When Karan Wadhera abandoned a successful career as an investment banker in Asia to plunge into North America’s cannabis industry, former colleagues could have been forgiven for thinking he was smoking weed himself.
But for Mr Wadhera, Indian by birth but who has a US education and entertainment-industry connections in Los Angeles, the move was a no-brainer. “By 2013, it was clear that there was a business opportunity,” he says. “It was a great moment to get proactive.”
Today, Mr Wadhera is managing partner of Casa Verde Capital, a venture capital firm launched in 2015 that invests in technology companies serving the cannabis industry.
With an initial fund of $25m, Casa Verde, which counts rapper Snoop Dogg among its four founding partners, is small compared with the likes of Privateer Holdings or Tuatara Capital, two of the US’s biggest cannabis-focused investment firms.