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Ratan Tata, others invest in cannabis research startup BOHECO

Mumbai-based medical research startup, Bombay Hemp Company Pvt. Ltd. (BOHECO) which studies the medical uses of cannabis, has raised Rs 6.25 crore ($1 million) from a group of investors led by Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons and Rajan Anandan, Google India’s managing director, Sanvar Oberoi, the company’s co-founder, told VCCircle.

Other investors who participated in the round include MA Tejani of Gits Food, Srinivaas Sirigeri of Shakti Group, Nikhil Velpanur, an angel investor, and Yash Kela of Singularity Ventures, Yash Kotak, co-founder and director of BOHECO, said.

The four-year-old company will use the funds for R&D, product development, and market creation. After receiving regulatory approval, the company will focus on developing its business-to-consumer hemp-based apparel brand B Label, business-to-business hemp-based textiles (fabrics, fibres and yarns), and hemp seed products, Oberoi said.

“The funds would aid in the education of hemp and cannabis. People have been seeing it in a wrong light all this while and we aim to maximise the education around the crop using our products as the main tool,” Kotak explained.

The company has partnered with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to study the medical uses of cannabis in the treatment of breast cancer and epilepsy.

The company was founded in 2013 by former Deloitte executive Oberoi, former GroupM executive Kotak, economics and law graduate Delzaad Deolaliwala, former Deloitte executive Avnish Pandya, former Directi executive Chirag Tekchandaney, Jahan Jamas, and Sumit Shah.

BOHECO’s design fuses hemp’s potential with agriculture, technology and medicine. The company assists local farmers in cultivating the crop by providing optimum seeds, best practices in cultivation techniques, and innovating agro-products.

The company’s vision is to be the pioneer in developing a sustainable business model by constantly innovating and offering quality products and services to create large-scale economic, environmental and social impact, explained Kotak.

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