that have used crowdfunding?
Not particularly. While equity crowdfunding is a promising source of capital for the cannabis industry, our strategy has been far more greatly influenced by mainstream companies’ success with crowdfunding. Crowdfunding on a legitimate, reputable platform was also extremely important to us, and with Republic, we have a partner with a selective vetting process and an excellent reputation — it belongs to the same startup platform family as AngelList, Product Hunt, and CoinList.
What are the main areas of interest for current investors?
We see investors getting increasingly excited about branded opportunities in the cannabis space that don’t experience the same geographic limitations or severe banking restrictions as licensed producers.
What regulations inhibit investors from entering the cannabis industry?
The geographic segmentation of state-regulated markets and variable regulations within each market limits access to investment opportunities. Most states’ programs also limit the ability of outside investors, particularly those out of state, to own stakes in licensed businesses. But more than anything, investors are inhibited from entering the industry because of a lack of federal regulation. Cannabis is still a Schedule I drug, and the plant’s federally illegal status has created a regulatory void at the national level.
To date, U.S. law and regulation has been largely limited to guidance to federal prosecutors and regulators that are, as we’ve seen with the Cole Memo, weak measures. This instability at the federal level, especially regarding taxation and access to banking, creates a limited and uncertain financial ecosystem. Businesses like Jane West that do not touch the plant are far more accessible to investors, though the most financially conservative capital resources remain wary of the opportunity. Companies that package cannabis without touching the plant are well-positioned to meet demand as legalization continues to expand nationally and globally.