Privateer Holdings Closes $75 Million Funding Round

Privateer Holdings, the world’s leading private equity firm investing exclusively in legal cannabis, today announced the completion of its Series B funding round. The $75 million in new funding marks the largest private capital raise in the legal cannabis industry to date and brings the company’s fundraising total to $82 million. Privateer Holdings will use the new financing to build a global portfolio of billion dollar cannabis brands operating in multiple geographies around the world.

“Cannabis prohibition and the destructive social injustices it causes are going to end sooner than people think,” said Privateer Holdings co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Brendan Kennedy. “As the cannabis market transitions from a state of prohibition to a state of legalization around the world, we are proud to be building a global portfolio of mainstream, responsible brands that are setting the standard for the industry in terms of quality, professionalism and social purpose.”

Privateer Holdings was founded in 2010 by three visionary entrepreneurs with decades of experience in private equity and venture capital. The company’s investor base consists of ultra-high net worth individuals, family offices and institutional investors like Founders Fund, one of the top venture capital firms in the world.“Cannabis prohibition and the destructive social injustices it causes are going to end sooner than people think,” said Privateer Holdings co-founder and Chief Executive Officer Brendan Kennedy. “As the cannabis market transitions from a state of prohibition to a state of legalization around the world, we are proud to be building a global portfolio of mainstream, responsible brands that are setting the standard for the industry in terms of quality, professionalism and social purpose.”

“Since we announced that Founders Fund made the first institutional investment in the cannabis industry in January, we’ve seen the profile of our investor base change in ways that would have been unthinkable five years ago when we set out to transform this industry,” added Privateer Holdings co-founder and Chief Financial Officer Michael Blue. “We closed the Series B round with a group of sophisticated family offices and institutional investors who made seven- and eight-figure investments. That’s a vote of confidence for the entire industry and an important step forward in finally ending cannabis prohibition.”

The Series B funding will be used to expand Privateer Holdings’ existing brands to new geographies, make strategic acquisitions, and to launch new ventures. Privateer Holding’s portfolio of disclosed investments so far includes:

  • Leafly – The world’s leading online cannabis information community, with more than five million visitors per month and the world’s largest database of user-generated reviews of cannabis strains, products and dispensaries.
  • Tilray – One of the largest and most sophisticated producers of premium medical cannabis in the world, offering unparalleled quality and consistency to physicians and patients. Tilray grows, processes, packages and ships medical cannabis to thousands of Canadian patients from its state-of-the-art, $25 million, federally licensed research and production facility in British Columbia, Canada. Tilray is actively evaluating expansion opportunities throughout the Americas and Europe.
  • Marley Natural – A premium cannabis lifestyle brand deeply rooted in the life and legacy of Bob Marley, which plans to begin offering cannabis strains, cannabis- and hemp-infused topical products, and accessories in North America later this year.

In an industry as fast-moving as the cannabis industry, Privateer Holdings has established itself as a company of firsts:

  • Privateer Holdings was the first private equity firm to make an investment in the cannabis industry when it acquired Leafly in 2011.
  • Privateer Holdings was the first private equity firm in the cannabis space to close a multi-million dollar funding round ($7 million Series A round in July 2013).
  • Patrick Moen became the first agent to leave the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration for a position in the cannabis industry when he joined Privateer Holdings in November 2013.
  • Privateer Holdings is the only American company to operate a federally licensed commercial cannabis cultivation operation at its Tilray facility in Nanaimo, British Columbia.
  • On August 3, 2014, Leafly became the first cannabis company to place a full-page print advertisement in The New York Times.
  • Privateer Holdings, in partnership with the family of Bob Marley, launched the world’s first global cannabis brand Marley Natural on November 18, 2014.
  • In a major milestone for the entire legal cannabis industry, Privateer Holdings secured the first institutional investment in the legal cannabis industry from Founders Fund in December 2014.
  • With today’s announcement, Privateer Holdings is the first and only cannabis company to raise more than $80 million in private capital.