It looks like investors have gotten a serious case of the munchies.
During the past two fiscal years, investors spent $104.5 million to gobble up stakes in cannabis and cannabis-related companies, according to research firm CB Insights. In 2014, funding in the industry grew a whopping 941.5 percent.
The biggest news in the space hit last week, when Peter Thiel's Founders Fund took part in the $75 million Series B round of Privateer Holdings, a private equity company that owns two marijuana companies and a website. With the deal, Founders Fund became the first brand-name venture capital firm to get involved in the pot industry.
Surprisingly, relatively few of the 60 deals recorded by CB Insights were for companies in marijuana hubs such as Colorado and California. Instead, a majority of the deals involved companies in Canada and the Midwestern states.
CB Insights found that the $75 million Privateer Holdings raised was the largest round, followed by the $20 million raised by PharmaCann, a Chicago-based group of medical marijuana cultivation centers. Leafline Labs, a Minnesota-based medical marijuana company, was third, with $12.4 million.
Steve DeAngelo, the co-founder of marijuana angel network The ArcView Group, says his organization has brokered a total of $17 million in deals with 34 companies since it launched in 2010. All those deals go to show how robust the cannabis industry is, he tells Inc.
"In the beginning of this industry, our biggest challenges were legal, but we solved many of those challenges. After we figured out the legal landscape, many of our challenges were financial to help scale up and professionalize the businesses," says DeAngelo, who is also the co-founder of Oakland, California–based Harborside Health Center, one of the largest medical marijuana dispensaries in the U.S. "Today, investment is not really a problem. If you have a good team and a good idea, you're in a good position. There is a phenomenal amount of investment interest."