Today in cannabis: Leaf Forward accepting applications for accelerator, GrowUp hosting hackathon

Several companies and initiatives in the cannabis space have made announcements launching new accelerators and announcing hackathons. Here’s the latest on these movers and shakers.

Leaf Forward accepting applications for cannabis business accelerator

Leaf Forward is now accepting applications for its cannabis business accelerator, which aims to support early-stage cannabis companies.

Leaf Forward’s 12-week accelerator program selects cannabis startups, who work closely with the Leaf Forward team, industry leaders, and subject matter experts to develop their products, grow their businesses, and prepare to raise their next funding round.

Successful applicants also receive a $35,000 cash investment and $15,000 worth of programming and services. The investments will be made through the Leaf Forward Accelerator Fund, which received a $500,000 lead investment from Green Acre Capital.

Leaf Forward said the program’s first cohort will fund between four and six companies.

“Leaf Forward has supported 50 entrepreneurs over the past year, our 12-week program equips cannabis startups with the tools, connections, and knowledge they need to succeed,” said Alex Blumenstein, CEO of Leaf Forward. “With LeafForward’s inaugural Accelerator Fund we can now provide early-stage companies with capital, in addition to our leading programming and outstanding mentor network.”

Matt Shalhoub, managing director of Green Acre Capital; Aaron Salz, CEO of Stoic Advisory; John Prentice, CEO of Ample Organics; and Neha Khera, a partner at 500 Startups, will form the Investment Committee of the Leaf Forward Accelerator Fund and advise Leaf Forward’s management on investment decisions and accelerator program.

“We believe Leaf is perfectly positioned to help early-stage cannabis entrepreneurs perfect their strategy and business models, and access hard to find seed capital, in the city that has become the global cannabis hub,” said Shalhoub. “We hope that the combined networks, and industry expertise of Leaf and Green Acre will be instrumental in shaping the next generation of cannabis startup opportunities.”

Leaf Forward is accepting early applications until September 4 and final applications until September 12. The program is set to begin in Toronto on October 15.

GrowUp Cannabis Hackathon invites hackers to build solutions for the cannabis industry

On September 6 and September 7, coders, designers, and engineers will have the opportunity to participate in the first GrowUp Cannabis Hackathon in Toronto and Niagara Falls.

The GrowUp Cannabis Hackathon will invite participants to explore ideas related to tracking, purchasing, reporting, strain identification, and verification. After a 24-hour hacking session, the winning teams will take a cannabis tour bus to Niagara Falls to present their ideas and the awards ceremony.

Participants will present to a panel of judges, which includes Jay Rosenzweig, managing director of Rosenzweig & Co; Alex Blumenstein, co-founder of Leaf Forward; Rachel Colic, vice-president of brand and strategy and PR at Pure Global Cannabis; and Corey Herscu, founder and CEO of RNMKR PR.

Organizers said the hackathon will create several opportunities for hackers and companies. For example, companies may offer challenges to the hackers to build something with a particular outcome, such as plugging in health issues into an app or getting recommendations on what strain of cannabis suits those needs.

Companies may also partners with other sponsors to have hackers build a new project, and they may recruit talent.

The GrowUp Cannabis Hackathon’s sponsors include Trellis, Leaf Forward, LyricFind and LyricMerch, Cannabis & Tech Today, Hacker Noon, and others.

Photo via Leaf Forward


Amira Zubairi

Amira Zubairi is a staff writer and content creator at BetaKit with a strong interest in Canadian startup, business, and legal tech news. In her free time, Amira indulges in baking desserts, working out, and watching legal shows.

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