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The ‘Bloomberg of Cannabis’ Raises Seed Funding from New VC Firm

October 22, 2015

A new cannabis-focused venture capital fund has made its first investment into what has been dubbed the ‘Bloomberg of Cannabis’, and a rare big data platform for the cannabis industry.

Phyto Partners, a Boca Raton, Florida-based firm, has made a strategic, seed investment into New Frontier, a Washington DC based business intelligence and big data service for the growing legal cannabis industry.

Frontier combines real time data reporting with in-depth analytics and industry trend insights to help highlight opportunities in the sector for a range of potential customers including cannabis business operators, entrepreneurs, policy makers, investors, and researchers.

This is the latest cannabis-related investment in recent months as the sector continues to gather pace. Last week, another new investment firm for the industry, Greenfield Capital Partners, made its first investment into a “seed-to-sale” tracking software that uses a barcode system; a mandatory requirement by state governments. Greenfield follows other high-profile investors such as PayPal founder Peter Thiel and US rapper Snoop Dogg, who have both focused more closely on the consumer-facing side of the industry.

Frontier is one of the only businesses offering data intelligence on the industry as it grows. It collects data from a range of sources, including businesses, government agencies, and market surveys. And recently launched a risk management tool and data platform called Equio which contains information such as census, medical, legislative, demographic and real estate data. This can be accessed and shaped nationally down to a zip code via geospatial tools.

Phyto Partners, which is currently raising $15 million from accredited investors to invest more widely into the industry, will use Frontier’s data to help with its own search for investment opportunities.

”Phyto Partners sees the critical need for business intelligence and data analytics as [stakeholders] make decisions impacting the future of this fast growing industry. New Frontier Financials’ data analytics and business intelligence will provide Phyto Partners with valuable information that will greatly assist its investment process,” said Larry Schnurmacher, managing partner at the firm.

Phyto’s first investment was made with seed funding from the firm’s founders and the firm has just opened up to outside investment.

The fund will invest across the cannabis industry from distribution and logistics to edibles, processing, heavy equipment and cannabis-infused products. It’s also currently looking at a safety container for cannabis, Schnurmacher told AgFunderNews.

“I was in the financial services industry for 23 years with major Wall Street firms and about two years ago, I got very interested in the changing environment of the cannabis landscape legally. I saw a huge opportunity so I decided to pursue that,” he said, “I think it’s currently the fastest growing company and an emerging asset class for investors.”

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