Raising money in the cannabis industry is hard. Peter Barsoom, the CEO of 1906 — a Colorado-based cannabis-edibles brand — can attest to that.
His company closed an $18 million funding round on Tuesday, bringing the infused-chocolate maker’s valuation to between $40 million and $50 million, the company said. The round was led by Navy Capital, a cannabis-focused fund in New York City, and included a variety of high-net-worth people and repeat investors.
Barsoom shared the pitch deck that he used to raise this round exclusively with Business Insider. You can scroll down to see the full deck, which reveals the company’s plans to boost revenue from about $3.5 million this year to at least $15.3 million in 2020.
Barsoom, who came to cannabis after working in senior roles across Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, and Blue Mountain Capital, said it took seven months to close the funding round.
“We did see headwinds like anybody in the cannabis space,” Barsoom told Business Insider over the phone. “The fallout from the IPO bubble happened fast and furious.”
Once plentiful, at least at the early stages, growth capital has slowly dried up for cannabis companies as public companies in the sector have seen their share prices crater. That has made venture investors wary of startups in the space, Barsoom said.
“I think that many companies went out to the public markets thinking that capital was infinite and time horizons were infinite,” Barsoom said. “So I think what we’re seeing today is likely to be the Pets.com and the Webvans of the cannabis space.”
For that reason, Barsoom said he was focused on keeping 1906 private — for now.
“The right set of capital that needs to fund this industry is growth capital, and not necessarily public-market capital. So there was a mismatch that led to a bubble and sharp decline,” Barsoom said.
But for long-term investors, Barsoom said the thesis held that cannabis “is one of the most exciting and fastest-growing segments of the economy that anybody has witnessed in our history.”
And despite the headwinds facing the industry, Barsoom is bullish on 1906’s growth prospects. According to the deck he shared with Business Insider, Barsoom plans to more than quadruple 1906’s revenue next year by expanding into new states with legal cannabis markets and adding new products such as beverages and gummies.
1906 is using the fresh funding to expand to the East Coast
This latest funding round builds on 1906’s prerevenue raise in 2016, when the company raised $2.7 million.
With the fresh capital, Barsoom is looking to expand 1906’s low-dose THC and CBD infused chocolates to new state markets, including Michigan, Illinois, and Massachusetts — states where he says the company can generate the highest return on invested capital.
“California is a crowded market,” Barsoom said. “I’m from the East Coast. We think our brand has a strong resonance with East Coast consumers and has an East Coast sensibility.”
To that end, 1906 released a line of “Drops,” or pressed tablets that contain low doses of THC and CBD, as an alternative to the company’s infused chocolates.
The company isn’t the only brand to release a line of infused tablets. The cannabis startup Dosist — which is known for its vapes — released tablets in October as well.
And despite the expansion plans, Barsoom believes in running a “lean team.”
“We’ve seen — literally in the last week or two — hundreds of layoffs in the industry, where companies have unfortunately overextended themselves with hiring and that has resulted in a pretty significant pullback,” Barsoom said. “We’re focused on disciplined growth, adding people where critical and staying lean, and kind of, finally, not overextending ourselves.”
This story was published on October 30 and has been updated.