Cannabis research startup HempStreet raises pre-Series A funding
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Hempstreet Medicare Pvt. Ltd, which runs a cannabis research-to-retail venture, has raised $1 million (approximately Rs 7.12 crore at current exchange rates) in its pre-Series A funding round.

The funding round was led by US-based pharma-technology company Pharmacon Holdings, with participation from cannabis-focused private investor Romain Barberis.

The New-Delhi based company said in a statement it will use the funds to develop its technology infrastructure and conduct research. The startup says it is focussed on ensuring the responsible dispensing of cannabis-based medication by doctors.

“We are set to release over the next quarters an extensive range of Cannabis-based prescription products to help our ayurvedic doctor network better serve their patients,” HempStreet co-founder Abhishek Mohan said.

Separately, Barberis said the bet on HempStreet was proof of the investor commitment to backing “unique business models” that have the potential to revolutionise the medical cannabis space.

HempStreet says its platform includes the seed-to-sale tracking of cannabis plants using blockchain technology. The company claims to have a network of over 60,000 doctors and 300 clinics, with a reach into a 35 million-strong patient base.

Deals in the Ayurveda segment

HempStreet is one of several startups in the Ayurveda space that has received investor or strategic attention in recent months. There has been an uptick in interest in organic product startups and firms in recent months as the market for products made with natural ingredients grows.

In November last year, for example, APCOS Naturals Pvt. Ltd, which markets ayurvedic beauty brand Just Herbs, raised $1.5 million (around Rs 10.72 crore) in a pre-Series A funding round led by Mumbai-based Roots Ventures.

In June, the RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group acquired a majority stake in a Mumbai-based company that makes ayurvedic products for Rs 32.17 crore ($4.6 million). The diversified conglomerate, which has interests in sectors such as energy, retail, and technology, made the acquisition through unit CESC Ventures Ltd.

That month, startup accelerator Risers Accelerator invested Rs 1 crore (around $144,100) in ayurvedic organic skincare product maker Cosmeto Food Organic Pvt. Ltd, which sells its products under the Cosmetofood brand.

In December 2017, Mumbai-based medical research startup Bombay Hemp Company Pvt. Ltd raised Rs 6.25 crore ($1 million) from a group of investors led by Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, and Rajan Anandan, who was then Google India’s managing director.

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