Luxury cannabis brand Canndescent has its sights set on Canada and Asia as it gears up for major growth, fueled by what CEO Adrian Sedlin called the "international flavor" of the company's new investors.
Canadian private investment firm Green Acre Capital led Canndescent's $27.5 million Series C round with participation from Carnegie Arch Capital, Senterra, Altitude Investment Management, JW Asset Management, and one intentionally anonymous investor from across the pond.
"We were extremely fortunate to [get] one of the major multinational Asian breweries as an investor. They don't want their names released to the markets, yet," Sedlin told Cheddar "We had a strategic partner from Mexico, as well we've gotten significant interest from the Brazilian market, so having an international flavor from the investment community ... they're investing in the parent company, Canndescent, but then ultimately looking to [joint venture] with us in those parts of the world when they open up to legal cannabis or medical cannabis."
A bit closer to home and nearer in the future, however, Canndescent is preparing its assault on Canada ー and just in time for cannabis 2.0, when Canada allows the sale of new form factors like vapes and beverages. A recent deal with Fume Labs ensures that Canndescent has some skin in the game when these new products hit Canadian shelves come December.
"They'll be distributing our high-end stylus series, both our ready-to-use vape pen, our cartridges, and our stylus battery," Sedlin explained.
Plus the company's relationship with Green Acre, which has already monetized several of its portfolio companies, including Tokyo Smoke, opens many doors for Canndescent in Canada.
"Green Acre was a fantastic lead for us ー I believe they've monetized three of their 20 portfolio companies already. But with a seasoned venture capitalist out of Canada, which is a federally legal market, it's really given us exposure to the Canadian market and around the world. Our focus has historically been in the United States, so it's nice to have a group that's thinking a little more globally and can bring us up into Canada."
Canndescent's renewed focus on vaping, however, coincides with a mysterious, vaping-related illness that has sickened 450 and killed six across the U.S. Sedlin empathized with the victims, saying he is "saddened by the events."
"Any time people are dying it is cause for concern for us all," he said. "But it just points to the need for the U.S. federal government to start regulating cannabis properly."
As scientists and healthcare professionals struggle to identify the cause of the sickness, some health officials have cautioned against vaping altogether. But Sedlin urged consumers to support the legal cannabis industry and "brands like Canndescent" that he says put consumers' health first.