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Kahner Global Founder Noa Kahner on Attending their High Net Worth Investment Cannabis Conferences

by Michelle-Andrea Girouard

 

Kahner Global organizes ultra high-net-worth, private investment conferences in the cannabis industry around North America. Founder and Principal Noa Kahner gives James a rundown on the investors vetting process and what to expect at events.

 

TRANSCRIPT:

James West:     Noa, thanks for joining us today.

Noa Kahner:     Of course. Thanks for having me.

James West:     Noa, you’re the CEO of Kahner Global and you are arranging for some high-net-worth, private investment summits in the cannabis sector. Can you give me an overview of what exactly that entails and where you do it, and how long you’ve been doing it for?

Noa Kahner:     Well, our events have been going on since 2015, and we do each one – right now we have three different cities that we host a summit at. One is Toronto, New York, and Beverly Hills, with Florida being added in the winter of 2018, and the events have been running now in New York, this will be our third year; Toronto is our second year, Beverly Hills will be our third time back, and Florida will be our first.

We bring together family offices and ultra-high-net-worth investors for a full day of networking with other cannabis entrepreneurs. The day includes different topic discussions so that they can learn about the industry, but then we do also offer an hour session where companies can pitch their product, pitch their company. So we really have a nice array of different options that include both educational as well as opportunities for the investors, and of course, the entrepreneurs.

James West:     Sure. Okay, now when you say ultra-high-net-worth, just for our listeners, what kind of financial category is that, exactly?

Noa Kahner:     We like to have private investors that have a 5 million net worth and up, so that’s typically what we look for. We can make some exceptions if there’s, let’s say, an investor who’s interested in putting a couple hundred thousand dollars into a company; maybe they have a little less than that but they’re really interested in going in like that.

James West:     Okay.

Noa Kahner:     So we really vet every person and on an individual basis via an interview over the phone. But that’s typically what we look for when we’re talking to people.

James West:     Sure.

Noa Kahner:     And of course, family offices, that’s a much higher level. Five million is sort of the lower level of net worth; it can go up much higher from there.

James West:     I see. So what is the value for the high net worth investor in attending your conference?

Noa Kahner:     Well, there’s, you know, it’s not just about attending a cannabis conference that’s the value — which obviously there’s a value there, you know, being in front of great opportunities to put your money into. Even if this wasn’t a cannabis conference, the set up that we have for this event is a really nice opportunity for investors to really meet even other investors, because there’s very few conferences – I mean, there’s really no conference like ours in the cannabis industry. There might be something like ours in other industries, but it’s very rare to find something like this, where you’re in a room with, let’s say, 100 to 120 attendees and, out of those, you’re going to have 90 to 100 investors.

Investors, that’s a huge value to them, because they’re not going to be approached by different people all the time trying to hit them up for, you know, an investment repeatedly. It’s really an opportunity for them to meet other investors, find out what they’re doing, maybe do co-investments. Our event is really a very – the purpose is to create a really nice atmosphere for our attendees that are investors, as well as the sponsors. It’s an intimate setting, which I think can create a lot of value-add and a very efficient way to do business for everyone.

James West:     Right. So the high net worth investor isn’t going to get mobbed like they would at some of the larger investment conferences, which has obvious attraction to them. Now, in terms of presenting companies, what kind of criteria do you require for a presenting company to become involved with your conference?

Noa Kahner:     Well, the presenting companies are really – we try to have various types of sponsors at our event. For instance, like, if we have a law firm, we may have like one other law firm, and law firms are not typical of our sponsors, though we’ll have one or two. The cannabis companies that sponsor, typically they’ll be, it’s the next stage of their capital raise, so we’re not an angel investment network; it’s really more appropriate for companies that are already in business, or have something going on that’s at that point, but they just need a little bit of that capital to make them grow. By little, I mean, a million to two million raise. We don’t really work with companies that are maybe looking for a couple hundred thousand dollars; that’s more of an angel investor type of investment. We’re at the next level. So that’s typically what we’ll see, and we really have an array of companies, so it’s hard to pinpoint the exact thing we look for, but in general, I always tell the companies that we talk to that if it’s too early for them, I’ll tell them maybe to wait until next year.

James West:     Sure. So what’s the range of cheque sizes that can be expected if a presenter is successful in attracting some investment?

Noa Kahner:     It’s hard to say because we have private investors, we have family offices; we also have a lot of funds that attend our event, like cannabis funds, hedge funds, PE funds. It varies. I would say that between 200,000 to, you know – a million? But it could be higher, right? But I would say the minimal would be 200,000. Maybe 100,000 at the very, very minimal, but that’s kind of what you can expect from the type of investors that we have.

James West:     Right. Okay, and give us a rundown: what’s the day look like? What do the investors expect, what do the high-net-worth investors get to sort of experience while they’re there?

Noa Kahner:     Our events always start off with a networking breakfast or a networking lunch. You come, we have at least 30 to 45 minutes where people can just meet and mingle, and then we typically start the day off with a legal panel just to get all the updates before the day starts on what’s going on right now, because right now, everything is changing, all the time.

So usually we start with a legal panel and from there, the day really varies at each event. So what topics we do, we try to make every topic very timely, but for instance, in our upcoming New York event, we have a medical marijuana panel later in the day and we will have an athlete or two on that panel in addition to a couple of companies that are in the space, dealing with the medicinal cannabis side of things. Health care is obviously a huge opportunity investment-wise.

James West:     Okay, so when you have your Toronto conference, do the attendees of your Toronto conference only invest in Canadian companies, and are they all Canadians? Or are they members from your US sort of following that come up here to look at Canadian companies? And, what’s the sense on the U.S. side? Do the American high net worth investors like to invest in Canadian companies, or do they generally prefer to stay with the U.S. companies?

Noa Kahner:     So the first part of your questions about Americans or Canadians attending: last year when we did the summit, it was mostly Canadians that were there. We had a couple of investors that came from the US. We didn’t really do a big push in the US to go there for the first year; we wanted to kind of build it out, the Canadians, and get that going.

James West:     Because we’re so cute.

Noa Kahner:     You guys are all wonderful. I love Canada. Yeah, so we will definitely do a push more this year to get attendees to come, and actually, we already have more investors from the U.S. coming this year, and we’re still in August. So there will be more, but it will be mostly Canadian. And I think, to answer your question about interest in Canadian companies, we had a panel on investment in Canada at our last event, which was in Beverly Hills in May, and the Canadian panel was a lot of people’s favourite panel. We do feedback forms after each conference, and for some reason, everybody was really into it. I mean, we had some really great speakers on there, so you know, Chuck Rifici was on there…we had some wonderful ambassadors, and you can check out the website for some more information on our past speakers, specifically.

But yeah, it’s, you know, from that, I felt like it signaled that there was a lot of interest. And we get a lot of Canadian companies to actually sponsor our U.S. event, and they come back. So I think that’s a good sign.

James West:     Great. All right. Let’s leave it there for now; we’ll come back to you a little closer to your conference date in November here, and have a follow-up chat with you and see how it’s coming together. Thank you so much for your time today.

Noa Kahner:     Thank you so much. Thanks for having me.

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