2/27/20 By DAN ULLOA
Troy Dayton is one of the leading figures in the cannabis industry. He has worked to build the Arcview Group into the biggest investor in the cannabis industry.
For ten years, Dayton has run Arcivew bringing entrepreneurs and investors together. He has been striving since 1995 to make cannabis legal as a college student at American University. Dayton was actually raised in Hillsborough, NJ and often visits family in the Garden State.
While a freshman in college, he borrowed rolling papers and was invited to a meeting about cannabis reform. Thus, he became the first volunteer of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). Later, he was involved in starting Students for a Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP).
“It was a whole lot more rebellious than it is today,” Dayton said recalling his early activism. “I felt like a credible rebel.”
To put in context how radical cannabis legalization was in 1995, between 1996 and 1978, cannabis advocates consistently lost ground during the War on Drugs. It was a year before California passed medical marijuana (or clinical cannabis) on the ballot. And there certainly was nothing resembling a legitimate cannabis industry. Support in the mid-’90s for legalization was around 35 percent while today it is closer to 65 percent.
Dayton worked consistently for MPP and by 2009 was their chief fundraiser. He was securing donations from wealthy individuals interested in reform. By that point though, he realized only so much could be done through pure activism.
“In the United States, you got to find out how to make it profitable. Once you spark the engine of capitalism, you could use it for change,” Dayton said. He explained that the people who were donating were often doing so as an act of civil disobedience but were also interested in investing in the burgeoning medical marijuana industry. Others had interesting business ideas.
“So Arcview was birthed out of bringing these groups together in a way that was responsible and profitable, which would also help move the needle politically,” Dayton said.
Funding the Cannabis Industry
The company has since funded many start-ups and smaller companies that have gone on to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Arcview has invested in a wide range of companies in cannabis and hemp.
A few of the most successful cannabis companies they have invested in early on were MJ Freeway and Akerna. Another company called Tokyo Smoke was bought by Canopy Growth for $133 million. It was initially worth $4 million. And Ebu which raised from Arcview was also sold to Canopy Growth for $400 million. To date, over 215 companies have raised money through Arcview.
There are probably a couple of Arcview regretted not investing, but Dayton could not remember one by name off the top of his head.
For companies interested in funding, Dayton explained they can apply via the Arcview website so the company can see if they’re a good fit. He said they’re looking for companies with strong teams with a product that has the potential to serve a large market. They are especially interested in those that have achieved consistent sales of a good product.
If interested, an Arcview representative reaches out to the company and they present via video to a selection committee. If they pass, their company is featured on Arcview’s platform along with 50 to 100 other companies their investors can view. Some are allowed to present at select company events. They are then paired with mentors and advisors who introduce them to investors.
The minimum investment in a company is between $50,000 and $100,000. To invest in Arcview, you must be an accredited investor who has a liquid net worth of $1 million or made $200,000 in a row for the last two years.
Bright Future Ahead For Cannabis and Arcview
In the future, Dayton sees cannabis becoming merely another consumer package good. He believes it will be like the wine industry where you do have a few big companies but many other mom and pop brands.
For those interested in getting into the cannabis industry, Dayton said people should figure out what they already know and apply it to the cannabis sector. Dayton said there are tremendous opportunities for companies to develop software and logistics to assist the industry. Arcview has likely funded many such companies.
“There’s always room for a better mousetrap,” Dayton said. “There’s always an opportunity to unseat any of the incumbents.”
In addition, there remains a lot of room for innovation in the sector.
“We’re going to find new ways to utilize molecules of this new plant,” Dayton said.
With that being said, Dayton believes that the social justice aspect of cannabis is important as well, saying that “There’s still people getting arrested for that. We’re not just an industry, we’re a movement. Every day we get up we need to keep those people front and enter.”
The future of Arcview is certainly bright as well.