UK innovator Grow Group is raising £6m to fund its expansion into Europe – with aims to be the global powerhouse of cannabis medicines by 2025.
Launched in 2017 by ex-commodity trader Ben Langley it has raised over £7.5m to date to develop a unique business model featuring three entities.
Grow Biotech, Grow Trading and Grow Pharma have proven their capabilities across the UK medical cannabis supply chain; now Europe and the rest of the world beckon.
Mr Langley, who was recently listed in the top 100 UK entrepreneurs by the Daily Telegraph and the top 10 in the Healthcare category, elaborated on its plans during a recent chat with BusinessCann.
Integrated Business Model
He said: “The three businesses are all performing well in their own right, and proving this business model makes sense.
“Over the next year our aim is to scale-up the businesses. We have established a leadership position in the UK and Ireland and our aim is to now take this business model into Germany, the Nordics and then on into the rest of Europe and elsewhere.
“The businesses are proving themselves as both stand alone and integrated ventures and next year is all about repeat and scale, repeat and scale.”
Grow Biotech was Mr Langley’s initial creation in partnership with leading geneticist, botanist and medical devices expert Dr Ian Atkinson.
It is currently in the process of patenting a unique way of collecting cannabinoids from biomass, diversifying into product formulation and developing medical delivery devices.
The Businesses Talk To Each Other
Grow Pharma was formed in 2018 in partnership with the UK’s largest independent specials’ supplier IPS Pharma.
This division is now the UK’s leading medical cannabis wholesalers with a portfolio of 25 medicines from some of the sector’s leading companies including; Columbia Care, Aurora Cannabis, Bedrocan, Tilray, Brains Bioceutical and Althea Group Holdings.
It also engages with the patient and clinical communities, delivering medical cannabis educational initiatives.
Grow Trading supports the work of the other two divisions in sourcing the required materials and technologies, whilst also providing the in-house expertise to operate seamlessly across Europe’s diverse regulatory jurisdictions.
Mr Langley continued: “Our model is scaleable and cost-effective. We have the capabilities, flexibility and capacity to support all three businesses in their distinct market-places without the overheads required in operating costly assets.
“The businesses talk to each other. The technologies we are developing in Grow Biotech are a natural fit for Grow Trading and these innovative products go into distribution, on the ground, in the shape of Grow Pharma.”
Market As A Medium-Term Exit
Germany is Grow’s primary target for 2021. It is Europe’s largest, and fastest, growing market having permitted medical cannabis since 2017.
It had been Grow’s initial target, but the UK law change in 2018 saw it switch to domestic opportunities.
Mr Langley said: “Because of its position as Europe’s largest medical cannabis market, Germany is mistakenly perceived as being mature, but it is anything but.
“Less than 10% of potential prescribing doctors, do so, and less than 20% of pharmacies are participating, so there are significant opportunities for growth.
“However, we believe this window of opportunity will not last much longer than a year, once the incumbents start to build barriers.
“For us, now is the perfect time to be launching. We have a good model, our products meet German standards, and we are looking at innovative ways of improving the patient experience. It is a very exciting opportunity for Grow in 2021.”
He added: “We have some great ideas. We try them out and when they work, well, we scale them up aggressively. That is how Grow grew in the UK and Ireland and next year our aim is to become the number one in Europe.”
London-based Grow currently employs almost 20 staff with revenues set to surpass £1m in 2020.
Grow is targeting high net worth individuals, family offices and potential corporate-trade investors in its latest Series C funding round.
Dean Gainsley, Non-Executive Director of Grow, said the recent Financial Conduct Authority guidance allowing medical cannabis companies to list on the UK stock exchanges provides medium term exit potential for Grow.
The European medical cannabis market is expected to be worth $3.3bn, and the global medical cannabis opportunity worth $14.4bn, by 2024.