Highlights from the 5th Annual Cannabis Private Investment Summit New York City (September 17, 2019)
Highlights from the 5th Annual Cannabis Private Investment Summit NYC
September 23, 2019 | Erin Roche, CEO, Candy & Flowers
On Tuesday, September 17, over 180 investors and entrepreneurs came together in New York City for the 5th annual Cannabis Private Investment Summit. The room at Duane Morris, LLP in Times Square overflowed with investors, industry experts, entrepreneurs and government officials. Everyone in attendance was engaged in discussions around the future of cannabis in the U.S. and specifically in New York, as well as the current vaping issues and other recent industry news. Noa Kahner, founder of Kahner Global and JJ McKay, founder of The Fresh Toast, kicked off the program with an overview of the panels and content that would be featured throughout the day.
The first panel, “An Overview of the Legal Marijuana Industry in the U.S.,” included David N. Feldman, Partner, Duane Morris LLP, Michael Weiner, Partner, Dorsey & Whitney, Senator Liz Krueger of New York, and Ira Weinstein, Managing Principal, CohnReznick. The panel was moderated by Matt Karnes, founder of GreenWave Advisors. Panelists overall were excited about the expansion of medical marijuana programs and products and were adamant that the industry needs to commit to an agenda that includes social and restorative justice. Senator Liz Krueger of New York touched on the current vaping issues and the lack of research and said that this issue is not going away. “[In terms of regulation,] if it’s dangerous, we don’t want to do it. If it’s dangerous you will be regulated out of business.”
Anthony Gordon, Gordon Family Office, kicked off the second panel by asking Andi Goldman, Equitas Partners Fund, Rob Sechrist, President, Pelorus Equity Group and Scott Gordon from Silver Spike Capital about cannabis investing vs. mainstream investing. Panelists shared their approaches to investing in the space and highlighted the importance of due diligence and understanding the regulatory environment in which each company operates before making an investment.
The “Medical Marijuana & CBD” panel was moderated by Tiki Barber, Chief Business Development Officer and Co-Founder of Grove Group Management, and former NFL Player. Panelists Kai Nygard, Nygard Family Office and Doug Sommerville, CEO of PlantExt Ltd. discussed why and how they entered the space and gave an overview of what to look for when investing in CBD. Both panelists talked about the importance of research and clinical trials as the medical and CBD markets mature.
After the networking lunch and before the keynote, we heard from Jerry Bragger, Chairman, Grove Group Management, about a new approach to marketing and distribution channel development. Grove Group’s mission is to add value to their investments by identifying synergies, increasing distribution channels, and creating scale.
This year’s keynote speaker was Anthony Scaramucci, Managing Partner, Skybridge and Chairman of SALT. While the Mooch was supposed to discuss the institutional view on cannabis investing, most of his time was spent discussing the likelihood of legalization at the Federal level under the current administration and the role, if any, that cannabis will play in the upcoming election. Scaramucci said, “I won’t say a negative thing about the current administration unless I’m asked a direct question” and opened it up to questions. When asked if Trump will put descheduling cannabis and expungement on his agenda, the Mooch said that the industry would need a “major influencer currently in his orbit to get right in front of him with a recommendation, otherwise he will stay indifferent to it.”
The next panel focused on the “Benefits of a Cannabis Fund” with moderator John J. Pinto, CFA, Hinsdale LLC. Panelists included Matt Hawkins, Managing Partner, Cresco Capital Partners, Lindy Snider, Founder, Lindiskin, Paul R. Penney, CPA, Managing Director & Chief Investment Officer, RiverForce Partners and Christian Hageseth, Chairman & CEO, OCG. The panel talked about special considerations for investing in cannabis and why a fund works well in this particular industry.
Matt Bogumill, Private Investor, had the honor of moderating a panel on “Investing in Cannabis Technology” with Ryan Ansin, Ansin Investments, Hugo M. Alves, President, Auxly Cannabis Group Inc. and Bruce Linton, Co-Chairman, Martello Technologies and Co-Founder, Ruckify. Bogumill asked the panelists, if the state of cannabis technology and ancillary businesses were a baseball game, what inning are we in? Ansin said we are “restarting the game after a rainout,” and noted that the big players are coming in and dominating but everyone in the space needs to focus on 1-2 core competencies. Alves said, “I’m not sure about the inning, but it’s still early days and lots of room for innovation.” Linton responded with, “I’m not sure where the baseball diamond is, but we are in the first period.”
After a short refreshment break, Jeanne M. Sullivan, General Partner, The Arcview Venture Fund, moderated a panel on the future of cannabis branding with panelists Michael Apstein, Founding Partner, Primary Growth Partners, Lily Colley, Founder, LC Management Consulting, Alex Fang, CEO, Sublime Canna and Tripp Keber, CEO, EXMceuticals. The panelists agreed that the industry needs to get more sophisticated around the 50+ demographic and marketing to women. When asked about the future, the discussion turned to how important intellectual property, unique and differentiated products will become as the industry scales.
The final panel was the Family Office Roundtable that covered cannabis investment predictions and insights for 2020 and 2021. The panel was moderated by Matthew Bender, Thomas H. Lee Capital and included panelists Douglas J. Hannah, Partner, Silverleaf Venture Partners, Alice Globus, Globus Family Office and Kevin McGovern, CEO, McGovern Capital. The panel shared insights and predictions including the migration from vertical integration to specialization and growing international opportunities for brands.
One of the highlights of the Kahner Global events is the live investor pitch session. For the New York event, we had Ryan Ansin, Ansin Investments, Jonathan R. Zamir, Amber Equities and Michal J. Willner, Esq., President and CEO of Willner Capital Inc. judge the contest. The audience and judges heard pitches from CBD Export , DNA Med, PlantExt, EXMceuticals, Magical and Phylos.
Congratulations Doug Summerville from PlantEXT, an Israel company focused on the treatment of inflammation related medical conditions, for winning the pitch contest! And thank you to all of the sponsors, speakers and attendees for helping us make this year’s event in NYC such a success!
The Cannabis Private Investment Summit showcases the best and brightest cannabis entrepreneurs in the industry and is the premiere summit for institutional investors, family offices, and ultra-high net worth investors. Sign up now for our upcoming summit in November in San Francisco.