Capitol Hill entrepreneurs know a little bit about the industries of helping people party — and sometimes relax. So it wasn’t a surprise to see some of the Hill’s captains of industry get involved with the early days of Washington’s nascent retail marijuana economy. But just as the entirety of the West Coast has now legalized retail pot, one of those captains has marked a major entrepreneurial milestone, selling her marijuana edibles brand to a Seattle-based private equity firm.
Privateer Holdings announced last week that it had acquired The Goodship, a company launched by Capitol Hill resident and Cupcake Royale owner Jody Hall in 2015. “You should bring this to a dinner party like you bring a nice bottle of wine. I’m calling it sophisticated good times,” Hall told CHS at the time.
Hall tells CHS the acquisition won’t mean more free time in her schedule — she and her Goodship team are aboard for the ride.
“Pot is hard. It is so incredibly difficult,” Hall said of the complexities in the industry required by its strict regulations and the multiple layers of government that need to be navigated to do business at a larger scale. Privateer, Hall says, will help Goodship handle its logistics issues like accounting and HR leaving her and her team to focus on great recipes, marketing, and expanding to new areas.
UPDATE: Hall also knows any major players in the industry are going to need good lawyers. “They have a deep legal bench,” Hall said of Privateer’s ability to navigate and push back on legal issues. Thursday morning, multiple outlets reported Attorney General Jeff Sessions is making plans for “rescinding an Obama-era directive that discouraged enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states that had legalized the substance.”
In the years since its founding, Goodship has grown to expand its offerings and its place in the edibles market. Its brand was a frequent contributor to Capitol Hill pot-focused events including the “Goodship Higher Education Lecture Series” held in 11th Ave’s Cloud Room above Chophouse Row. Hall says that presence will continue. Watch for an upcoming Higher Ed session on Valentine’s Day with Sex at Dawn author Christopher Ryan.
Hall said she formed The Goodship plan in the weeks after CHS broke the news that the cupcake entrepreneur had applied for a I-502 retail license. The retail license fell through. Hall’s edible business took off.
Other Pike/Pine potrepreneurs have emerged but this is the first successful exit we’re aware of. Last year, pot retailer Ian Eisenberg announced Uncle Ike’s was up for sale but that doesn’t appear to have gone anywhere. An Eisenberg venture, meanwhile, is one of three companies vying for space for a new pot shop on E Olive Way.
Hall’s brand, meanwhile, lifts off for destinations unknown. “Stellar baking and confection-making are at the heart of The Goodship,” the announcement of the deal from Privateer Holdings reads. Announced as California has joined Oregon and Washington in legalizing retail marijuana, the acquisition will allow SoDo-headquartered Goodship to “develop new products and expand the brand’s availability to consumers in new markets across North America.”
Privateer Holding’s existing brands include Leafly, “the world’s leading cannabis website and mobile application.” Financial terms of the Goodship deal were not released.
Hall said moving forward with Privateer Holdings won’t mean a blank check. “It’s easy to blow a lot of money fast in this industry,” she said. “You have to be scrappy.”