Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Kiwi cannabis startup opens $20m funding round

Kiwi cannabis startup opens $20m funding round


New Zealand company Zeacann is today launching a private capital raise process to seek investment for up to $20m (to be invested over 3 years), so it can establish itself as a leader in the fast-growing global medicinal cannabis industry. This opportunity will only be available to wholesale investors. 1

The capital raise, which is being managed by PwC, will fund: the building of two cutting-edge hybrid greenhouses in Auckland, the cultivation of the first crop, fitting out extraction and quality control laboratories, the development of Zeacann’s online compliance portal, and research through its partnership with AUT.

“This is a very exciting time for the medicinal cannabis industry around the world,” Zeacann co-founder Chris Fowlie says.

“With Canada recently legalising cannabis, we’re in a perfect position in New Zealand to become a leader of medicinal cannabis manufacturing. Exporting to Canada will give us the scale to make cheaper products for Kiwi patients.”

The global market for medicinal cannabis is estimated to reach $30-85 billion by 2025 2 and New Zealand, complete with its clean green image, already has a reputation for being a top-quality grower of high-value crops such as such as food, wine and forestry.

Under current laws and when appropriately licensed, Zeacann will be able to begin production for research purposes and import medicinal products for distribution to health practitioners and pharmacists.

Following law changes next year, the business plans to begin growing cannabis for export and domestic medicinal use.

Zeacann will use market-leading hybrid greenhouses for year-round production while keeping costs lower than indoor manufacturers.

“Our research partnership with AUT will assist Zeacann’s aim to rapidly bring products to market and to develop novel formulations and dose delivery methods so we can help patients not currently well served by existing products,” Fowlie says.

Zeacann intends to create and support a non-profit foundation whereby compassionate pricing will be offered to those who cannot otherwise afford access to cannabis-based products.

Zeacann is also developing an online portal for health practitioners and pharmacists. The portal, which will be vendor-neutral within a “” branding, will streamline the prescription process for medicinal cannabis products Zeacann will distribute.

Zeacann's first range is to be called Satinol. is intended to be THC and CBD-rich oils and capsules, with further product ranges to be rolled out to cater to different markets and patient needs.

Ministry of Health figures 3 show cannabis-based products (CBPs) are used by one-in-twenty New Zealanders to manage their symptoms for wide variety of conditions including chronic pain, nausea, seizures, anxiety, and IBS.

In 2020, New Zealand is set to have a referendum on legalising adult recreational use of cannabis. If New Zealand follows the likes of Canada and California in legalising adult use, Zeacann’s potential market opportunity will be much larger than the medicinal market alone.

Fowlie is the founder of The Hempstore Aotearoa and has been a leading voice in cannabis law reform for the past two decades.

He is joined by co-founder Thom Hooker who has a corporate background, having founded tech startup SMX which has gone through several rounds of capital raising.

“We have put in place a business plan aiming to be New Zealand's preeminent cannabis producer. We are experienced, knowledgeable and ambitious, and have been in the industry for a long time,” Fowlie says.


1. “Wholesale investors” as defined in the Financial Markets Conduct Act 2013.
2. Grand View Research, see
3. See and

© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Westpac: Sets Out Plan To Go Cheque-Free

Westpac NZ has announced details of its plan to phase out cheques, after signalling in May that it would be supporting a move to other forms of payment. Cheques will cease to be available as a means of payment after 25 June 2021. Westpac NZ General ... More>>


NZTA: Major New Zealand Upgrade Programme Projects Go To Tender

Two major New Zealand Upgrade Programme projects are beginning tenders for construction. The New Zealand Upgrade Programme is a $6.8 billion investment to get our cities moving, to save lives and boost productivity in growth areas. The first Auckland ... More>>

Reserve Bank: RBNZ Seeks To Preserve Benefits Of Cash

The Reserve Bank – Te Pūtea Matua is taking on a new role of steward of the cash system “to preserve the benefits of cash for all who need them”, Assistant Governor Christian Hawkesby told the Royal Numismatics Society of New Zealand annual conference ... More>>


Economy: Double-Dip Recession Next Year, But Housing Rolls On

New Zealand's economy is expected to slip back into recession early next year as delayed job losses, falling consumer spending, and the absence of international tourists bites into growth. More>>


Microsoft New Zealand: Microsoft Expands “Highway To A Hundred Unicorns” Initiative To Support Startups In Asia Pacific

New Zealand, 14 October 2020 – Today Microsoft for Startups launches the Highway to a Hundred Unicorns initiative in Asia Pacific to strengthen the region’s startup ecosystem. This follows the initiative’s success in India, where 56 startups were ... More>>

Fonterra: Farmers Taking Another Step Towards New Zealand’s Low Emissions Food Production

They’re hot off the press and intended to help take the heat out of climate change. Fonterra farmers are already among the world’s most sustainable producers of milk and now have an additional tool in their sustainability toolbox. Over the last few ... More>>


Courts: Businessman Eric Watson Sentenced To A Four-Month Jail Term

New Zealand businessman Eric Watson has been sentenced to a four-month jail term in the UK for contempt of court, TVNZ reports. More>>

OECD: Area Employment Rate Falls By 4.0 Percentage Points, To 64.6% In Second Quarter Of 2020

The OECD area employment rate – the share of the working-age population with jobs – fell by 4.0 percentage points, to 64.6%, in the second quarter of 2020, its lowest level since the fourth quarter of 2010. Across the OECD area, 560 million persons ... More>>

Spark: Turns On 5G In Auckland And Offers A Glimpse Into The Future Of Smart Cities

Spark turned on 5G in downtown Auckland today and has partnered with Auckland Transport (AT) to showcase some of the latest in IoT (Internet of Things) technology and demonstrate what the future could look like for Auckland’s CBD with the power of 5G. 5G is ... More>>

Stats NZ: Monthly Migration Remains Low

Since the border closed in late-March 2020, net migration has averaged about 300 a month, Stats NZ said today. In the five months from April to August 2020, overall net migration was provisionally estimated at 1,700. This was made up of a net gain ... More>>

University of Canterbury: Proglacial Lakes Are Accelerating Glacier Ice Loss

Lake Tasman, New Zealand | 2016 | Photo: Dr Jenna Sutherland Meltwater lakes that form at glacier margins cause ice to recede much further and faster compared to glaciers that terminate on land, according to a new study. But the effects of these glacial ... More>>


Dairy: Fonterra Sells China Farms

Fonterra has agreed to sell its China farms for a total of $555 million (RMB 2.5 billion*1), after successfully developing the farms alongside local partners. Inner Mongolia Natural Dairy Co., Ltd, a subsidiary of China Youran Dairy Group Limited ... More>>