The rising stars of marijuana's investment scene that people from Wall Street to Silicon Valley should know
Jenny Cheng/ Business Insider
Venture-capital investors from around the world spent $355 million on 100 marijuana-industry deals in 2017, and 2018 is on pace to break last year's record. By the end of February, there were 19 venture-backed deals in the industry worth $176 million alone, and that doesn't factor in the money investors have poured into hedge funds set up to take advantage of the budding industry.
For Business Insider's first-ever list of rising stars in the marijuana-investment space, we asked readers to submit nominations and surveyed our past coverage of the industry. The list celebrates top investors from Wall Street to Silicon Valley and a number of places in between.
Federal prohibition has prevented most American institutional investors and top venture-capital firms from investing in the space. The situation has given rise to a number of marijuana-specific venture firms in the US - funded by high-net-worth individuals and family offices - and provided an opening for Canadian firms. Both these groups are well represented on our list.
We considered any active investors who have made investments in the marijuana industry, whether their contributions come from angel investing, venture capital, or hedge funds.
These are the rising stars of the marijuana-investment scene.
Tahira Rehmatullah began her career as an investment manager at Privateer Holdings before moving to a leadership position at a cannabis-focused venture-capital fund.
Micah Tapman, a former Marine, is a founding partner at accelerator CanopyBoulder, which counts many of the industry's most successful startups among its graduates.
Jeanne Sullivan, a founder of StarVest partners, is championing female entrepreneurs and investors in cannabis.
Karan Wadhera runs a marijuana-focused venture fund in partnership with Snoop Dogg.
Todd Harrison, a Wall Street veteran, is investing in the health and wellness side of the cannabis industry.
Joanne Wilson has invested in a range of consumer-focused cannabis startups.
Sean Stiefel and John Kaden founded Navy Capital, the first hedge fund focused on strategic, long-term investments in public cannabis companies.
Brendan Kennedy cofounded Privateer in 2011 as one of the first private-equity firms dedicated to cannabis.
Tuatara Capital is an industry-leading private-equity firm focused on all aspects of the legal-cannabis industry.
Lori Ferrara left a stable career in TV distribution to back cannabis companies as an angel investor. She became the first female investor at ArcView in 2013.
Morgan and Emily Paxhia are a brother-sister team who started investing in cannabis after they lost their father to cancer and realized medicinal cannabis could have helped him.
Hadley Ford, a former investment banker at Goldman Sachs and a Wall Street veteran, started iAnthus in 2014 after serving as the CEO of ProCure Treatment Centers.
Sherri Haskell bridges the gap between accredited investors and carefully vetted marijuana startups as the founder and CEO of her own angel investment consortium.
Hamish Sutherland's firm invests in and operates cannabis-cultivation facilities for the medicinal and recreational market.
Nic Easley has been a force in marijuana investing for over 15 years, and has worked with more than 100 public and private marijuana companies across the globe.
After 20 years in traditional investment banking, Brett Finkelstein launched one of the leading cannabis-focused venture firms.
Vivien Azer is one of the first senior-level cannabis industry analysts at a major Wall Street investment bank.
Mitch Baruchowitz, a former general counsel for a boutique investment bank, is an expert in the licensing process for states where marijuana is legal.
Vahan Ajamian is an analyst who covers the cannabis industry for Beacon Securities.
Lorne Gertner is considered a "godfather" of the Canadian cannabis industry, and his son, Alan, now runs his own successful cannabis brand.
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