CanopyBoulder announces new, smaller cohort

BOULDER — CanopyBoulder has announced the six new startups that will join the accelerator in its Spring 2018 cohort.

The CanopyBoulder accelerator is designed to help accelerate business development for startups ancillary to the cannabis industry. More than 200 mentors and key figures in cannabis are part of the program to support the teams. Through the 16-week program, startups will refine their strategy and prepare a pitch to present upon graduation.

This latest class is smaller than those Canopy has had in the past, for a reason, CEO Patrick Rea told Bizwest.

“It’s harder to impress us,” he said, adding that the accelerator has invested in 79 companies and knows by now what it’s looking for. “There are a lot of people out there who appear to have interesting business ideas, but since 2013, when we started, we know where the fatal flaws are in a business in the cannabis industry. We’re really looking for strong founder teams that have picked acute business problems and have a good probability of being successful. It’s getting harder for us to say yes.”

That selectiveness also led to another difference from past cohorts: For the first time, half of the companies have female founders.

Realm72, Catalyst Business Partners LLC and TreatmentX all have founders who are women. Investing in women-run companies has been a priority of Canopy’s from the beginning, Rea said.

“It’s been part of a long-term effort to nurture more female founders,” Rea said. “The data supports there’s a higher success rate in a company with female executives on the team. This is us being smart investors.”

The six companies in the latest cohort are:

Realm72 has an online marketplace for brands and influencers with an online platform that links products with influencers in and out of the cannabis industry.

Andia is developing a decentralized plug-and-play platform using blockchain to provide compliance solutions for financial transactions in cannabis.

Catalyst Business Partners LLC’s online platform providing support to cannabis businesses in the talent management, HR and organizational design sectors.

Best in Grow is providing a crowd-sourced and unbiased source of information for cannabis producers and consumers.

KNXIT is a tech company integrating cannabis software with conventional software.

TreatmentX has an exclusive network of cannabis brands looking to further research promoting the efficacy of cannabis as medicine.

In addition to launching its ninth cohort, CanopyBoulder also announced it had oversubscribed its $2 million accelerator fund for 2018, which will go to providing seed capital and additional funding for the companies in the Canopy accelerator. Rea said the fund raised about 10 percent more than the $2 million expected.

“All of those dollars go into investment at no extra cost,” he said. “Every extra dollar goes directly into investing.”