‘Inclusive cannabis’ investors apply a racial-equity lens to a high-flying industry

‘Inclusive cannabis’ investors apply a racial-equity lens to a high-flying industry

Cannabis investor Ben Larson, former managing partner at cannabis startup accelerator Gateway, is one of the entrepreneurs incubating a minority-owned business in Oakland. Larson’s new firm, Nanogen Labs, which is working on technology to help cannabis compounds dissolve in water, is providing space to equity entrepreneur Lemar Key. Key is connecting craft growers to consumers with his Nimbus Cannabis Marketplace.

To really get the business off the ground, Larson estimates Key needs at least half a million dollars. “But he has competitors in that space that can raise $5 million to $10 million,” said Larson, “so that makes it really difficult to compete.”