GUEST POST- CANVERSE
This week, we’re joined by Oliver Lamb – co-founder of Óskare Capital. Together, we examine the UK’s cannabis startup investment landscape, including available funds, fundraising opportunities, and investor incentives.
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About Oliver Lamb
Oliver Lamb started his career with an AIM listed investment firm focussed on Sub-Saharan Africa, before returning to London to join Morgan Stanley. Since then, Lamb set up a consultancy and accelerator in the Agri-Tech space through which he met, and subsequently joined forces with, the Óskare Capital team. Óskare has recently launched the MEDCAN fund, an SEIS and EIS fund targeting the medical cannabis sector that complements the wider European venture fund that the team is currently raising.
- Oliver started his investment career at an investment firm in Sub-Saharan Africa, and then joined Morgan Stanley in London, before moving on to start a Consultancy and Accelerator for Agri, Bio and Green Tech companies in London.
- It was here that Oliver started to become involved with the medical cannabis world, helping to develop GMP production facilities in Europe.
- At the accelerator, Oliver saw a whole host of new, young, exciting companies that were making use of the research, the IP and the technology that was emerging in the medical cannabis space and capitalizing on it which made him realise how much potential the sector has.
- He later connected with chairman Bruce Linton at a conference, who introduced him to the team at Óskare Capital.
- Oliver later joined the young company as a co-founder and is now managing their UK funds.
- Óskare Capital is a Paris based advisory firm focused on developing and investing in disruptive solutions and emerging technologies within the medical and healthcare sector.
- The company recently launched the MEDCAN fund in partnership with Sapphire Capital, which aims to raise £1 million by March this year.
- There are a number of venture capital firms in the UK that are interested in cannabis investments, such as Octopus Ventures and Leafy Tunnel
- The UK incentivises investments into early-stage companies through the EIS and SEIS schemes, which provide tax relief for investors. This proposition is particularly useful for high net worth family offices and angel investors, opposed to large institutional investors who look to deploy large amounts of capital.
- Traditionally, private equity firms have been hesitant to invest in the medical and pharmaceutical sectors due to ‘vice clauses’ which are restrictions placed by limited partners on where money can be invested. Because of this, many UK investments have been funded by family and friends, or family offices, who generally invest smaller chunks of money.
- Oliver recommends that those looking for investment seek a strategic investor that can offer expertise, their network, and day to day help.
- He also suggests that companies looking to operate within the cannabis market differentiate themselves through their service and product offerings, not branding, which can often bring ‘hype’.
- 40% of Óskare Capital’s deal flow comes from UK companies – many of whom are from the life sciences sector.
- Oliver considers the fact that the USA hasn’t federally legalised a competitive advantage to the UK.
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