When it comes to financing, companies sometimes have to get creative when it comes to ways of finding investors. While there are more options for these entrepreneurs to secure capital than ever before, one Ontario-based member of the cannabis industry is turning to crowdfunding to find what it needs.
Wildfire Collective, a self-described collective of farmers growing outdoor small batch, organic craft cannabis that’s headquartered in the Ottawa Valley, recently announced a nation-wide direct-ownership equity crowdfunding campaign where it is hoping to secure $2.5 million in funding.
Don’t expect to find Wildfire listed on Kickstarter though, as the growers have turned to the site Front Funder as a means of raising equity. The operates similar to other mainstream platforms, but instead of a reward or prizes for amounts of money, investors receive an actual stake in the company.
Wildfire completed a round of seed funding in Spring 2019. As a private placement, they were only allowed to raise money from friends, family, business associates, and accredited investors — typically a very small pool of people for most new entrepreneurs.
“Traditionally accredited investors, especially institutional investors, will get involved once a company is licensed in the cannabis space,” Mark Spears, Wildfire’s CEO told Grow during an interview.
“There’s many more options once we’re actually licensed to raise money and we can potentially do some debt financing as well. But at an early stage for a cannabis company, there aren’t a tremendous amount of options unless you’re self-financed or personally a know wealthy individuals.
“We felt this was the best way to get off the ground.”
The company says their minimum goal is to raise $500,000, but ultimately are looking to secure $2.5 million. At time of writing, they have raised $57,000 with 30 days left to go. The money will be used to purchase additional property, complete construction of its phase one facilities, and as general operating capital.
According to a press release, the Wildfire Collective’s initial outdoor production footprint is anticipated to be 392,000 sq. ft. across three farms, and is projecting a total annual output of 4,500 kg of exceptional, small-batch cannabis in 2020. They’re also eager to assist other farms in entering the cannabis space, providing consulting to help with applications, licensing, and design. The company says it is currently developing or collaborating with farms in four locations – Lanark, Renfrew, Lambton, and Glencoe.
If you’re looking to enter the cannabis space with Wildfire, the minimum buy-in is $1,000.
“We really wanted to include people that wouldn’t typically necessarily qualify for such an early stage,” Spears said. “That’s why we set the minimum investment at $1,000, and we got our shares TFSA and RSP eligible.”
Spears says he came to the industry as a medical patient after an injury sustained in a motorcycle accident. After spending time as a grower for Canopy Growth, he struck out on his own, hoping to show that the still relatively uncommon practice of growing cannabis outdoors is the most cost-efficient and environmentally friendly, while still capable of producing a high-quality product.
“Not a lot of farmers really know about the outdoor opportunity yet. So we’re really excited to be at the forefront of that and really focus on small-batch craft, exceptional high terpene products is what our outlook is for the next couple of years.”