- Australian medicinal cannabis company Montu broke two crowdfunding records.
- Montu reached $300,000 in 59 minutes and gained $1 million in just 36 hours through equity crowdfunding company Birchal.
- The funding will be used to ramp up the company’s expansion in Australia and New Zealand.
- Visit Business Insider Australia’s homepage for more stories.
An Aussie medicinal cannabis company has broken two records in an effort to boost funding.
Melbourne-based company Montu makes medical cannabis accessible to patients through a nationwide network of doctors.
“Over the last couple of months we’ve built across the country a network of doctors that are familiar with medical cannabis and are competent prescribers, and now have the capacity to serve over half a million patients across the country,” Montu Managing Director Christopher Strauch told Business Insider Australia.
Montu’s network includes healthcare providers MyHealth, IPN, MyClinic and Ochre Health.
Founded in 2019, the company collaborates with extraction companies and cultivators who formulate the products on Montu’s behalf.
Strauch explained that Montu gives doctors the information and tools they need to be comfortable prescribing cannabis. It then walks them through its selection of products based on which conditions they are used for and from there, the doctors can prescribe it.
Montu has a warehouse near Sydney where it stores its products, which are then shipped to pharmacies where patients can pick up their prescription.
The company began by initially focusing on educating doctors. Strauch explained that only 5% of doctors are prescribing medicinal cannabis across the country. So if a patient had a GP among the 95% that didn’t prescribe it, then their access would stop there.
“That’s a huge problem because patients are not necessarily aware that there are doctors that are active prescribers and are competent prescribers,” he said
To solve that problem Montu offered education to doctors and made sure that they got the support they needed to start prescribing to their patients.
Over time, the company built a network of doctors that had been prescribing to their own patients and were comfortable also offering their services to external patients. And then it branched out into a second offering – essentially a matchmaking service that connects patients to doctors.
Patients could go to the Montu website, fill out their details and based on their location and condition, Montu would match them up with a doctor.
After launching an equity crowdfunding round through Birchal – the firm behind the likes of women-only ridesharing service Shebah and ocean rubbish cleaning service the Seabin Project – Montu broke two records.
It was the fastest to reach its minimum target of $300,000 in 59 minutes and set a record for reaching $1 million in the quickest time – just 36 hours and 36 minutes.
At the time of writing, the company has so far raised $1.1 million, with 494 investors contributing.
Strauch said awareness of cannabis has been really high, with some of the company’s biggest advocates being its doctors, patients and wider community.
“The decision to go for a crowdfund versus a venture capital financing was really to allow those advocates to be participating in the market growth,” Strauch said.
The next phase
Strauch found it extremely exciting and rewarding to see how much the company is being supported by the community and has its sights on ultimately reaching $2 million during this round.
Birchal co-founder Alan Crabbe said in a statement the capital raised is a golden moment for Montu and equity crowdfunding more broadly.
“Like many of the early backers in Montu, I couldn’t believe my eyes, every time I hit refresh the numbers kept climbing,” he said.
Montu broke previous records held at Birchal, with Seabin taking four days to reach $1 million and Shebah taking just seven days to get there.
“We must close the investment offer when the $2m maximum target is met, and at this trajectory, it may happen well ahead of the 5th November close date,” Crabbe added.
The funds will be used for more expansion plans Montu is working on both in Australia and New Zealand.
Montu also has plans to list on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) in the future, with Strauch saying that this crowdfunding is a great way to see the market reception for what the company is doing.
With the first stage of the business done — which involved setting up its infrastructure — the next stage is to strengthen its infrastructure, create more awareness among patients, add to its doctor network and make sure it has enough inventory to meet its demand.
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