Apply to the Leaf Forward Accelerator
Leaf Forward is the global launchpad for early stage cannabis companies. During each 12 week accelerator cohort, a small group of carefully selected cannabis startups work closely with the Leaf Forward team, industry leaders and subject matter experts to quickly develop their products, grow their businesses, and get ready to raise their next round of funding.
Applications are now open for the Spring 2019 cohort. It will take place in Toronto from March 4th 2019 to May 24th 2019.
The first deadline for applications is December 31st, 2018. The final deadline is January 17th, 2019. Applications received before the first deadline will be considered first.
What you get
- Funding. We invest $35,000 in cash plus $15,000 in services into your business in exchange for 6-10% 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.
Do I need to be in Toronto for the duration of the program?
Yes, we expect you to make Toronto your headquarters during the duration of the program. Short business trips elsewhere are of course fine by us, but to get the most out of the program you should be in person.
How much does the program cost?
We’re making a $50,000 investment in your company and charging you a $15,000 (plus HST) programming fee which covers the cost of the services we are providing. You’ll receive a check for $35,000 (excluding HST).
Why would I go with an accelerator instead of a regular investor?
We bring much more than capital to the table. Our programming and network is likely more valuable than the money, in fact. We can also provide ancillary support to your business including, but not limited to, in-house creative and digital capacity, promotion to our national audience of cannabis industry professionals, and access to exclusive rates with partner professional services providers.
What if I already applied for a previous cohort?
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 $50,000 using the SAFE agreement with a valuation cap set at $825,000. This means the fund will receive a minimum of approximately 6% of equity in your company. Your company will then be required to pay the Leaf Forward Accelerator operating corp. (Leaf Group Inc.) a $15,000 (+ 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.