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Hemp venture targets $500 million

Investors see enormous opportunity in American natural resource.

21st March 2022

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Houston, TX, USA

Clothing/​Footwear, Sustainable

A first investment round by rePlant Hemp, of Houston, Texas, is set to close at $75 million and the firm is looking to place $500 million in the space by 2030.

“Hemp is a critical asset on our journey to decarbonization and for every polluting technology phased out, new cleantech must emerge,” said president and co-founder Geoff Whaling. “Hemp is playing a vital role in many significant industries, such as green construction, plant-based proteins, bioplastics, sustainable aviation fuels and powering the electrified future of mobility. An investment in hemp is an investment in the emerging technologies that will shape our future.”

Industrial hemp is a growth industry, he added, set to add almost $10 billion to its current $5 billion global market size in the next five years.

 “Hemp offers virtually all major industries a much needed and critical path towards sustainability. A major use case is construction –as global corporations and governments seek ways to construct carbon neutral and even carbon negative buildings and infrastructure, hemp provides sustainable materials – insulation, flooring and more – right now. And in the near term, hemp will play a stand-out role in the development of new sustainable construction materials like structural green concrete.”

The rePlant Hemp Impact Fund is managed by Entoro Investments, also of Houston, Texas.

“Hemp is an American natural resource with enormous opportunity,” said its registered advisor James C. Row. “We’re excited to support our US farmers and their families, while simultaneously investing in world-changing innovative clean tech.”

RePlant Hemp may represent the most sophisticated approach yet to delivering on the promise of hemp. Whaling has a decade of hemp leadership and liaises with the US administration and congressional leadership weekly. Cofounder and board chair Michael Woods is former CEO and COO of Rothschild Asset and is now heading up Big Sun Holdings Group. CMO Wilson Kello led Collective Growth Corporation with Whaling, which combined on April 5, 2021 with Innoviz Technologies in a $1.4 billion transaction. Chief of staff Erica Stark is the executive director of the National Hemp Association and the Pennsylvania Hemp Industry Council.

“Nobody said the journey to net-zero was going to be easy,” said Whaling. “I have been working in this space relentlessly for a decade and I know the challenges and the almost limitless value that comes from unlocking the potential of hemp. Step one in the US is to invest in our farmers – without the agricultural supply chain and agtech that comes along with that, none of this is possible.”

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