Cannabis media company HERB raises millions to expand to NYC and LA

Canadian cannabis media company HERB closed a $US4.1 million seed round Tuesday in a bid to expand to the US and ramp up production of video content.

“This is a monumental moment for HERB and a testament to the shift of public view on the cannabis industry,” Herb CEO Matt Grey said in a statement.

“As we usher in a new and diverse demographic of cannabis consumers, investors are seeing the value in the cannabis industry and importance of having a reliable technology platform to educate and inform consumers,” Grey added.

HERB, based in Toronto, Canada, will use the round to expand to Los Angeles and New York City, as well as build out new studios to enhance their offering of video content online.

The 27-year-old Grey acquired HERB in 2015 — when it was called The Stoner’s Cookbook — and rebranded it as a digital media company specifically for the cannabis industry, mixing original how-to videos with hard news and profiles. The company boasts 5.3 million unique visitors per month, and 2 billion organic video views annually as of June, according to Tubular Labs.

Grey previously told Business Insider that he sought to base HERB’s growth strategy around video views like many other digital publications, as Facebook has pushed publishers to focus on video.

The round was led by media veterans Lerer Hippeau Ventures, along with Slow Ventures, Michael Lazerow, and hall-of-fame quarterback Joe Montana’s Liquid 2 Ventures.

“During our research into the cannabis industry, it became clear to both myself and our team at Liquid 2 Ventures that HERB was the most professionally run business for relevant, informative, cannabis content,” Montana said in a release announcing the round.

“There was a void in the marketplace and HERB filled it,” Eric Hippeau, managing partner of Lerer Hippeau Ventures said. “Because the market is so new, brands wanted to establish themselves and reach consumers, and consumers wanted to know more about sellers, products, legislation, and all other content related to the cannabis business.”

HERB announced the launch of Smoke Sessions, a new weekly video series earlier in August.

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