Jun 28, 2019

The fight to raise venture capital for "vice" products

Photo: Illustration: Lazaro Gamio/Axios

Raising venture capital for a "vice" product used to be almost impossible, due to specific restrictions in limited partnership agreements. And many of those anti-vice clauses persist, even with the mainstreaming of cannabis.

The big picture: Dockery's big pitch is that the relative lack of competition — and of federal legalization, in the case of cannabis — means that many valuations are artificially depressed. The fund already has invested in a handful of startups, including Recess (CBD-infused drink), Indose (cannabis vaporizer), and Bev (canned rosé wine).

There's an entire fund devoted to the cause:

  • Vice Ventures is led by Catharine Dockery, a former Walmart digital brands executive who before that led private investments for Bonobos founder Andy Dunn.
  • Target sectors include cannabis, alcohol, sextech and gambling.
  • It just raised $25 million for its debut fund, all from individual investors (including Marc Andreessen and Bradley Tusk).
  • Dockery says it was difficult to get family offices to invest, often due to conservative older family members.

Dockery also said few other niche areas of interest:

  • Psychedelics: Vice won't fund clinical trial-stage companies ("I'm not a doctor"), instead waiting until products hit market.
  • Esports: "They're highly addictive."
  • Tobacco: "We'll be investing in harm reduction products."

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Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 p.m. ET: 721,817 — Total deaths: 33,968 — Total recoveries: 151,204.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 11 p.m. ET: 142,328 — Total deaths: 2,489 — Total recoveries: 4,767.
  3. Federal government latest: President Trump says his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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U.S. coronavirus updates: Infections number tops 140,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The novel coronavirus has now infected over 142,000 people in the U.S. — more than any other country in the world, per Johns Hopkins data.

The big picture: COVID-19 had killed over 2,400 people in the U.S. by Sunday night. That's far fewer than in Italy, where over 10,000 people have died — accounting for a third of the global death toll. The number of people who've recovered from the virus in the U.S. exceeded 2,600 Sunday evening.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 3 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates: Cases surge past 720,000

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens and confirmed plus presumptive cases from the CDC

There are now more than 720,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins. The virus has now killed more than 33,000 people — with Italy alone reporting over 10,000 deaths.

The big picture: Governments around the world have stepped up public health and economic measures to stop the spread of the virus and soften the financial impact. In the U.S., now the site of the largest outbreak in the world, President Trump said Sunday that his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30.

Go deeperArrowUpdated 4 hours ago - Health