According to a CB Insights analysis, 2016 was a mixed bag for cannabis-related startups as funding and deal flow fell 9 percent, but the sector was bolstered by deals worth tens of millions of dollars.
The report found that cannabis funding deals totaled $225 million in 2016, down from the $220 million seen in the previous year. Deal flow – the quantity of investment opportunities in a sector – fell from 106 in 2015 to 96 last year, the report says. Deal flows peaked in the fourth quarter of 2016 at 32.
“On a quarterly basis, funding activity picked up in Q4’16, after deals fell for three consecutive quarters,” authors wrote in the report, published Jan. 6. “Funding in Q4’16 totaled $81M over 25 deals, more than tripling Q3’16′s funding total, but still falling short of the heights seen in Q1’15.”
Washington-based Privateer Holdings led the industry’s biggest 2016 deal with a $40 million convertible note round. The second largest pact belonged to Israel’s Syqe Medical, who struck a $20 million deal with Philip Morris International during a corporate minority round of fundraising. California-based MedMen rounded out the top three with their $15 million deal Cap-Meridian Ventures.
Privateer Holdings, who represented nearly half all quarter four cannabis funding, has raised $144 million since 2013 from investors, including Snoop Dogg’s cannabis-focused fund Casa Verde Capital and Founder’s Fund. Syqe Medical offers a metered-dose inhaler for precision dosing of medical cannabis.
Eight U.S. states enacted some form of adult-use or medical cannabis legalization last year.