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Cannabis PE firm closes Series B on $75m

Privateer Holdings has raised the round from a mix of family offices, high net worth individuals and institutional investors including PayPal's Peter Thiel.

Privateer Holdings, a Seattle-based private equity firm, has closed its Series B round of funding on $75 million; the largest private capital raising effort in the legal cannabis industry to date.

Family offices, high net worth individuals and institutional investors, including Founders Fund, the venture arm of PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, contributed to the round taking Privateer’s overall fundraising efforts to $82 million, according to a press release. Investors committed over $1 million each and some were over $10 million, according to Michael Blue, Privateer co-founder.

“That’s a vote of confidence for the entire industry and an important step forward in finally ending cannabis prohibition,” he wrote in a statement.

Privateer plans to use the new financing to expand its existing brands to new geographies, make strategic acquisitions as well as launch new ventures. Its current disclosed investments include Canadian medical cannabis company Tilray, online cannabis information resource Leafly and Marley Natural, a cannabis lifestyle brand from the Bob Marley family.

Founders Fund bought a minority stake in the company in January. Privateer Holdings started investing in cannabis in 2010. The firm raised $7 million in Series A round in 2013 and a $15 million convertible bridge note in 2014.

“As the cannabis market transitions from a state of prohibition to a state of legalization around the world, we are proud to be building a global portfolio of mainstream, responsible brands that are setting the standard for the industry in terms of quality, professionalism and social purpose,” said Brendan Kennedy, co-founder and chief executive of Privateer, in a statement. He added that cannabis prohibition and the “destructive social injustices it causes”, will end sooner than expected by many.