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Media startup Prøhbtd raises $8M to help bring cannabis to the mainstream

Prøhbtd, a startup that CEO Drake Sutton-Shearer said is designed to “build a bridge” between the cannabis industry and mainstream culture, is announcing that it has raised $8 million in Series A funding.

It’s not the only cannabis-focused digital media company out there; I wrote about the initial funding for Herb last year. But Sutton-Shearer argued that Prøhbtd is creating premium content with a unique voice.

For one thing, he said Prøhbtd’s isn’t focused exclusively on cannabis. Instead, the goal is to create a diverse slate of lifestyle- and culture-related content, with cannabis as the hook.

Take, for example, Edibles, a video series hosted by Birdie Harrelson (niece of Woody Harrelson) — the series includes recipes for creating cannabis-infused baked goods, but as Sutton-Shearer put it, when each episode opens, “She’s not talking about weed, she’s going to bakeries.”

The company says that its video content (which is available on both the Prøhbtd website and on devices like Apple TV and Roku) saw 21 million views in May, with an average view time of 3 minutes and 45 seconds.

Sutton-Shearer said one of his priorities is forging “mainstream partnerships” like Prøhbtd’s deal with Advertising Week. The company also works with more than 60 cannabis brands — not just on branded videos and sponsorships, but more broadly on product development, design and marketing.

Asked whether this creates a potential conflict with the editorial side of the business, Sutton-Shearer pointed out that plenty of other digital media companies (like BuzzFeed and Vice) run their own branded content studios.

“Today’s younger consumer, I don’t think they really care that much whether something’s branded or not,” he said. “They do want to know if it’s entertaining and thoughtful.”

Prøhbtd had previously raised $4 million in seed funding from investors including actor/musician Donald Glover. The new round was led by Serruya Private Equity, The Delavaco Group and Cresco Capital.

“We’ve seen every media opportunity in the cannabis industry but none of them compare to what the team at PRØHBTD has built,” said Serruya Private Equity’s Aaron Serruya in the funding announcement. “We expect great things from the company and we’re excited to support the team’s global vision.”

Speaking of that vision, Sutton-Shearer said Prøhbtd is exploring international opportunities, including in Canada, Australia and Latin America, with plans for a Canadian public offering.

Prøhbtd, a startup that CEO Drake Sutton-Shearer said is designed to “build a bridge” between the cannabis industry and mainstream culture, is announcing that it has raised $8 million in Series A funding. It’s not the only cannabis-focused digital media company out there; I wrote about the initial funding for Herb last year. But Sutton-Shearer argued […]

PROHBTD Archives – Green Market Report

The First Ever Hemp & Cannabis Marketplace to Showcase at Licensing Expo Announces Exhibitor Lineup

Brands including Kiva Confections, PRØHBTD, Foria Wellness, Futurola USA and more will appear at the dedicated marketplace

New York – May 28, 2019 /AxisWire/ The Hemp & Cannabis Marketplace will make its debut at next month’s 2019 Licensing Expo and today curators announced the 12 consumer brands set to take cannabis further mainstream through licensing partnerships.

The exclusive marketplace will showcase the leading health and wellness brands spanning various categories of the hemp, CBD and cannabis space, including:

The trailblazing brands were curated by PRØHBTD, a global consumer goods and content company in the cannabis and hemp industry that creates and markets lifestyle and wellness brands.

“We are in the branded products phase of the hemp and CBD industry,” says Drake Sutton-Shearer, CEO of PRØHBTD. “Working alongside Licensing Expo, we can open up new revenue streams and brand category expansion through licensing. It’s exciting to have all of these brands in one place for mainstream brands, retailers and manufacturers to potentially partner with ”

The world’s largest and most influential licensing industry event, Licensing Expo, takes place June 4–6 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV.

The Hemp & Cannabis Marketplace will be located at Booth A133.

PRØHBTD is ahybrid consumer goods and content company recognized as the exclusive global cannabis partner of Licensing Expo, Advertising Week, All Def Media, Postmedia, and Entrepreneur Magazine.The company is venture-backed with $20M+ in funding and has offices in Los Angeles, New York, Toronto and Vancouver.

With a mission to lead cannabis from the black market to the supermarket, PRØHBTD creates and markets lifestyle and wellness brands to global audiences, overturning the taboos and stereotypes of the status quo cannabis vernacular and continually pushing it toward the mainstream.

For more information visit www.prohbtdglobal.com.

PROHBTD Looks To Consumer Goods World For New Hires

PRØworks brings new leadership that brings “cannabis from the black market to the supermarket”

PRØHBTD , which markets itself as the “premier online destination for modern cannabis enthusiasts” has just announced a new consulting arm PRØworks, that brings a heap of experience from the mainstream CPG and entertainment worlds to the table.

PRØHBTD has been recognized for producing digital and online content and representing over 60 of the cannabis industry’s most recognizable brands like Defonce.

“Our company’s mission is to bring cannabis from the black market to the supermarket,” said PRØHBTD CEO Drake Sutton-Shearer, “This requires enterprise-ready capabilities that business leaders can engage with to help them understand the complex and challenging world of cannabis”

This new arm of their company brings four notable executives to the consulting team of PRØworks, creating a wrap-around consulting strategy for brands they work with.

Craig Binkley, a veteran of Coca-Cola with a strong portfolio of global work will help companies understand the cannabis consumer, product, and market to inform and support their strategic initiatives. He specializes in transformational marketing that will undoubtedly bring an asset to PRØHBTD clients as they navigate how to reach the modern cannabis consumer among strict marketing regulations.

Leading PRØHBTD’s finance team and strategic mergers and acquisitions initiatives are Frank Carrère, former SVP of corporate development at 21 st Century Fox and CFO/COO at Fun Technologies. His experience in scaling businesses has contributed to a 20x exit for its investors through a Canadian public listing and is motivated to bring this to PRØHBTD.

Glenn Frese is working with PRØHBTD to help brands build digital and physical marketing programs to connect cannabis brands to global audiences. He brings experience as a former executive at Sony, Maker Studios, and Disney where he has overseen digital and traditional marketing, social media, and direct to consumer initiatives. Frese will oversee all aspects of consumer and B2B marketing, social media, content marketing, events, strategy and lead generation for PRØHBTD and its PRØworks clients.

Stepping into the role of Executive Producer at PRØHBTD is Gary Bryman, who will produce on-demand videos through the PRØworks division called RØCKET. He brings over 20 years of Hollywood production experience, successfully executing of creative content including content for Disney, Universal, MTV, ABC, NBC, Netflix, and ads for Super Bowl XXXVII.

In June, PRØHBTD announced plans to go public in Canada after raising $12 million through fundraising, following acquiring seed funding totaling $4 million. The company planned to invest their funds into content creation and staffing, which includes this new announcement of hiring these notable executives to represent PRØworks and the PRØHBTD brand.

“We are honored to have these fantastic new folks join us in our journey as we continue to accelerate the mainstreaming of cannabis through audience, content, and products,” says Sutton-Shearer.

Content from PRØHBTD is syndicated across 15 different networks, including Apple TV, Roku, Amazon, Android TV, Dailymotion, allowing cannabis brands to reach 100 million consumers.

Advertising Week New York Welcomes Cannabis

Media company Prohbtd owns the cannabis space in Advertising Week New York. Last year, the company sparked the entrance of the cannabis industry into the world of New York advertising. A place that has many challenges for cannabis companies. This year, Prohbtd CEO and Founder Drake Sutton-Shearer repeated his appearance and educated the New York audience on the latest goings-on in the cannabis industry.

The first panel tackled the Emergence of the Cannabis Consumer. David Bell, Founding Partner of the Idea Farm Ventures told the audience that cannabis consumers would want what other consumers want right now and that is authenticity. Bell mentioned brands like Dollar Shave Club and how everyone could name that company’s CEO, but they couldn’t name Gillette’s. He said that it was more about bonding than branding.

Bell believes that cannabis companies will need to imbue sincerity and confidence. Bell also thinks that cannabis companies will need to educate consumers since the products are so new. With regards to dispensaries, he thinks they will be great places to engage consumers. “These experiential spaces can explain what cannabis is,” he said. “It will be the reengagement of the physical space.”

Shannon Belisario, Director of Brand Development at Prohbtd said that she thinks hemp will be the next “flax seed”. “It’s a high source of protein,” she said. The panel also discussed hemp fabric’s ability to not retain bacteria and the implications that held for clothing and medical products. Sheldon Croome, President and CEO Atlas Growers, which is a Prohbtd client, is a Canadian cannabis company that noted it can white label a variety of cannabis products depending on what the consumer trends pointed to.

The second panel was “Adapting Cannabis to Mainstream Brands.” Jeffrey Gossain, Vice President of Operations at Atlas Growers noted that it is looking at ways to convert its cannabis waste material and convert it into electricity. While he didn’t go into great detail, this is certainly a great way to adopt cannabis to our everyday lives. In addition to electricity, Atlas said it was also researching the ability to use cannabis to treat raw sewage. Both fascinating ways to think outside the box for cannabis.

Justin Koenigsberger, the Chief Revenue Officer of Entrepreneur Media discussed how it was adapting to the cannabis industry by creating the Green Entrepreneur and Women Cannabis Entrepreneurs. (Full disclosure – I was recently featured in the series .) He even suggested they may go even further with a Women in Weed. (Sorry Justin, it already exists as the Wonder Women in Weed.) While the men all agreed it was wonderful to help women and give them support, there was only one woman represented out of the two panels and she was a Prohbtd employee.

Michael Christopher, the Chief Mood Officer at cannabis beverage company Mood 33 said that he thinks if New York legalizes adult use cannabis it would push the banks to open up more to the cannabis industry. His advice was that cannabis companies should remain hyper-focused and he believes beverages will be the main cannabis product to become mainstream.

Co-Founder of Rock A Fella Records, Kareem Burke said he basically plans to replicate his formula for success for his cannabis interests. “I’ll tie it into content and celebrities and influencers,” he said. The most exciting announcement from Burke was a plan to award scholarships to students at FAMU to study cannabis cultivation. He believes more education among people of color will go a long way to creating more diversity. He noted that many people of color struggle with past convictions, like himself, and it keeps many people from joining the industry. Burke also sees a lot of promise for cannabis in fitness beverages and clothing.

Cannabis Media Properties Becoming The Hot Ticket

Several cannabis media companies have completed deals with valuations rising in the category making the group a hot ticket.

Canopy Growth Invests In Civilized

Civilized Worldwide Inc. announced that it executed a strategic investment and collaboration agreement with Canopy Rivers Corporation which is an affiliated strategic investment partner of Canopy Growth Corporation (TWMJF). According to the statement, Canopy Rivers will invest C$5 million in Civilized via a convertible debenture and the companies will work together on various online, media and event mandates relating to the cannabis industry.

“Civilized lives at the intersection of modern media and cannabis,” said Mark Zekulin, President of Canopy Growth. “They have a premium digital audience throughout North America and have established an events platform where individuals and industry can communicate and work together as we continue to educate stakeholders and evolve the global perception of cannabis.”

Civilized is aggressively implementing its monetization strategy across its three platforms: Civilized.life: a sophisticated news and entertainment website that reaches 2 million unique visitors per month throughout North America. Civilized Studios: a multi-platform video content network curating, publishing and producing broadcast-quality video and original content pertaining to the all things cannabis. Civilized Events: a platform to provide exclusive branded experiences for both the cannabis industry and consumers – from intimate dinner parties with industry executives and opinion leaders, to large-scale events such as the first-ever World Cannabis Congress to take place in Saint John, New Brunswick June 10-12, 2018 (worldcannabiscongress.com).

High Times Acquires Green Rush Daily

Long-time cannabis lifestyle publisher High Times announced the acquisition of Green Rush Daily. Terms of the deal were not released, but it was previously noted that it was an all-stock transaction. High Times said that Green Rush Daily would continue to operate independently, but would be considered part of the High Times stable of brands like the Cannabis Cup.

According to the High Times Preliminary Prospectus, on August 31, 2017, THC entered into an online sales representative agreement with Green Rush Daily Inc. “Under the terms of the agreement Green Rush appointed Trans-High as Green Rush’s exclusive sales representative with respect to (a) all advertisements to be sold or otherwise offered to third-party advertisers on the Green Rush websites, and (b) all advertisements for display to retail and wholesale channels on the websites. All fees received from advertisers on the Green Rush website are to be split 70% to THC and 30% to Green Rush. In a related development, THC entered into a three-year employment agreement with Scott McGovern, the owner of Green Rush, under which Mr. McGovern became Senior Vice President of Publishing of the THC Group. In partial consideration for obtaining the online sales representative agreement, Hightimes Holding issued to Scott McGovern an aggregate of 577,651 shares of Class A Common Stock.”

Javier Hasse reported that the deal was valued at $7 million. Hasse said that McGovern received $500,000 in cash and suggested if the IPO goes through at $11 a share then his shares would be worth $6.4 million.

PROHBTD Values Itself At $25 Million

Video media company PROHBTD launched in 2015 and raised $2 million in 2017. The company announced it was raising $5 million in Series A equity round with a valuation in excess of $25m.

“We’ve raised $2 million in private, outside capital from a group of investors, including actor Donald Glover. We were able to connect with people who all believed in what we are doing and saw this as a valuable opportunity. We’re also working with Ackrell Capital out of San Francisco so right now is a great time in terms of creation and job opportunity. We have 30 full-time employees and numerous contractors.”

Dope Magazine

Dope Magazine based in Seattle has been rumored to have also raised additional money from investors but it hasn’t been announced yet as to the amount or who the investors are. Dope Media is a cultural cannabis magazine that was founded in 2011 by David Tran, Trek Hollnagel, Evan Carter, James Zachodni and Nathan Chrysler. The company is backed by Hypur Ventures and Poseidon Asset Management.

PROHBTD Archives – Green Market Report The First Ever Hemp & Cannabis Marketplace to Showcase at Licensing Expo Announces Exhibitor Lineup Brands including Kiva Confections, PRØHBTD,