OAKLAND, Calif., April 4, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Gateway, the premier accelerator for startups in the cannabis industry, announced today the graduation of their second cohort of startups from the Gateway program. The eight companies are providing solutions in tech ranging from artificial intelligence-controlled aeroponics, on-demand labor fulfillment, and cleanroom-bred cloning, to consumer offerings like epicurean THC-infused cold brew coffee and delicately-dosed gourmet brownies aimed at the influx of new consumers to the market.
Startup founders will pitch to both mainstream Silicon Valley investors as well as cannabis insiders at Gateway's graduation at Morgan Lewis in Palo Alto on April 4th. In a break with standard Demo Day protocol for similar programs, Gateway's "Non-Demo Day" will also include a chance for investors to meet one-on-one with each company to get to know the founders and businesses. Each company spent the last five months receiving support, funding, and guidance from Gateway founders Ben Larson and Carter Laren, along with an expansive network of experienced mentors.
The industry has only begun to scratch the surface of discovering the capabilities of the cannabis plant. With more widespread acceptance of cannabis and the continuous relaxation of legal constraints, the US market is predicted to grow by 700 percent in the next three years. This expanding ecosystem will bring with it technological advances ranging from broadly-applicable agricultural and water conservation technology to personalization of strains and effects tailored to specific individuals and circumstances.
"It's exciting to witness our founders mature as this industry gallops toward innovation. We've had an impressive group of founders addressing the market needs by garnering the attention of investors and winning top honors in startup pitch competitions," said Gateway Co-founder Ben Larson. "People are not only impressed by the pedigree of our founders, but also by the opportunity to see offerings that use the burgeoning cannabis market as a beachhead to bring modernization to other verticals."
The startups presenting at GTWY 02 include:
- Field: Field brings on-demand labor marketplace to the underserved, short-term, seasonal, semi-skilled agricultural work. Field helps cultivators find safe, vetted, competent trimmers on demand, and it helps cultivators coordinate scheduling to optimize productivity.
- GOOD: Chef and food scientist Peter Cervantes and marketing expert Mike Appezzato formed GOOD as a food-first company focused on the growing mainstream cannabis market offering low-dose, high quality infused edibles.
- GrowX: Former SpaceX engineer JP Martin and finance veteran Darwin Hunt developed an AI-powered, true aeroponics system that removes the complexity of aeroponic-based farming, while reducing water consumption by up to 98 percent and increasing yields up to 300 percent.
- Phenobis: To combat the increasingly serious problem of tainted cannabis, Brian Arnot is building the industry's first HEPA-filtered, closed-environment, sterile clone factory that uses a blend of classic hydroponics and tissue culture techniques to produce a variety of California's top strains free from systemic pesticides and other hazards.
- Honeycomb: Founder Tom Fortunato, a sales and business development executive, developed the B2B marketplace that allows dispensaries to search for products by any desired criteria and pre-plan menus by accessing future availability.
- Somatik: Marketing expert Christopher Schroeder makes delicious cannabis-infused coffee products with a focus on high-quality and flexible doses. Through its exclusive agreement with Ritual Coffee, Somatik is the first cannabis edibles company to partner with a mainstream non-cannabis brand.
- Reaper: A long-time cultivator himself, Joshua Mezher developed Reaper's first product, Smart Blades, to reduce stress injuries from trimming, accompanied by decreased efficiency.
- UpToke: Founder and Materials Science Engineer Jason Levin created UpToke's Spyre, an elegantly designed flower vaporizer that allows users to smoke more intuitively and easily through a faster heat-time and integrated grinder.
To contact the startups or for more information, visit the Gateway portfolio here.
With legalization of recreational cannabis in California, today's legal climate allows both ancillary businesses as well as business that "touch the plant" to thrive. As a result, many sophisticated entrepreneurs from other industries are now looking at opportunities in cannabis. By starting now, cannabis founders are setting themselves up to be industry leaders, and to capitalize on an evolving market with increasing momentum towards mainstream acceptance.
Applications for Gateway's third cohort are now open. To apply, click here.
Gateway Works co-working space welcomes local entrepreneurs. Find us here for more information.
Join the conversation at Gateway Open Office Hours on our Facebook page.
For more on Morgan Lewis, go here.
Gateway is the premier accelerator for startups in the cannabis industry. Located in Oakland near Jack London Square, Gateway's mission is to bring the expertise of Silicon Valley technology entrepreneurship to the burgeoning industry of legal cannabis companies. Startups entering Gateway's four-month-long program receive office space, instruction and mentorship from successful Silicon Valley tech founders and cannabis industry experts, connection to a vast network of media, investor, and distribution companies, and $50,000 investment capital. In addition, top-performing graduates are eligible for additional investment from Gateway's fund.
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