NBA superstar Kevin Durant is the latest celebrity athlete to jump into the marijuana investment market thanks to a partnership with Canadian firm Canopy Rivers (TSX:RIV,OTC Pink:CNPOF).

Thirty Five Ventures, the business owned by Durant and his partner, sports executive Rich Kleiman, has teamed up with Canopy Rivers and is now a part of it strategic advisory board.

While no investment deals are set up in place yet for Durant’s investment firm, Canopy Rivers confirmed the two will work in tandem to expand its global portfolio of cannabis companies and its own growth strategy.

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As a part of Canopy Rivers’ recently launched advisory board, Thirty Five Ventures is also looking into possible co-investments in sports cannabis products on the horizon, the company said.

“This was a perfect angle for us to work with Thirty Five Ventures, because here’s a company that understands how to create a brand, how to speak to certain demographics … that are passionate about sports in general,” said Canopy Rivers CEO Narbé Alexandrian in an interview with the Investing News Network (INN).

Canopy Rivers’ shares fluctuated a bit during the trading day and have fallen 4 percent from the market open. Prices sit at C$1.44 as of 3:03 p.m. EST.

Alexandrian said that, after collecting data points about consumer behavior, the firm discovered a distinct shift towards niche uses for cannabis products, including sleep and pain relief. However, sports and wellness, Alexandrian explained, are two of the largest niches in the cannabis sector today and they’re both dealing with a lack of products, leaving a gap to be filled.

That’s why Thirty Five’s experience in the sports industry benefits Canopy Rivers’ plan to invest in cannabis which has created fertile ground for consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies, he added.

Canopy Rivers plans to leverage Thirty Five’s investment acumen — Thirty Five’s roster includes Silicon Valley investments like Lime, Ember, Postmates, Coinbase and Robinhood — and Durant’s celebrity status to lock down new cannabis-based opportunities.

With this new partnership, Canopy Rivers is banking on an increase in demand for cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD)-based sports products as companies begin to hyper-brand toward specific customer demographics.

“We think there’s a huge market for both the professional and amateur athletes as well as for the general consumers … to really get in on certain brands that would really help (them) in terms of recovery and performance,” Alexandrian explained.

Alexandrian noted that for its part, Canopy Rivers is bringing a strong sense of the industry to the table, giving Thirty Five an intellectual leg up on other investment firms in the space.

In a statement, Kleiman said the venture decided to team up with Canopy Rivers because of its “data-backed approach to map out forward-looking opportunities in the industry.”

This isn’t Thirty Five’s first foray into cannabis. In September, the firm invested in Dutchie, an e-commerce platform that allows cannabis users to search through dispensaries and order products online.

Thirty Five’s consultant role on the board means it will work alongside Breakthru Beverage Canada’s Regional President Julian Burzynski, former president of Campbell Canada Philip Donne, OMERS Ventures founder John Ruffolo and former co-head of mergers and acquisitions at Imperial Brands (LSE:IMB,OTCQX:IMBBF) Meg Lovell.

Durant joins the ranks of actress Whoopi Goldberg, lifestyle guru Martha Stewart, rapper Snoop Dogg and skateboarder Tony Hawk, who have all also made investments into cannabis.

Most recently, Canadian hip hop artist Drake launched the More Life Growth Company with the help of cannabis producer Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC,TSX:WEED).

Don’t forget to follow us @INN_Cannabis for real-time news updates!

Securities Disclosure: I, Danielle Edwards, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.


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