Apply to the Leaf Forward Accelerator
Leaf Forward is the global launchpad for cannabis innovation.
Through our business accelerator program and venture fund we invest a little bit of money (up to $75,000) and a whole lot of time and expertise into promising early stage cannabis startups.
Over a 16-week period our team works closely with you to help build your business. Our in-house resources are bolstered by our industry wide network of leaders and subject matter experts.
We’re always looking for our next partner, if you think you have what the next great cannabis startup apply here or book a call with a member of our team to learn more.
What you get
- Funding. We invest up to $52,500 in cash and $22,500 in services into your business in exchange for 10% of equity.
- Network. Leaf Forward has one of the best networks of industry leaders, investors, mentors and subject matter experts in the cannabis space and beyond. Toronto is quickly becoming the global capital for cannabis business and we’re capitalizing on that by bringing you the smartest most connected people around. We help you leverage those relationships to hit your traction goals and raise money.
- Support. Our team and mentors work closely with you to tackle the tough problems your business is facing at this early stage. At the end of the program, we put you in front of selected investors to raise your next round.
- Community. You’ll be working with other people in the cannabis space who are all at a similar stage as you.
How we select startups to fund
Overall we’re looking for startups who meet three criteria
- You’re solving a real existing problem in the cannabis value chain.
- You have a clear path to market, taking into consideration regulation, and ecosystem.
- Your concept is defensible. Patents can be a bonus but are not required.
We prefer startups with founder teams that meet most of the following conditions:
- Your team consists of more than one founder.
- You have subject matter expertise.
- You have cannabis industry expertise and experience.
- You have start-up experience.
When do I apply?
You can apply at any time. We accept companies on a rolling basis. Timing is flexible.
Do I need to be in Toronto for the duration of the program?
No. You will need to make the trip to Toronto occasionally but you are able to work remotely.
How much does the program cost?
We’re making a $75,000 investment in your company and charging you a $22,500 (plus HST) programming fee which covers the cost of the services we are providing. You’ll receive a check for $52,500 (excluding HST).
Why would I go with an accelerator instead of a regular investor?
While we do invest capital in your startup, our real value is in the time, knowledge, and relationships we bring to the table. Our team works closely with yours to grow your business, connect you with the right mentors and industry partners, and provide access to our large, Canada-wide audience of early adopters.
What if I already applied?
There is no limit on how many applications you can submit. We encourage you to apply again to update us with your progress since your first application.
Are your investment terms negotiable?
No. We’re using investment documents that intentionally delay the need for negotiation. You’re a startup and we don’t want to waste your time and resources passing term sheets back and forth between lawyers. That’s why we’re using a SAFE agreement, developed at YCombinator in Silicon Valley.
What are the investment terms?
The Leaf Forward Accelerator Fund will give you $75,000 using the SAFE agreement with a valuation cap set at $750,000. This means the fund will receive a minimum of approximately 10% of equity in your company. Your company will then be required to pay the Leaf Forward Accelerator operating corp. (Leaf Group Inc.) a $22,500 (+ HST) program fee.
What’s the difference between the Leaf Forward Accelerator Fund and the Leaf Forward Accelerator operating corp?
The Leaf Forward Accelerator Fund is an investment fund structured as a limited partnership. This means a wide array of investors have put money into a fund which is managed by the management of Leaf Group Inc. and the investment committee appointed to the fund. Money in the fund is only used to invest in businesses such as yours.
The Leaf Forward Accelerator operating corp. (Leaf Group Inc.) is the organization which delivers the programming and support services to the Fund’s investments. The program fee which is taken out of the Fund’s investment in your company goes to cover operational expenses including office space, salaries, etc.
Neha Khera, Partner, Canada, 500 Startups
Neha leads investments for 500 Startups in Canada, one of the premiere tech accelerators.
John Prentice, Founder & CEO, Ample Organics
Founder of the most widely adopted seed-to-sale solution among Canada’s licensed marijuana producers.
Aaron Salz, CEO, Stoic Advisory
Founder of corporate finance advisory firm, working with companies across the global cannabis industry.
Matt Shalhoub, Managing Director, Green Acre Capital
Co-founder and managing director of one of Canada’s largest private cannabis funds.
Shael Soberano, CFA & Chief Investment Officer, Sharno Capital
Chief Investment Officer for a major Canadian principal investment group and family office.