Cannabis-related startups raised $66.3 million in venture capital funding, mostly in the United States
Ratan Tata, the chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, and Google India’s managing director Rajan Anandan are among a group of investors backing the Bombay Hemp Company (Boheco), the first startup in the country to study the medical use of cannabis in partnership with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
Mumbai-based company, which has raised a seed round of Rs 6.25 crore from the marquee investors, along with CSIR will grow cannabis and study its medicinal properties for use in the treatment of epilepsy and breast cancer, as well as for palliative care.
Avnish Pandya, co-founder of Boheco said “We already have our first batch of cannabis plants cultivated in Jammu, within the CSIR framework which started out as the country’s first industrial hemp startup selling products from clothing to nutritional seeds. The seed funding is primarily being used to hire scientists in India as well as globally from countries such as the Netherlands and business development executives, as well as for further research. Company would have greater clarity on product development next year, and expects that based on the regulatory process, the first products to hit the market will be for palliative care.”
Jahan Peston Jamas, cofounder of Boheco said “company reached another milestone this year with the creation of nano carbon, a form of renewable energy from the hemp fibre, making it one of the only Asian startups to be invited to join the Singularity University Accelerator in California.”
In 2016, cannabis-related startups raised $66.3 million in venture capital funding, mostly in the United States. Globally, the cannabis market is expected to hit $31.4 billion by 2021, with the US currently driving 90% of the sales, according to a recent report from cannabis market research firm, the Brightfield Group. In recent years, China has also increased its focus on hemp cultivation, with the China Hemp Research Centre being set up in Beijing.
Founded in January 2013, Boheco first began exploring the market through varied hemp products, beginning with clothing and now has both business and retail consumers. The company works with textile businesses, fabric suppliers and designers who source hemp fabric. It also sells its own clothing products online and in niche boutiques across different parts of India, including Jaipur, Goa and Rishikesh.