In both Washington and Colorado, you’ll soon be able to walk into a store, purchase some pot and light one up at home — all legally. Entrepreneurs and investors are certainly taking notice. They see a market full of opportunity, whether it’s building a “Yelp for marijuana strains,” or building out a national premium pot company. This morning in Seattle, 13 companies are pitching to more than 60 investors from the ArcView Investor Network, a firm that connects startuppers with those interested in putting their capital behind a legal marijuana-related business ideas.
ArcView has asked media to keep the location of the gathering in Seattle undisclosed until later today, citing security reasons.
The company held a similar meeting in Denver, Colo., this past September, where ArcView investor members handed out more than $1.7 million dollars to at least three companies that pitched, including MassRoots, a social networking app for cannabis consumers, Medicine Man, a leading cannabis retailer in Colorado and Canna Security America, a security company for legal cannabis companies. There are a couple local companies pitching today, including Mellow Mood, a Portland-based chain that sells art glass pipes, and Rainier Wholesale, a Seattle-based company looking to build an efficient and carbon-free marijuana production plant.
Also recently released a market research report noting the optimistic outlook of the legal marijuana industry, one that is set to surpass the smartphone market in terms of growth.
Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize marijuana sales and are expected to be a test-case for the other states contemplating legalization. Regulated stores could open as soon as Jan. 1, 2014 in Colorado. Washington, meanwhile, recently adopted rules governing marijuana sales into law.
One Seattle-based startup not participating today but in this space is Leafly, a crowdsourced review platform for marijuana strains that has raised $7.2 million. With Washington and Colorado legalizing pot one year ago, pulling in cash is one thing that has changed dramatically since Leafly started three years ago. “A lot of people thought we were pretty crazy when we started,” president and co-founder Brendan Kennedy told us in June. “People sat on the fence and waited until November 6th, 2012. When they woke up November 7th, we seemed a lot less crazy. Now, we’ve spent a lot less time doing pitches and have been mostly waiting for investors to find us.”
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