A new hemp company, Collective Growth Corp., virtually rang the bell on the Nasdaq Friday, beginning public trading already fully funded by investors.
Headquartered in Austin, Texas, Collective Growth is a blank-check company that intends to focus on the “federally permissive cannabinoid industry,” said Joseph Brantuk, the chief client officer for Nasdaq.
The newly organized company, led by former Canopy Growth Corp. executives Bruce Linton, Tim Saunders and Geoff Whaling, was established in hopes of investing in and further developing the U.S. hemp market for hemp-derived cannabinoid and fiber products.
In March, Collective Growth filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission seeking a target capital raise of $150 million to $175 million to purchase or invest in a combination of businesses.
The initial public offering, originally scheduled for March 17, continued to be delayed on the Nasdaq because of the volatile stock market and uncertainty caused by the global coronavirus outbreak.
In the meantime, the team continued meeting virtually with investors, Linton said Friday morning in a live video of the bell-ringing.
“COVID has caused a lot of stresses, but it’s also caused a lot of focus,” said Linton, “and I think that focus was represented in the interest and time that we had for the people who listened to what we want to do, how we want to transform the market of hemp and revitalize American farming industry with what I think was one of the most important crops and now it can again be one of the most important crops.”
Collective Growth president and co-founder Geoff Whaling told Hemp Industry Daily on Friday that a mix of different types of backers have invested in Collective Growth Corp., from institutional investors to cannabis entrepreneurs and even individual families.
“We had great interest that exceeded the stock that was available,” Whaling said.
“For the SPAC, we’ve only allocated a percentage of the available stock in the company and so there are other opportunities … and the public trading can go on.”
By midday Friday, the company had seen more than 5 million additional shares being traded, he said.
“COVID has in a strange way been very helpful to us because now people are talking about American supply chains and the need to help American farmers and the needs to look for American supplies sustainably,” Whaling said.
Being fully funded already allows the company to move forward with plans in the next 30 days to begin acquiring companies in the hemp space, with discussions beginning immediately, Whaling said.
Collective Growth ended its first day of trading just under its opening price of $10, giving the SPAC a market cap of around $189 million.