Marijuana Business Magazine January 2019

Marijuana Business Magazine | January 2019 50 Finance BACKSTORY The roots of Treehouse Global Ventures began more than five years ago, when Rogers, Ferrara and Snider first met during the Arcview Investor Forums in Boston and Denver. Each had a unique story that had drawn her to the cannabis industry. Rogers, a three-time cancer survivor, used her publicity and media relations acumen to propel a number of cannabis firms into the national spotlight—a feat that included landing cover stories in Fortune magazine for cannabis companies including Dixie Brands and MedMen. She also served as head of media relations for Harborside, California’s largest cannabis retailer, landing that firm exposure on multiple national platforms in- cluding the Discovery Channel’s reality TV show “Weed Wars.” Before turning to the cannabis industry, Snider served in multiple senior-level roles in marketing and sales for top Philadelphia sports organizations, including the Philadelphia Flyers professional hockey team, the Wells Fargo Center and the South Philadelphia Sports Complex. She first delved into the cannabis space as she began to develop her own skin care line, Lindi Skin, which includes products for cancer patients. She also serves as chair of Ath- letes for Care, a nonprofit founded by professional athletes who advocate cannabis research. Ferrara’s background includes nearly 30 years in top man- agement roles for syndicated programs at Mediatech, over- seeing shows including “Inside Edition,” “Geraldo” and “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Ferrara turned to the cannabis industry as her husband battled Stage 4 tongue cancer in 2012, and she endured her own fight with early stage breast cancer in 2014. Ferrara was the first female investor in The Arcview Group and has launched her own boutique cannabis-focused private equity firm, Alexava Holdings. WHY TOWATCH Together, Rogers, Snider and Ferrara launched Treehouse Global Ventures, a cannabis industry-focused fund targeting women-owned businesses in the space. The women are aiming for a $20 million raise in early 2019, with plans to begin de- ploying that capital into a variety of ventures later this year. “We’re lucky enough to have a waiting list of people in line to invest,” Snider said. Already, the team has begun scouting potential targets that range from tech to investments in growing firms that are estab- lishing a national footprint or major brand play. The team is also considering co-investing with other funds in the space, Snider said. “What I love the most about this industry, which is different than other industries, is that it is so collaborative,” she added. “In the financial sector, there is willingness and energy to invest together, and it accelerates the entire industry.” The women of Treehouse are quick to point out that their fund won’t “discriminate” against male-founded firms. “We’ll take a serious look at companies that are viable and meet our criteria,” Snider said. “But our primary focus will be women—because that hasn’t been other people’s focus, and we think they’re missing a great opportunity.” – Lisa Bernard-Kuhn BEST BUSINESS ADVICE Snider: “It’s critical to know your own weaknesses and bring in the absolute best resources and people to help you in those areas. You may have identified a major opportunity (and) have a solid business idea but lack the skills or experience for execution. As a founder, you aren’t expected to be the expert in every single aspect of your business. But as a leader, it’s your job to know what you don’t know and build a team around you with the skill sets that you and your business require to move ahead.” Rogers: “There are many things that make a business or com- pany soar. A few of my favorites that I learned from my own mentors include: Craft a brain trust of professionals that is a dream team outside of your own skill set and use and reward them. Take the emotion out of decisions. Stay true to the facts and stick to your values. And don’t take no for an answer— keep asking!” Ferrara: “Don’t be underfunded. The road is littered with great ideas from great people who run out of capital. Know how much capital it will take before you become a profitable busi- ness. Put some skin in the game. If you are not willing to invest in your business, how can you expect others to?” Gaynell Rogers, Lori Ferrara and Lindy Snider Founders, Treehouse Global Ventures | California, Illinois and Pennsylvania