Jane West, the modern lifestyle brand catering to the sophisticated cannabis connoisseur, kicked off 2018 with the announcement of its first equity crowdfunding campaign on investment platform Republic. By utilizing Republic’s platform, anyone can invest in the Jane West brand for as little as $25 with a goal of raising $1.07 million in funding by April 20th, 2018.
What is Republic?
Republic is an open investment platform that wants to democratize investing and level out the fundraising landscape for founders and investors alike. Although Republic works with all entrepreneurs, they are emphasizing on working with diverse team and backgrounds because over time they quickly realized that Traditional VCs notoriously don’t fund as many female founders as males, or as many Black or Latinx founders as white founders. The same applies to geography: the majority of funded startups come from Silicon Valley & New York.
The Lifestyle Brand
In 2016, Jane West announced that she had raised $1 million in funding to develop the Jane West Lifestyle brand. A brand aimed at creating “Luxe accessories for a modern, sophisticated cannabis experience.” On November 2016, the company revealed it’s first product series, a line of high-end glass bongs developed in collaboration with Grav Labs.
Equity Crowdfunding For The Win
I had the honor of chatting with Jane West to talk about the crowdfunding campaign, what this process looks like and more!
Adelia: Congratulations on the launch of the equity crowdfunding campaign, I wish you the best. First things first, why did you decide to go the route of an equity crowdfunding campaign?
Jane West: Thanks so much, Adelia! For us, launching an equity crowdfunding campaign through Republic.co made sense from a tactical standpoint. While we’ve been successful raising money from private capital up to this point, the process is challenging. While investor relationships are incredibly important, investor relations were consuming valuable time and resources from my three-person team at the very moment when we needed to execute on the ambitious business plans we laid out two years ago. Plus, people are always asking me about how they can invest in the company. So the Republic campaign seemed like the perfect way to make it easier for both sides of the funding relationship — investors and start-ups — to find and connect with one another.
Adelia: The company is seeking to raise $1.07mil, what would those funds be allocated towards?
Jane West: The funds will extend our runway and help us build and grow Jane West as quickly as possible in a variety of ways. One key way that these funds will be utilized is to support our very ambitious sales expansion strategy. While we’re already among the most recognized cannabis brands in mainstream culture thanks to the media coverage we’ve received over the past few years, we’re eager to bring our products and accessories to many more cannabis consumers across the United States and internationally. That will include a significant presence in some of our favorite brick-and-mortar boutiques and expanded e-commerce availability.
Adelia: What exciting milestones will you achieve with this round of funding?
Jane West: One significant milestone we aim to achieve through this funding round is the expansion of our core team. We’re eager to find and recruit highly qualified personnel that will help us develop our product lines and bring our brand to new markets. Honestly, this is an emotional milestone, too. The moment that any start-up can bring on exciting new talent with bold, unique ideas is significant for any start-up.
Adelia: What was the procedure like when you went through the due diligence process with crowdfunding platform, Republic and what things were different compared to your previous round when you raised $1mil.?
Jane West: To prepare for our Republic.co campaign, we carefully audited all of our contracts, agreements, and procedures to guarantee all of our statements were as accurate as possible. Because our initial raise occurred at an earlier stage of the company’s development, many of these agreements and procedures didn’t yet exist. For example, we overhauled our financials in order to make sure all of our reporting processes follow Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Moving forward, we plan to maintain GAAP reporting, since the approach ensures we maintain financial transparency and standardizes all of our methods and terminology.
Adelia: What tools and tips would you share with other entrepreneurs who are interested in going the route of equity crowdfunding?
Jane West: First of all, it is vitally important to have a strong team behind you before you embark on any sort of major venture like this. The team of women I am working with is the best in the business, and there’s no way I could do this without them.
Secondly, carefully consider your equity crowdfunding options. Since Jane West is focused on mainstream consumers, it made sense for us to partner with a crowdfunding platform squarely focused on a mainstream audience. After that, going with Republic.co was a no-brainer, since as an offshoot of the established fundraising website AngelList, Republic.co is as reputable as they come.
Adelia: Looking back at 2017, what would you say are your proudest achievements that the Jane West brand achieved?
Jane West: Good question! 2017 was a huge year for us. Not only did we launch The Collection, our first line of proprietary products, but we also rolled out the first Jane West-branded cannabis products, the Day and Night Flower Collection. We’re very excited about the initial success we’ve seen with both of these lines. Start-up life can be incredibly fast-paced, and this question reminded me to not forget about our accomplishments as we look to our future.
Adelia: One question that I originally wanted to ask was about the mini-joints collection since my original thought was that you were branching away from ancillary and going into a flower product line. However, after my research I learned differently, can you please share more about what the branded packaging line looks like and why you will be able to expand that packaging line nationwide efficiently?
Jane West: The Day and Night Flower Collections features a simple, striking white-and-black design, to emphasize the two varietals we’re offering: One to keep you energized throughout your day, and one to help you unwind at night. The idea is to simplify the cannabis shopping experience for mainstream consumers by offering streamlined visual appeal on the shelf, while still ensuring that our whole flower and mini joints are sourced from the most talented and responsible local producers possible. We’re working with a female-owned cultivation in Colorado, and we’d like to build as many partnerships with women as possible as we expand.
By focusing on a branded packaging line while partnering with local operators in each market, we’re in a strong position to expand our consumer base nationwide. Licensing and brands are the most strategically viable routes to building a meaningful national cannabis presence, and our approach addresses a major problem in the cannabis marketplace: A lack of reliable, replicable experiences in strain-based products.
Adelia: The Jane West brand offers proprietary products, glass smoking accessories developed in collaboration with GRAV and licensed cannabis packaging, can you give our readers a hint into any new additions that may be released through the Jane West line in 2018?
Jane West: We have lots of exciting things in the works for 2018! I can’t give them all away, but I can say we have bold new colors in the works for our glass pipeline, the Jane West Collection by GRAV. That includes a pipe in a gorgeous pale green that we’re calling Jade.
Adelia: For our readers who are interested in being a part of your equity crowdfunding campaign, what is the minimum investment and what would be the maximum investment?
Jane West: The minimum investment is $25, to make the opportunity accessible to as many people as possible. It’s so easy to invest – for smaller investments; it’s as easy as entering a credit card number on the website. The maximum investment through the Republic.co platform is typically $100,000, which secures a 1% ownership stake in our current $10M valuation. Larger investments are typically made via ACH transfer.
Adelia: Again, congratulations on the continuous growth and I wish you all much success with this campaign. Before I let you go, is there anything you would like to share with our readers that they may not be aware of?
Jane West: I can’t stress enough how important it was to me personally as well as to our brand that we democratized the investment process and offered up stakes of our company to people everywhere. Jane West is all about promoting and empowering women and others who have long been denied a seat at the corporate table. I am beyond grateful to Republic.co for allowing us to fund our dreams in a way that goes hand in hand with our mission.
For those who want to invest in the Jane West Brand or learn more about the campaign, visit https://republic.co/jane-west.
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