Edit ModuleShow Tags

San Diego Has a Cannabis Business Accelerator

Canopy San Diego is shifting how we think about the marijuana industry


Published:

When it comes to cannabis, local investors and entrepreneurs are seeing green. A new business accelerator called Canopy San Diego is investing time and money in technology startups that offer ancillary services—renewable energy, back-office software, and mobile phone apps—to the billion-dollar cannabis industry.

Recreational marijuana use by adults became legal last November when voters approved Proposition 64—with retail sales reported to begin in early 2018—and medical use has been legal for two decades.

Canopy San Diego managing director Jack Scatizzi says the Sorrento Valley–based accelerator isn’t interested in companies like growers or sellers that directly “touch the plant.” He says the real money is in this new crop of businesses offering tech services to cultivators, dispensaries, and patients.

“Our goal is to help build the technology infrastructure to the scale of market demands and at the rate at which it’s being legalized,” says Scatizzi, who was once head analyst of the San Diego investors network Tech Coast Angels.

Canopy San Diego is nurturing a portfolio of 16 cannabis-adjacent businesses with an infusion of cash, boot-camp-style mentorship, and perks like office space. In exchange for $20,000 in seed capital, Canopy San Diego takes an equity position of between 6 and 9.5 percent in each company. Those who wow investors could receive up to $50,000 more after completing a 16-week business development program.

Once I figured out that patients were being left behind to serve the recreational user, I decided to fully embrace it.

Canopy San Diego’s first cohort included LooseLeaf Tech, which is developing a mobile platform for patients with chronic conditions like epilepsy, cancer, and multiple sclerosis. Patients will use the app to track their cannabis usage to find their best treatment protocol, says CEO Daniel Hopson. Having previously worked in real estate financing as a vice president for Wells Fargo, Hopson couldn’t ignore the metrics: the medical marijuana segment is a high-risk industry with the potential for huge returns for investors and customers alike.

“Once I figured out that patients were being left behind to serve the recreational user, I decided to fully embrace it,” Hopson says. “Medical developments are going to be the foundation of the cannabis industry and will give it credibility.”

Direct Cannabis Network CEO Adelia Carrillo is another graduate of Canopy San Diego. She made the jump from consumer electronics and launched her digital news platform for the cannabis industry—she likens it to CNET—after using cannabis as a treatment for postsurgical pain.

“Coming from the corporate world, I think we’re able to have that professionalism that’s missing in this industry. We have a real opportunity if we’re able to stay ancillary and tech-focused,” she says.

Other Canopy San Diego portfolio companies doing early work in the field include Traffic Roots, which hopes to help cannabis brands amass online impressions through digital display advertising; EventHi, which plans to offer users an online tool for finding and reserving tickets to cannabis-friendly events like conferences and yoga sessions; and Urban Labs, which is building a scalable “lab in a box” for cannabis testing.

Scatizzi says large corporations have so far avoided the cannabis industry because of federal legislation. He predicts that as cannabis becomes more widely accepted for medical and recreational use, early entrants in the field will be ripe for the picking.

Edit ModuleShow Tags

San Diego Health 2017

2017 San Diego Physician Directory

Browse the San Diego County Medical Society Physician Directory

San Diego Health 2017: Doctors, Treatments, and Trends

From a marijuana biz incubator to a world-renowned sex doctor — we're unveiling the innovative treatments changing health care in San Diego

Rock Steady Boxing Turns People with Parkinson's into Fighters

One local instructor explains how uppercuts and jabs have struck a new path to a better quality of life

Rethinking Antibiotics in the Age of Superbugs

These local doctors want to make prescribers more aware of antibiotic resistance

"There Isn't a Man on Earth That I Can't Make Potent"

A local doctor pioneers the nation’s first hospital-based sexual medicine clinic

9 Interesting Facts About Sleep

A good night’s sleep is now widely considered just as critical to your health—if not more so—than a good diet, exercise, and not smoking.

3 Approaches to Wellness at Work

New wellness efforts target occupational hazards—waiters and their backs, doctors and their emotional well-being

Gyrotonic Is Taking Over San Diego

The workout aims to ease back pain and increase balance

Drinking Vinegar Is the Latest Wellness Trend

How going sour can be good for your health

Growing Old Doesn't Have to Be a Downer

UC San Diego professor Dilip V. Jeste explains how the unique issues around aging call for more celebration

San Diego Has a Cannabis Business Accelerator

Canopy San Diego is shifting how we think about the marijuana industry
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

There's an App for Black Thumb Gardeners

SmartPlant takes that guesswork out of plant care by giving an expert-back voice to your foliage

Northrop Grumman's Playground for Engineers

Get to know the technology and innovators making waves in the Rancho Bernardo company's FabLab incubator

This New Coffee Company Is Backed by San Diego Athletes

Rob Machado, Alphonzo Rawls, and other local athletes team up with a North County crew for Marea Coffee
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Ten Pet Friendly Palm Springs Restaurants
    Ten Pet Friendly Palm Springs Restaurants
  2. Best of San Diego Party 2018
  3. A Sneak Peek at ‘The Heart of Rock & Roll’
    The Old Globe’s newest world-premiere musical promises a familiar soundtrack and all the good feels of an ’80s rom-com
  4. What San Diego Women Want
    53 working women share their compelling stories on navigating pay equity, the baby penalty, #MeToo, and more
  5. First Look: Lola 55
    A top restaurant industry strategist brings a chef-driven taco shop to the East Village
  6. Sushi’s Next Gen Is Here at Himitsu
    In La Jolla, a Sushi Ota protégé sticks to an age-old tradition of quality
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions

Vote Now for Your Orangetheory Winner!

Winners will be announced at our Sweat event on May 12

Not Your Grandma's Orthotics

New year, new – shoe? Staying on your feet for long hours at a time just got a whole lot more comfortable with Wiivv’s BASE custom insoles
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

Ten Pet Friendly Palm Springs Restaurants

Ten Pet Friendly Palm Springs Restaurants

AquaVie: 10 Reasons It’s Downtown’s Best Kept Secret

The best workout and spa getaway around? It’s actually right underneath your nose.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags