Snoop Dogg’s Cannabis VC Fund; Vice Finds New CEO; VW Amps Up Its Electric Vehicle Game
The Water Coolest is a free daily business news and professional advice email newsletter created for weekday warriors that is delivered fresh daily at 7 AM EST. You can subscribe at thewatercoolest.com.
Estimated Read Time: 3 minutes and 14 seconds
FUND ‘EM IF YOU GOT ‘EM
Snoop Dogg is a man of many talents. Most recently he’s dipped his toes into the world of venture capitalism. A few years ago Snoop teamed up with a group of investors to start Casa Verde Capital, a VC firm that specializes in, you guessed it, cannabis plays. The firm just closed its debut $45M fund.
Snoop’s firm makes seed (no pun intended) and Series A investments in businesses within the cannabis industry but steers clear of companies that actually handle the plant, which is still illegal under US federal law.
So far, the firm has made eight investments, with more to be announced in the next few weeks. According to partner Karan Wadhera, the firm is very active and is only involved in funding rounds that they either lead or co-lead. Pretty proactive for a bunch of stoners.
Water Cooler Talking Point: “What does someone who loves pot, and has more money than they know what to do with, spend their money on? A Taco Bell franchise, of course! A close second would be starting a VC firm for ancillary cannabis businesses. Whatever floats your boat.”
THE VICE PRESIDENT
It looks like Nancy Dubuc is going to have to trade her haute couture for Supreme streetwear and Coachella flower crowns. Dubuc, the current CEO of A&E Networks, is set to run Vice, taking the reins from founder Shane Smith.
The change comes as the preferred “new media” company of hipsters seeks to placate investors. Vice, the most valuable digital-media company (take that Buzzfeed!) has struggled to meet revenue and profit goals. In 2017, the Williamsburg mainstay missed its internal revenue projection by $100M.
Vice has also been criticized as a “boys club.” Or as they call it in Silicon Valley: “normal.”
Shane Smith, who will stay on as Executive Chairman, said this of Dubuc: “We are a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde and we are going to take all your money.” *Cue the Jay and Bey* Smith and Dubuc have a close working relationship. A&E invested $250M in Vice and was a driving force behind the Viceland television channel.
Water Cooler Talking Point: “It would be interesting to see what percentage of people watch Viceland sober. Most of their broadcasts are munchies-centric cooking shows and the other half are documentaries that are so sad or intense you’ll start stress drinking.”
RUNNING ON E(LECTRICITY)
Volkswagen AG is all amped up. The automaker signed agreements to purchase $25B worth of battery supplies as they work to equip sixteen factories for electric vehicle production. Samsung will be one of the biggest suppliers of the Duracells on steroids. Hopefully, they don’t use the same batteries they put in the Galaxy Note 7.
The company can only hope that a future in EVs will deflect some attention from the Dieselgate scandal of 2015.
But despite big plans to put a positive charge in production, cobalt, a key component in rechargeable batteries is in short supply. The world’s largest producer of cobalt is the super-stable, totally reliable Democratic Republic of the Congo. Can you say “conflict cobalt”?
Even without the t’s crossed and the i’s dotted the move by the maker of Das Auto screams “we out here!” right in the face of struggling competitor Tesla. The terrestrial arm of Elon Musk’s gift to humanity hasn’t been able to work out production issues with its Model 3. VW and other electric car makers plan to take advantage. Welp, there’s always Mars.
Water Cooler Talking Point: “Unfortunately the concept of replacing gas with batteries doesn’t work in reverse, especially with a Discman. And I thought my anti-skip protection sucked before …”
IN OTHER NEWS
- Toys R Us will pull the plug on its long, painful march towards death, officially filing the court motion for its liquidation after missing key vendor payments this week. Grown-ups have collectively agreed to tell all Toys R Us Kids that Geoffery the Giraffe is “going to live at a farm upstate.”
- For the first time in company history, GE will not be paying bonuses to its executives. But with a $9M paycheck, CEO John Flannery’s pay was still 157 times higher than the median GE employee.
- GM will launch the “Airbnb for your car.” This summer the car company will begin piloting a program that allows vehicle owners to rent their cars when they are not in use. Living in a van down by the river just got so much more economical.
- Remington, the 200-year-old gun manufacturer, will file for bankruptcy, citing declining sales.
- The consumer price index, a gauge of inflation, increased 0.2% in February, in line with economist estimates. This all but guarantees the Fed will hike interest rates next month. I love the smell of economic data in the morning.
- US indices were down yesterday:
- DOW: -0.68%
- S&P 500: -0.64%
- NASDAQ: -1.02%
Professional motivation, tips, tricks, hacks & resources carefully-curated by yours truly. Something you’d like to see featured? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
RE: JOHN OLIVER’S CRYPTOCURRENCY SEGMENT
If you haven’t seen this video yet, please crawl out from the rock you’ve been living under and assimilate back into society. Seriously, my grandmother retweeted this video.
I’m not sure why Oliver didn’t drop this segment in, say, January, but let’s just count our blessings for a minute, shall we? Oliver explaining cryptocurrency and bitcoin using Beanie Babies and Youtube videos of a guy dressed as a bitcoin, respectively, is nothing short of Emmy-worthy.
Unsolicited Advice: “Do yourself a favor and head to the nearest handicap stall with your headphones and spend twenty-five minutes watching this.”