How women investors could change the tech and cannabis industries forever.
n cannabis, women make up a third of the industry, and while it has historically been an inequitable space for women of color, diversity and inclusion are becoming a dynamic part of the industry.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 33 US states have legalized cannabis for medical use, and 14 states (plus Washington, DC) have legalized cannabis for recreational use for people over 21 years old. It’s a fact that women make up half of the population—for every 102 males, there are 100 females— which means our buying power should be as persuasive as our male counterparts. So why are we not using our influence as women to move the needle on purchasing power in industries like tech and cannabis by becoming investors?
The Angel Capital Association reports that only 22 percent of angel investors in the US are women. In Europe, those percentages are even lower, with women amounting to just 14 percent in the UK and 5 percent in France. In places like Tel Aviv, the number of female investors can be counted on one hand. To further drive the point home, according to a 2019 survey by the American National Venture Capital Association, women account for just 11 to 20 percent of investment partners in American venture capital firms.
As we continue to veer toward online activity, keeping our minds active is fundamental to our day to-day productivity and overall sense of self. Part of that is not just focusing on the latest fitness apps, getting creative in the kitchen, or venturing down that entrepreneurial path; our sense of well-being relies significantly on a sense of financial health, too.
Merrill Lynch conducted a study asking women why they invest. The first and most popular response was to “fund my retirement,” and a close second was “to become more financially independent.” Creating financial stability is key to alleviating stress (and it’s safe to say we all have buckets of stress these days). By laying the foundation for an independent and secure financial future, it allows women to thrive, which is good for two prominent (and continually growing) industries: cannabis and technology. But how can women stay informed and find trustworthy resources to guide them when making their initial investments?
One female-run company has realized the need for women to gain control of their own financial wealth, including investments: The Arcview Group. CEO Kim Kovacs says, “We believe everyone should have the opportunity to build wealth.” The Arcview Group is a vertically integrated investment and research firm that has been servicing the cannabis industry for the past 10 years. Forbes labeled the group the “top marijuana investment and research firm.”
This year, Arcview relaunched its Women’s Investment Network (WIN) as a dedicated Membership Tier with a redefined focus on supporting women investors in the cannabis industry. The mission is to empower women with facts, conversations, camaraderie, and deal flow so they can become successful investors in the cannabis industry.
Arcview WIN’s message is clear: “The Arcview Group is taking a stance for women in cannabis. We are championing the movement to bring more women investors, companies, and products to the forefront of the industry. We are redefining the word ‘investor’ from its traditional meaning to include all those that are invested in the success of women in the cannabis industry. We have a strong voice and are thought leaders in our communities. The Women’s Investor Network is our platform.”
According to S&P, “only 26 percent of American women invest in the financial markets, despite 41 percent saying now would be a good time to invest.” Investing was created by men, for men, meaning the “gender-neutral” tools in place have been failing women for decades. However, S&P Global Women’s Investor Report reported that women’s control of the world’s investable wealth may reach $72 trillion by the end of 2020, adding to female infl uence as major investors in global financial markets—and, by extension, national economies.
We talked with Kovacs to get a clear understanding of how the Arcview WIN program is helping grow the number of women investors in the space.
What is your advice to first-time female investors?
Do this with a team versus trying to go it alone. First-hand experience, for example: I invested in a product that worked great on other cannabis plants to conserve water use, but it killed my plant in one day. If I had a few folks who knew more about the grow portion of the industry, it would have saved me $25K. Also, in joining the Collective Fund for example, you can be invested in a dozen or more companies so you can diversify your portfolio right away, investing alongside industry leaders.
“I don’t see it as a leap so much as a great first step….Get to know everyone, get to know the industry, build your own thesis, and then take a leap.” —
Kim Kovacs, CEO of Arcview Group
How can women investing in cannabis impact the bigger picture of women leading the charge in financial fortitude?
Cannabis is a perfect industry for women to reshape with their investment dollars. Women were tag-alongs for tech, life science, pretty much everything else. But for cannabis and fem tech—and a few other frontier industries—we get to decide how they look and act. For example, Arcview is diversity- and inclusion-focused with our collective fund and signing a pledge to protect minority investment to effectuate social change.
What would you say to women who are considering taking the leap and joining WIN?
I don’t see it as a leap so much as a great first step. Women are conservative and risk-averse; rarely do we leap. So I like the toe-in-thepool approach with WIN. Get to know everyone, get to know the industry, build your own thesis, and then take a leap.
Does WIN guide investments?
No. We are here to normalize the investment process and provide access and education. Once you are a WIN member, you will have direct access to companies, other investors, and the Collective Fund, which does guide on investments.
What is the goal for WIN in the next two years?
The goal for WIN is to build a community of one million women and men focused on advancing women in this space, providing capital, opportunities, and supporting products that have purpose for women. This is our platform. As the industry continues to change in cannabis investing, tech and otherwise, women are catching up fi nancially and are increasingly taking advantage of the tools and communities to help them get started. The recent market declines may have created an entry opportunity just like that of the 2008–2009 financial crisis. The financial knowledge shared through WIN builds confidence and the freedom to pursue the financially independent future you want.
Benefits of a WIN Membership
For as little as $497 per year, you receive the following:
• Access to Cannabis Investing: First Base, a four-part educational video series for first-time investors—plus one free online seminar
• Access to Tales from the Top, a series of video interviews with Arcview WIN members in the industry
• Two free virtual tours per year
• Invitation to monthly Arcview Access Elite webinar “After Parties”
• Access to mentor matching program
• Opportunity to be spotlighted on Arcview blog, LinkedIn Lounge, and other social media
• One guest to each Arcview Metro and Signature Events (at guest rate)
• Monthly WIN Webinars
• Consideration as competitor or judge for WIN pitch competition
• Invitation to join the WIN Slack channel
• Use of WIN badge on professional sites and social media
• 25% discounts to Arcview Metro and Signature Events