Josh Kushner’s Thrive Capital Makes First Marijuana Investment

Josh Kushner’s venture capital firm is investing in the marijuana industry for the first time.

Thrive Capital Management, founded by the brother of presidential adviser and Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, is leading a $35 million fundraising round for LeafLink, a New York-based online marketplace for wholesale buyers and sellers of cannabis.

LeafLink, which went live in 2016, processed more than $600 million in cannabis orders last year, according to Ryan Smith, the company’s 28-year-old chief executive officer and co-founder.

With the new round, LeafLink has raised a total of $51 million. It also has a partnership in Canada with Canopy Rivers, the venture arm of Canopy Growth Corp., the world’s most valuable marijuana company. Smith said his company will use some of the new funding to expand LeafLink Financial, which offers payment services in an industry still banned by the U.S. government.

The prohibition has kept established companies on the sidelines and given startups like LeafLink an early lead in cannabis.

“For us, the race is to get as deeply rooted as we possibly can in the supply chain,” Smith said.

Thrive, which backed Instagram before its acquisition by Facebook Inc., recently put money into the millennial makeup firm Glossier, part of a round that pushed the company’s valuation north of $1 billion.

Wills Hapworth