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French Cannabis Startup Looks To Increase Staff To 50 Following Latest €2m Cash Raise

FRENCH cannabis start-up Rainbow has raised €2m (£1.7m) to boost its portfolio as it looks to become the leading hemp-based brand in Europe.

The company launched in 2019 by five entrepreneurs currently has two wellness brands – Kaya, a range of food products mostly consisting of supplements, and the Peace and Skin organic hemp cosmetic collection – as well as offices in Paris, Berlin and London.

This latest funding round for Rainbow is the firm’s second in the past year.

In June 2020 the enterprise launched by Emmanuel Jesberger, Gaétan Laederich and Camille Brocco (the names behind Vaïvaï, which introduced coconut water to France), Ludovic Rachou (of innovative confectionery brands Onegum and Bonsai) and Alison Ouvrier-Neyret (a doctor of pharmacy who is in charge of product development) raised €1m (£855,000) from private investors to facilitate the launch of both Kaya and Peace and Skin.

European Expansion

Sponsors this time around include Senseii Ventures, and private equity fund Artemis Growth, which invests in the burgeoning cannabis market including leading global data and canna-tech firm Prohibition Holdings.

Other Artemis investee companies include; Aureum, a Danish medical cannabis extraction firm and CBD firms CBVIT, and PhytoPūr Bio, with facilities in the Czech Republic.

Now Rainbow plans to use this latest cash injection to boost its reach in Italy, Germany and Poland, and boost its workforce from 35 to 50.

It also aims to offer 100% French products made with CBD created in the republic in line with expected regulatory changes.

The French government has been left with no choice but to adapt current legislation following last autumn’s Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruling that the country’s veto on the sale and production of whole hemp-derived cannabidiol products contradicts EU law.

KanaVape Ramifications

The verdict was sparked by a case dating back to 2014 involving the two directors of Catlab SAS, who were prosecuted and fined for selling KanaVape, a vape product marketed in France that contains CBD legally grown, extracted and supplied from the Czech Republic.

Ms Brocco said Rainbow is committed to making CBD and its virtues “accessible to as many people as possible, participating in the development of a French hemp sector, and developing environmentally friendly products. 

“We are very happy with this new fundraising that will allow us to carry our ambitions ever higher.”

Fellow Rainbow creator Mr Rachou, added: “The CBD category has been growing hugely over previous years, and we aspire to be the go-to CBD brand for consumers across Europe – providing a truly great product that shoppers can trust.”

The company has its headquarters in Paris. Its products are sold in more than 1,000 shops across the UK and France serving more than 15,000 customers.

Retail outlets include the major food, fashion, beauty and home products chain, Monoprix, where Kaya and Peace and Skin is available in nearly 300 stores – the first cannabidiol-based brands to join the shelves of mass distribution in France.

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