Snoop Dogg, the legendary entertainer, entrepreneur, and marijuana advocate has always had his mind on his money. Now, his money is on marijuana.
Snoop Dogg co-founded venture capital firm Casa Verde Capital in 2015 with the view that “the cannabis industry will be among the most compelling investment themes of our generation.” After recently raising $45 million its first round of capital funding, it seems the MC and mogul was on to something.
While Snoop — who’s listed by his real name, Calvin Broadus, on Casa Verde’s website — seldom passes up the opportunity to get his hands on some weed in his personal life, his firm is taking an arms-length approach when it comes to investing in legal marijuana. Instead of investing in dispensaries, farms, and other business that handle the plant, CVC is directing its dollars toward the “ancillary cannabis industry.”
“We’re investing in the picks and shovels,” CVC managing partner Karan Wadhera recently told TechCrunch.
Wadhera calls Snoop “among the most important cultural figures” in the legal marijuana biz, and says that his involvement “lends a lot of credibility and excitement” to CVC’s portfolio companies. While Snoop is hands-off on the investment process, Wadhera says Snoop is very involved with some the firm’s portfolio companies, most notably cannabis lifestyle site Merry Jane.
“That’s content. That’s media. That’s Snoop’s bread and butter,” he says.
While much of the legal marijuana industry is focused on how to survive and thrive in the midst of the current uncertain legal climate, Wadhera and the team at CVC are decidedly optimistic about the industry’s long-term future.
“The industry is fraught with a lot of temporary issues that people are trying to solve, including banking and payments, which are a problem because [cannabis is] still illegal under federal law,” he told TechCrunch. “We’re more interested in companies that are building functions for the long term because those short-term solutions won’t be relevant once we’re in a federally legal environment.”
One such company is LeafLink, a e-commerce platform for cannabis dispensaries and CVC’s biggest investment to date. According to the company, LeafLink is designed for “cannabis brands and retailers who want to streamline the ordering process, simplify communication, and spend less time on busy work.” The platform has handled more than $180 million in transactions since 2016, and projects that its order volume will reach $500 million this year.
As marijuana becomes legal in more states, Wadhera predicts, companies like LeadLink and firms like Casa Verde will be poised for growth.
“We’re just getting started,” he says.