We could possibly be speaking about one of the biggest (if not the biggest) seed funding that has occurred within the cannabis industry. The round ended on Tuesday, with HERB CEO, Matt Gray, announcing that they had successfully raised $4.1 million in seed funding. With this money, Gray plans to expand Herb into New York City and Los Angeles.
The funding program was led by Lerer Hippeu Ventures, but it was a team effort to make the round as successful as it was. Lerer was helped by Liquid 2 Ventures (owned by Joe Montana), Michael Lazerow (who co-founded Buddy Media), Bullpen Capital, Shiva Rajarama, Tobi Lutke (CEO of Shopify), Harley Finkelstein (COO of Shopify) and Adam Zeplain.
What many cannabis enthusiasts now know as HERB was once upon a time called The Stoner’s Cookbook. Its birthplace was Toronto Canada and dragged along as a pretty well known online cannabis culture medium for a while. In 2015 Matt Gray bought the company, revamping it, giving it a new name and creating the online HERB cannabis community. It quickly grew into what Eric Heppeau (managing partner of Lerer Hippeau Ventures) calls “the void in the marketplace [that] HERB filled”.
Joe Montana coined Herb the most professional business releasing informative and creative content for the cannabis industry. It wasn’t hard for him and the rest of Liquid 2 Ventures to quickly see that the investments were well worth it.
What will HERB do with $4.1 million?
According to Matt Gray, the fat paycheck will go towards expanding themselves to build studios in New York and LA – where they plan to keep creating the original video content that has made them so successful. Their original how-to videos are probably what created such an enormous online community, with 2 billion video views per month. According to Tubular Labs, HERB also draws in 5.3 million unique visitors per month. That makes up the biggest online cannabis community.
Gray believes that video views is the most successful growth strategy for online digital publications, and for that most of the funding will go into creating more original content. Many online publications lack the facilities for creating their own original video content, which is what makes HERB unique from other online publications. While most content creators fight with the rights to publish pictures and videos, Gray has been on top of it, pumping all the energy into video creation.
As the cannabis industry grows…
It is one of the best places for investors to get their hands dirty! It might only be the financial aspect that is changing public opinion about cannabis, but it is working in the cannabis industry’s favor. “As we usher in a new and diverse demographic of cannabis consumers, investors are seeing the value in the cannabis industry and importance of having a reliable technology platform to educate and inform consumers,” told Matt Gray to Business Insider.
This is kind of like the merging of worlds, when you think about it – where the stoned ape age and the information age meet. Matt Gray has even set up a platform on HERB through which marijuana and products can be purchased from local businesses and delivered straight to the consumer. He likened HERB to Uber or Airbnb, suggesting that the platform he is creating is something like an intermediary between consumers and local people with products and services to sell.
It’s pretty safe to say that investors aren’t just expecting a lot out of the cannabis industry, but that the world of online cannabis media is expecting a lot more from HERB. They continue to expand as one of the biggest publications delivering cannabis related information to cannabis enthusiasts around the world. $4.1 million can go a really long way when it comes to building, creating content and expanding the business that Gray has created.
Earlier in August, HERB released a video series called Smoking Sessions, another original creation by the video producers at the publication. With more studios around the US, HERB will create for themselves an even bigger opportunity for expansion of the company and for investors alike.