Incubators pop up in the tech world regularly. But ‘Gateway Works’ is a unique incubator with a specific focus. Gateway Works is a ‘Cannabis Startup Incubator.’
More Than Rasta Business
Fortune Magazine estimates that legal marijuana sales will expand by 25% this year making the total U.S. sales around $6.7 billion. Last year that number was around $5.6 billion. There’s still a stigma around the sale of legal drugs, but that negative perception is starting to change.
- Medical marijuana is legal in 20 states.
- Recreational and medical marijuana is legal in 5 states.
- More states are on the cusp of legalizing marijuana for both recreational and medicinal purposes.
- Candidates running for state positions are starting to make legalization a main talking point.
- Companies like Marley Natural have already started building lucrative marijuana brands.
- Cigarette companies (like Phillip Morris, Inc.) are packaging and selling ‘M Brand’ cigarettes in certain states.
Startups that want to capitalize on the business side of marijuana have to be poised to go against the big players like Phillip Morris and Marley Natural. They have to think about the many sides of the Marijuana business – not necessarily centered on growing.
Rapper Snoop Dogg’s ‘Merry Jane’ (marijuana delivery) app is a good example (the app helps people find the drug in states where it is legal), and while Snoop Dogg’s associating with marijuana may not seem like a massive stretch, the rapper has a history of solid business investments. Big tobacco has lined up to get a piece of the pot brownie too. Philip Morris’ marijuana cigarettes are sheathed in the company’s tobacco packaging with the ever-recognizable brand logo front and center.
The marijuana business is multi-faceted and still has enough space for new apps and startups. These are the aspects of the business that Gateway Works wants to help future marijuana companies focus on, build, and sell. But even on the incubator side of things, competition is tough.
The Big Dogs
But if it’s all just business as usual, Gateway Works has some competition. In the marijuana realm, the incubator has to compete with Colorado’s ‘Canopy.’ In the straight startup sphere, Gateway is competing with the likes of Y Combinator and other well-established and sought after incubator programs. Gateway’s main draw is its marijuana niche and lineup of industry mentors (and to some extent its Oakland location).
Gateway is located in Oakland, California. Startups that are accepted into the Gateway program move to Oakland during the incubation period and work within the Gateway structure. Gateway Works is currently accepting applications for Cohort 2 beginning in 2016. For more information about this incubator, check out the Gateway Works website.