300 Entertainment CEO / Founder Kevin Liles is making a sizeable investment in Vancouver-based cannabis lifestyle company Burb, which is completing a $ 4 million Series A funding round from Connecticut based private equity group KarpReilly.
For Liles, the combination of cannabis and music is a natural addition. As Def Jam managers, Liles’ Bonafides hark back to his professional relationship with Jay-Z, who was himself a cannabis investor and oversaw Method Man and Redman’s 2001 film debut How High and the duo’s short-lived Fox series from 2004, “Method and Red.” 300 Entertainment, which Liles founded in 2012 with music biz vets Lyor Cohen, Roger Gold and Todd Moscowitz, is home to Megan Thee Stallion, Young Thug and Cheat Codes, among others.
Burb Co-Founder, CEO John Kaye, is a former musician, denim wholesaler, and investment banker who opened a state-licensed cannabis testing lab before starting Burb as an e-commerce, streetwear, and media company and three years ago two cannabis Acquired retail locations. The two met three years ago through Gunna, an artist on 300 that Burb wore during a live performance.
“We found the right partners by supporting the culture, the music and just letting things come to us,” says Kaye.
Liles is putting his own money into the company and will largely release the product so the cannabis growers can do their thing.
“[Burb and 300] are like-minded companies that share a culture, ”says Liles of his investment. “What we bring to each other is more than just business, even though I’m a businessman. More importantly, I want to create a safe haven for those who love cannabis, for those artists who celebrate it. Our goal is to serve the cannabis community, not necessarily draw attention to us, by combining the artistic, creative and business side. “
Burb plans to use this latest cash injection to expand its network of retail cannabis stores in British Columbia and to support the launch of its own-brand cannabis products in Canada and the United States, starting in California. The round of funding comes after the company signed licensing agreements for consumer brands with Canadian cannabis producer Citizen Stash and California cannabis group Martin Holdings, founded by rap artist-pot-repreneur Jason “Problem” Martin, a native of Compton, California Claiming fame was a feature on E-40’s “Function” and writing a verse for a track on Snoop Dogg’s compilation album “The Big Squeeze”.
Liles is also an advocate for the Burb social justice agenda, including efforts to support those unlawfully jailed for cannabis possession or legacy dealers (pre-legalization).
“We have a responsibility to culture,” says Liles. “This is about correcting socio-historical mistakes in both the cannabis and music businesses. Our two companies are on the side of equality. “
Burb Co-Founder / CEO John Kaye says the company will launch its first two proprietary flower genetics at this week’s Hall of Flowers cannabis show starting today (Wednesday) in Santa Rosa.
Burb currently operates three licensed cannabis retail stores in the lower mainland of Vancouver and recently received its fourth cannabis retail license in the city of Vancouver. The company has a pipeline of stores in BC that are leased with pending licenses to open and operate up to eight stores in the province. In addition to its cannabis business, Burb produces its own podcast, Light Culture, hosted by Paper Co-Founder / Editor-in-Chief David Hershkovits.
Burb plans to continue exploring potential product and retail licensing opportunities across North America, although Liles insists that the two of them “don’t just stick a brand or logo on something” and call them “curators.” Not every product is Burb, just like not every one. The artist is 300. John and I trust each other’s moral structure. “
Kaye names Liles’ “knowing how to move authentically, not just jumping on the latest trends” as what drives him to become a business partner. “He has built three separate companies in Def Jam, Warners and now 300 Entertainment, where his independence is very popular with us. His network is second to none, and as a person he’s creative as hell and one of the hardest-working guys I know, which inspires me. “
Liles, who is more cigars than blunts these days, feels like the sky’s the limit for this newest venture. “I don’t smoke anything that would slow me down from my work pace,” he says and then advertises his newly founded joint venture. “In this case one and one is equal to 10.”
His new partner Kaye agrees: “Music and cannabis are a heavenly combination.”
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