Marijuana Business Magazine | April 2019 14 WelCan Capital′s managing partner focuses on the quality of a company′s management team and remains bullish on the ancillary sector Vikas Desai A s investment opportunities in the cannabis industry ramp up, venture capital and private equity firms are preparing to deploy millions of dollars into startups and early stage companies poised to grow. Among them is WelCan Capital, a New York- based venture firm that focuses on seed- stage and Series A investment opportunities across the industry. So far, WelCan has invested $15 million to fund a growing portfolio that includes: • Treez • Front Range Biosciences • Headset • Ag Gas • Sanctuary Medicinals WelCan managing partner Vikas Desai said that, over the next 18 months, he expects to expand the investment portfolio to include up to 15 firms. Marijuana Business Magazine spoke with Desai to get his insight on the changing investment landscape in cannabis and top considerations that investors entering the space should keep in mind. What has been WelCan’s guiding investment strategy? We’re very focused on early stage companies that are past the point of proof of concept. We’re not funding ideas, we’re funding business that already have traction and can grow as we come in and add value by lever- aging our networks and relationships inside and outside of the industry. What’s the makeup of your investor base? It’s a mix of family offices, high-net-worth individuals and folks within our close networks. We’re all private investors who see the opportunity. Money Matters | Lisa Bernard-Kuhn BIG HITS Cannabis REIT Inks $144 Million Raise Innovative Industrial Properties, a cannabis industry-focused real estate investment trust (REIT), closed a $144 million raise—capital it plans to use to purchase properties to lease back to marijuana operators. California’s Flow Kana Closes $125 Million Raise California-based marijuana producer and distributor Flow Kana closed a $125 million funding round led by Gotham Green Partners, a New York-based private equity firm that has previously invested in the company. The raise is the largest private funding round for a plant-touching cannabis company in the United States. The previous record was the $119 million raise that Acreage Holdings closed in July 2018. Boston’s Ascend Wellness Raises $55 Million Boston-based Ascend Wellness Holdings, a multistate vertically integrated marijuana operator, closed a $55 million funding round—capital the firm will use to expand in its home state of Massachusetts and other markets, including Ohio. Number of Note: $132 Million Pennsylvania’s medical cannabis businesses rang up $132 million in total sales during the program’s first year, according to state officials. That marks a strong start for medical marijuana businesses in the Keystone State compared to others that recently completed their initial year of MMJ sales. By comparison, Maryland’s medical cannabis program totaled just under $100 million in its first year, which was more than the combined first-year MMJ sales of Illinois, Massachusetts and New York.