Caliva, a popular California-based marijuana brand, closed a $75 million funding round on Thursday, Business Insider has learned.
The startup landed investments from 3-time Super Bowl MVP Joe Montana, and Carol Bartz, a former CEO of Yahoo. Bartz will also be taking a seat on Caliva’s board.
Caliva will use the funding to hire new employees and grow the company’s product offerings both online and in their Bay Area store, Caliva CEO Dennis O’Malley told Business Insider in an interview.
“We’re 100% focused on California,” said O’Malley. “We believe California is where absolutely where global brands are born, and we believe that we have a chance to be the most recognized, most recommended brand in cannabis and that’s what we’re seeking to do.”
Plus, the California market is “35 to 40%” of the total US market for marijuana products, O’Malley said. Marijuana is legal for adults in ten states, and legal for medical use in a further 33 states.
O’Malley declined to discuss the company’s valuation.
O’Malley said he’s particularly excited about the health-and-wellness side of marijuana, in terms of where Caliva wants to position themselves for future growth.
“Historically Caliva has been very good at what I call ‘fun-for-you’ products like vape pens and pre-rolls [joints],” said O’Malley.
As new — and mostly older — consumers come into the marijuana market, O’Malley said Caliva is looking to expand into the “relief-for-you” category, which are marijuana products designed to help sleep, ease anxiety, or relieve pain. That trend has led Caliva to develop its first CBD product lines.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound in marijuana that’s thought to have a range of health benefits, though the science is still unclear.
O’Malley might be on to something: the number of CBD consumers has nearly doubled since last year, with Baby Boomers — particularly women — representing the most growth, according to survey data from Eaze, a venture-backed marijuana delivery service.
As well, consumers over the age of 50 tend to spend the most on marijuana products, far more than their millennial counterparts, according to Eaze.
O’Malley said he met Montana, the former Super Bowl champion, through a well-connected angel investor who had previously invested in Caliva.
“Joe was interested in finding a reputable company in the space,” O’Malley said.
When his team first met with Montana, O’Malley said he was “very impressed” with his story around what Montana had seen opioid-based pain medication do to both himself and former teammates.
“He had a lot of conviction to be out in front of this,” said O’Malley.
There is some research showing that cannabis-based products can reduce opioid dependence. 76% of Baby Boomers in Eaze’s survey indicated they had also reduced their consumption of over-the-counter pain medications.
“As an investor and supporter, it is my opinion that Caliva’s strong management team will successfully develop and bring to market quality health and wellness products that can provide relief to many people and can make a serious impact on opioids use or addiction,” Montana said in a statement.
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